At the arangetram level, the students will be in a two year planning cycle. They spend the first year planning the pieces they will perform. They assess their own physical capabilities and they soul-search to figure out what subjects interest them the most and what they would like to share with their family and friends on the show day. The family becomes a very important part of this phase of the dancer’s journey.

They come full circle in completing the understanding of what classical Indian dance is. The exposure to several smaller events and several master artistes in the year closer to their own show changes their perspective, sharpen their sensibility and improves their sensitivity to it all. They liberally and fearlessly understand topics such as margam, chutti and keerthanam. Several of the parents hear these words for the first time. But in the end, they come together and put it up for their loved ones in a moment to cherish for life.

An arangetram is a metamorphosis and realisation. Students go through several phases during this period, beginning with the outer physical self and moving to the inner elements:

  • listening to the music
  • learning the piece
  • performing the piece from memory
  • perfecting each move
  • dancing spontaneously, letting the movement come ‘from within’
  • tuning out all distractions, forgetting the audience and the lights, and dancing on stage only to get in touch with the inner self to deliver a cathartic performance

This requires a lot of rigorous training by many teachers of the From Within team, and a great deal of support and mentorship by fellow arangetram buddies. We are constantly looking to push the limits of our dance, and to this end have master teachers visiting from India solely to coach the arangetram level students in the summer before their shows. We often choreograph new items specifically for the student who is performing so that there is novelty in the margam.

The results of the arangetram are personal growth, incredibly strong connection to cultural roots that the student is free at any time to pursue to deepen, very strong personal relations with other dancers and teachers on the From Within team, and a sense of belonging and an understanding of their own importance as we look to each student to contribute back to the Academy.

On the whole, students who go through the process will have honed their aesthetic sense and will be able to appreciate beauty and talent in others if they choose to pursue other professional paths.

Find out more about the dancers who will perform their arangetrams this year. Click here.

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