The Bharatanatyam arangetram of a young VIT student, here, turned the audience nostalgic as the girl danced to ragas choreographed by her guru Gayathri Gopinath.
The performance by R Kiruthika not only enthralled all present but also highlighted the declining patronage of traditional arts in Vellore, a city that once nurtured traditional art forms.
Pursuing MS in software engineering at VIT University, Kiruthika danced to six ragas, including Mahakavi Bharathi’s ‘Chinnanchiru Kuyile’.
Kiruthika, who developed a passion for Bharatanatyam ten years ago, took her first steps in the world of classical dance at Sri Krishnakala Mandir, which practiced the traditional teaching methodology of the gurukul system. Continuing to dance even after joining VIT University, she had to skip several dance sessions during her examinations. Yet, her hard work paid off as her graceful steps moved her audience.
The arangetram brought to light the dearth of accompanists in the city, as a team had to be brought in from Chennai.
Vellore once boasted of stalwarts like Vellore Subramanya Iyer and Venkata Rao, who contributed much to the composition of ‘varnams’, Bharatanatyam teacher Gayathri recalled. However, she said, “Interest in Bharatanatyam among girls is on the rise. With the help of locals, a dance and music festivals should be organised in Vellore during Marghazhi, just like in other cities,” she added.
Kiruthika’s father, Ramalingam, said if traditional arts in Vellore was to be rejuvenated, it must be made easily accessible to people. Another member in the audience said the government should establish a music and dance school here to promote classical music and dance.
Mayor Karthiyayini, who was present on the occasion, said the arangetram had brought new hope to the locals of a revival of the Marghazhi cultural festival, for which Vellore was once famous.
Social activist R Chandrasekaran said the 100-year-old Sangeetha Sabha, situated in the heart of the city where numerous classical programmes were held, must be revived.