Sups Rocks!

Yesterday, we took most of the day off from our work on the tsunami relief and reconstruction information system project to watch our friend Supriya Srinivasan celebrate her arangetram in Chennai.

Sups is a student of bharata natyam, a form of classical dance that originated in the temples of Southern India. Though bharata natyam is more likely to be seen on the stage than the temple floor these days, both the music and the movement retain the devotional themes.
Supriya Supriya
The dance itself is quite captivating, employing everything from the rhythmic elements of ankle-bells to semiotic mudras (hand positions) to stylized eye-movements to contribute to the overall effect. The dance movements can be both powerfully athletic and subtly suggestive, often at the same time. The gracefulness of the dance is enhanced by the fact that many physical elements combine simultaneously to create symbolism, mood, and narrative.

If this sounds complicated to watch, imagine how it must be to perform! And the performance Sups gave last night was utterly astonishing.

An arangetram is like a cross between a recital and a bat mitzvah. It is a rite-of-passage heralding a dancer’s entry into the elite ranks of classical dance. Sups danced for nearly an hour-and-a-half, performing a variety of pieces, accompanied by a fabulous sextet of musicians. I simply do not have the expertise, or sufficient superlatives, to adequately convey the rigors of Sups’s undertaking or the assured meticulousness and grace with which she carried it off.
Supriya Supriya
There were a number of reasons that people wanted us to postpone our trip to India – some of them quite compelling. The reason we insisted on coming now was to be able to attend this arangetram, both to support our dear friend and to witness this awesome event. If we had done nothing more than land in Chennai, attend the arangetram, and return home, the trip would have been worth every penny and every hour invested.

Sups rocked the house!


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