Geeta Chandran Presents Arangetram Performance of Disciple SHRUTA SARATH GOPALAN

Geeta Chandran Presents Arangetram Performance of Disciple SHRUTA SARATH GOPALANArangetram is an important occasion in the career of any Bharatanatyam dancer. After several years -- decades even -- of arduous training, when the Guru is confident that the disciple can sustain a solo performance, the Arangetram is announced.

The Arangetram thus is an honour to the Guru; a momentous rite of passage, it marks the first milestone in the disciple's journey into the ocean of Bharatanatyam.

THE DISCIPLE: SHRUTA SARATH GOPALAN

Shruta has been artistically inclined from a very tender age and she took to learning classical dance at Natya Vriksha under the tutelage of Guru (Padmashri) Geeta Chandran with whom she has been training for the last 13 years.

As part of the Natya Vriksha Dance Company, she performed recently at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the occasion of BYST's Silver Jubilee presided over by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee.

Other notable events where Shruta performed were for the 2017 Youth Festival organized by Sahitya Kala Parishad, the ABU International Dance Festival 2017 and the Border Security Force (BSF) annual gala. She was also part of the troupe of opening ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Shruta has frequently accompanied her Guru in several SPIC-MACAY lecture-demonstrations.

Passing out of The Mother's International School, New Delhi, Shruta was recipient of the Shraddha Memorial Award for outstanding cultural contribution to the school.

Later, as a B.Com (Hons) student from the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Mumbai, she won accolades in dance at many inter-collegiate competitions.

Shruta is now pursuing LLB (Bachelors in Law) from the Campus Law Centre (CLC), Faculty of Law, Delhi University. At CLC Shruta has been actively involved in the development of the Theatre Society- Tarkash and participated in several street plays dealing with social issues like women's and child rights, that have been much appreciated. She also dabbles in photography and painting in her spare time.

In her academic pursuit she has assisted HelpAge India in the PIL on rights of the elderly. In the future Shruta intends to pursue Masters in Law.

THE GURU: Geeta Chandran

Dancer/Choreographer GEETA CHANDRAN - A celebrated artist and a star-performer, Geeta Chandran began learning Bharatanatyam from the tender age of 5 years under the tutelage of Smt. Swarna Saraswathy, who hailed from the traditional Thanjavoor dasi parampara. Subsequently, Geeta continued learning diverse aspects of the classical dance from a galaxy of eminent Gurus.

Today she is a renowned artist who has synthesised the knowledge she received from her Gurus to imprint Bharatanatyam with her personal vision of the dance. In her dance presentations Geeta Chandran skilfully weaves abstract notions of Joy, Beauty, Values, Aspirations, Myth and Spirituality.

A polymath artist, Geeta Chandran is celebrated not only for her deep and composite understanding of the art of Bharatanatyam, but also for her Carnatic music (she is a trained and accomplished vocalist), her work in television, video and film, theatre, choreography, dance education, dance activism and dance-issue journalism.

Geeta Chandran is Founder-President of her dance academy Natya-Vriksha in New Delhi. Natya Vriksha aims to make youth aware of the immense potential of Bharatanatyam to become a live voyage of learning. Through the dance, Geeta Chandran makes them comprehend the complex inter-linkages between the classical dance tradition and its strict grammar with other disciplines: Philosophy, Ritual, Religion, Myths, Ancient texts, Poetry, Literature, Art (Painting and Sculpture), Cultural Studies, Yoga, Handicrafts & Handlooms and Beauty & Aesthetics. Gender dynamics, gender equity and equality are integral to the pedagogy that Geeta has developed in her unique training module.

Geeta Chandran is also Artistic Director of the Natya Vriksha Dance Company, known for the high aesthetic quality of its group presentations that showcase Geeta's metier as a choreographer.

A rare combination of being both a luminary and a visionary, Geeta Chandran is a widely respected role model for the young generation. She guides reputed national cultural institutions and prestigious universities as their Board member, and she also serves on the Advisory Boards of several reputed schools and colleges and on several Boards and Empanelment and other Committees of the Government of India.

An influential spokesperson for classical dance, Geeta Chandran is the author of SO MANY JOURNEYS, an intensely personal collection of her writings narrating her engagement with Bharatanatyam. She also writes an insightful dance column in The New Indian Express/Sunday Standard, and uses her unique spece on social media to promote issues relating to Indian performing arts.

Promoting Art in Education is her particular passion and she is committed to catalysing youth audiences everywhere on the values that classical dance brings to life and living.

In her effort to "en-dance the universe," she engages in a strategic range of dance-related activities: performing, teaching, conducting, singing, collaborating, organizing, writing and speaking to new youth audiences.

Geeta was awarded the prestigious national award -- Padma Shri -- by the President of India in 2007. She has also just been conferred the equally prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 2016-17.

In 2014-2015, she marked the completion of four decades of dedication to classical dance, since her arangetram in 1974. 2016 marked the silver jubilee celebrations of Natya Vriksha.

The Institution: NATYA VRIKSHA

Founded by the renowned classical dancer (Padmashri) Geeta Chandran, Natya Vriksha enshrines the best philosophies of Indian classical culture. Natya Vriksha aims to make youth aware of the immense potential of Bharatanatyam to become a live voyage of learning. Through the dance, Geeta Chandran makes them comprehend the complex inter-linkages between the classical dance tradition and its strict grammar with other disciplines: Philosophy, Ritual, Religion, Myths, Ancient texts, Poetry, Literature, Art (Painting and Sculpture), Cultural Studies, Yoga, Handicrafts & Handlooms and Beauty & Aesthetics.

The Natya Vriksha Dance Company is unique in that all dancers have been entirely trained in Bharatanatyam by (Padmashri) Geeta Chandran, who is Artistic Director of the Company. Since the dancers have grown up together, the level of trust and togetherness evident in the Company's choreographies, ensure a completely different emotional appeal. The Dance Company has forged a reputation for its crisp and mature group dance presentations. The Company has performed widely to rave reviews and has set high standards for group performances.

Natya Vriksha's vision statement seeks to probe the continuing relevance of classical tradition in a world of changing values. It showcases the aesthetics of Bharatanatyam and its history, how the tenets of the dance can be employed as a means of communicating issues of contemporary concern, even while exploring linkages between history and continuity, between external body and internal mind-space, between yesterday and tomorrow, between artist and audience............between roots and wings.

Photo Credit: Inni Singh


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