Arangetram is a tamil word.Aranga meaning raised floor and Etram meaning climbing in Tamil,one of the south
indian languages. It is also called Rangapravesha in Kannada, another south indian language, Ranga meaning
Stage and Pravesha meaning Enter. Ideally this should be the first public performance of an artist. After learning
bharatanatyam under the guidance of an accomplished guru, this is the occation for the proud guru to present
his/her deciple to the public. This is the testing time for both the guru & the shishya(deciple) as the guru’s
knowledge & the deciple’s talent both are judged by the public. Hence, the guru will decide when the deciple is
ready for public appearence. Atleast 10 – 12 years of training is necessary to give a comendable performance.
This arangetram was known as Gejjepooje in old mysore district, meaning worshiping the jingles in kannada, a
south indian language.For a dancer, jingles are considered devine. In olden days, deciples were not allowed to
wear jingles till their first public performance. In their first performance, they were made to worship the jingles,
wear them & then perform.
Accompaniments play a major role in the making of a memorable dance performance.Basic accompaniments are
a Singer, Mridangam player, Violin player and ofcource the Natuvanga. Veena,Flute and other instruments are
optional. These people sit in the corner of a stage or in a place in front of the stage which will be in a lower
level than that of the stage.
The artist will wear lot of jewellery, make-up and a specially stitched dress. Jingles are a must.
Usually duration of an arangetram will be 2 1/2 – 3 hours. To perform for such long hours one must have good
stamina and concentration. This time is divided into two halves.
In the first half the artists generally perform
• Pushpanjali or Alaripu
In the second half
• Ashtapadi or Devaranama
This is an item where the artist salutes to god, guru and the audience. This item is a warmup item where the
artist prepares the body for the next few hours of vigorous performance.
This is a tamil word.Alar meaning to bloom. It comprises of set of movements without any meaning or expression.
The movements are performed for syllables set for a beat(Tala). The complexity of the movements gradually
increase. The steps are so formed that it looks like a bud blooming into a flower. This is also a warmup piece to
prepare the body for the next few hours of performance. Eventhough there is no meaning, this can also be
considered as an item where the artist salutes god,guru and the audience.
This is also an item where the movements will not convey any meaning or theme. Here the steps are more
complex than the previous items. The composition can have amazing postures and teermanas or muktayas
(ending of a jati). This is a musical composition set to a raga unlike alaripu which has only syllables.
This is a dance item with both nritta & abinaya. Usually the theme of the lyrics will be devotional like praising
lord krishna, depicting lord krishna’s childhood , praising a king etc.The movements here are leisurely.
This is the item where the dancers are tested for their capacity to perform abinaya & nritta. This can be treated
as a benchmark to judge the artist’s talent.The item will contain many complex steps and will have lot of room for
expressions also. To perform this item one should have lot of stamina & concentration. The lyrics can be devotional, praising a king etc. Varna can also have shrigara rasa as its theme.
In this dance item the dancer’s abhinaya is put into test. It narrates expression of divine love or pangs of
seperation in love. The tempo is slow and the performance is based on a specific mood of love.Padams will
have Nayaka(Hero, Supreme lover, Divine Lord)& Nayika(Heroine, the yearning soul). Heroine will talk to her
friend(sakhi) and narrate her feelings towards her hero. The lyrics can be about how the hero has betrayed,
how he has delayed the arrival, how she is angry with her beloved hero etc.
These are poet Jayadeva’s Sanskrit compositions called Geetagovinda, an extremely romantic composition.
It describes the love of Krishna and Radha in twelve cantos containing 24 songs. The songs are sung by Krishna
or Radha or by Radha’s maid. Each Canto is named differently considering Krishna’s status of mind.
• Saamodadamodara – Joyful Krishna
• Aakleshakeshava – Careless Krishna
• Mugdhamadhusoodhana – Bewildered Krishna
• Snigdhamadhusoodhana – Tender Krishna
• Saakankshapundareekaksha – Longing Krishna
• Kuntavaikunta – Indolent Krishna
• Naagaranaaraayana – Cunning Krishna
• Vilakshalakshmeepatihi – Abashed Krishna
• Mandamukunda – Languishing Krishna
• Chaturachaturbhuja – Intellegent Krishna
• Saanandadamodara – Blissful Krishna
• Supreetapeetambara – Ecstatic Krishna
Expressions are given foremost importance while performing these poems. Needs lot of grace. The artist
should be mature enough to understand the lyrics and the situation to show the rasas.
This item is a devotional piece where the lyrics are in praise of god, describing the god etc. This is a pure abhinaya
item with almost no emphasis on nritta. Usually the lyrics are in Kannada. These songs are the compositions of
great mystics like Purandharadaasa, Kanakadaasa, Vijayadaasa, Vyasaraaja to name a few. The compositions are
popularly known as Daasa Sahitya. It is a devotional literatures written in simple language understood by common man. It has made remarkable contribution to the spiritual and cultural upliftment of people by preaching phylosophy of Love, Devotion and Peaceful Co-Existance.
This is usually the last item in any bharatanatyam performance. Tillana is full of complicated movements &
postures. This will also have complicated Muktayas or Sholkattu, ending of any step or aduvu. This is mainly a
nritta piece which might have a charana, a meaningfull lyrics for which abinaya is shown.
Meaning ending the performance. Here the artist will again salute god, guru & the audience for making the
performance a success.