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Meenakshi Hindu Temple

Nrityalaya Dance Academy


Bharatanatyam Arangetram


Veda Rao


Sanandhana Vetrivelan

Disciples of Smt. Padmaja Dharnipragada

Artistic Director, Nrityalaya Dance Academy

Saturday, July 29th 2023

Gideon S. Ives Auditorium

Masonic heritage center

1411 Masonic Home Dr,

Bloomington, MN 55437

Meenakshi Hindu Temple


Bharatanatyam is a 3000-year-old art form that originated in Tamil Nadu, the southern part of India. Bharatanatyam tells mythological stories about deities and praises their deeds and kindness.

Naatya Shastra is an ancient Indian treatise for drama, dance, and music. According to it classical dance should have three components, “Nritta”, “Nritya” and “Naatya”. Nritta is defined as a pure dance form with beats (Thala) and time measures (laya). Nritya conveys the message to the audience through facial expressions, body gestures, and movements. Natya is a combination of both Nritta and Nritya.

A Bharatanatyam dancer would not express the completeness of the art form unless respecting profoundly the techniques and spiritual life. When the dancer expresses the message through movements and facial expressions, it connects the souls of the dancer and the percipient.


Arangetram is a debut performance of a student with her Guru’s blessings. After many years of learning, the guru decides that the student is ready to perform the complex pieces of the art form in front of the audience. It is a ceremony celebrating the dedication to learning the true art form of Bharatanatyam.


Pushpanjali and Mooshika Vahana

by Veda & Sana

It is customary for Hindus to worship Lord Ganesh to get His blessings first, before starting any event. The dancer offers flowers to God and pays respects to the Guru, musicians, and the audience.

Ragam: Nattai Talam: Adi


by Veda

It is a complex number comprising of amazing postures and more complex footwork woven into rhythmic syllables. Jathis (rhythmic pieces danced to narrated syllables) are executed by combining swara passages (musical scores) in a particular raga and tala.

Ragam: Saveri Talam: Rupakam

Composer: Tanjavur Quartet


by Veda & Sana

This is a dance item with both rhythmic footwork and expressions (Nritha and Abhinaya). In this Shabdam Bala Krishna’s stories and his mischievous deeds are described.

Ragam: Ragamalika Talam: Misra chap Composer:Tanjore Quartet

Natanam Aadinar

by Sana

The dancer describes how Lord Nataraja appeared in the golden temple of Chidambaram on Gurupoosam day and danced blissfully. He danced in such a way that Adiseshan's head was trembling in all eight directions; the whole world was pulsating; the river Ganga from his head was spilling out; His locks of hair were flying; the snake around his neck was spreading its hood, and He danced to the rhythm of "thOm thOm" and offered blessings.

Ragam: Vasantha Talam: Ata

Composer: Gopala Krishna Bharatiyar


by Veda & Sana

Varnam is a beautiful and elaborate dance depicting technical nuances with richness of melody and artful interpretations. In this Varnam the Nayika yearns for her beloved Lord Brihadeeshwara of Tanjavur, and pleads him to fulfill her hearts desires.

Ragam: Sankarabharanam Talam: Adi

Composer: Ponnaiyya Pillai

Meenakshi Hindu Temple
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Meenakshi Hindu Temple

Adenamma Harudu

by Veda

This Kruthi describes the Lord of Dance- Shiva’s Tandavam. With his consort Parvathi by his side, the moon on his head, snakes as his ornaments, he dances with all 9 rasas or expressions. The cosmic dancer Shiva performs this divine dance thus making everyone in the universe ecstatic.

Ragam: Paraz Talam: Adi

Composer: Puliyur Doraiswamy Iyer

Andal Pasuram

by Sana

A Pasuram by Andal. Andal was the only female Alwar saint of the 12 Alwars who lived and composed wonderful poetry during the 6th to 9th centuries. These verses are striking for their simplicity of thought and their nature-oriented metaphors. This item depicts an episode in which Andal dreams about her marriage to Ranganatha and describes the events of the wedding starting with the procession of thousand elephants.

Ragam: Ragamalika Talam:Adi


by Veda & Sana

Thillana is a lively number performed towards the end of a concert. It is predominantly a rhythmic composition. Thillana usually has jatis as a part of the composition and few lines of Sahityam in the charanam followed by Muktams (Patterns of swarams) or Sollus. The Sahityam based on the composer's presiding deity or their Ishta devataa in this song it is Lord Shiva.

Ragam: Hindolam Talam: Adi


by Veda & Sana

It signifies the ending of the recital where the dancers thank the God, Guru and the audience for making the performance a success.

Ragam: Sourashtra Talam: Adi

Brihadishwarar Temple

About Guru

Smt. Padmaja Dharnipragada

Guru Padmaja Dharnipragada has been studying Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi nearly all of her life, and is the disciple of the renowned masters Padmashree Bharatakalaprapoorna" Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna, smt Gidugu Visalakshi, and Dr. Uma Rama Rao. Padmaja Dharnipragada commenced her artistic life at the age of six in Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, and Andhranatyam. She has given several hundred performances in India and U.S.A including performances at prestigious organizations like "Chidambaram Natyanjali, Khajuraho Festivals, Konark Dance Festivals, Mylapore Fine Arts, Andhra Bavan, and many more".

She has been critically acclaimed by the local press both in India and North America. Padmaja received the "Satvika Padmam" title from Indian Express National Newspaper. Padmaja received many awards and titles to her credit. She has won a number of competitions held by Andhra Balananda Sangham, and the Education Department of Andhra Pradesh, India. Padmaja has been an exponent of Indian Classical Dance in the USA for more than 30 years. She is the Founder-Director of Nrityalaya Dance Academy. She trains hundreds of students, each one of them is very special to her and she grooms them individually into graceful dances and kind-hearted human beings. A well-respected dancer, teacher, and choreographer, Padmaja has choreographed and performed in title roles of several evening-length dance dramas. Padmaja's precise yet graceful and subtle movements are a true reflection of Indian classical dance. Padmaja, a totally dedicated artist who never settles for mediocrity has carved a niche in Indian Classical Dance.

Nrityalaya Dance Academy

Website: Instagram:@nrityalayadanceacademy Facebook:@NrityalayaDance

Nrityalaya Dance Academy was established in 1992 in Twin Cities by Padmaja Dharnipragada. It was established with the sole purpose of teaching the priceless artistic tradition of India and imparting to the young and young at heart the true spirit of art in Classical dance. Nrityalaya has trained many hundreds of students in Bharatanatyam. Every year, Nrityalaya celebrates its annual event in which we showcase one of our featured dance dramas like Mohini Bhasmasura, Mahishasura Mardhini, and Sri Krishna, just to name a few. In this event, we provide the opportunity for every single student to be on stage. It is an event that all our students and the community look forward to. Apart from our annual event, we also participate in all the major festivities and events in and around the Twin Cities. Nrityalaya is an organization the community counts on for charitable events and programs. In spite of the challenging times during Covid19, Nrityalaya students continued their learning through online lessons over the last couple of years and gave performances to audiences worldwide through online and digital social media platforms. Last year our students collected funds by organizing a dance performance online to donate funds to help improve the current Covid-19 situation in India. By the end of this Summer, Nrityalaya will be proudly completing 46 Arangetrams by its students.

About Shisya

Veda Rao

Veda is a rising sophomore at Breck School. She has been interested in dance since she was young, partaking in ballet, jazz, and Bollywood. She began her journey at Nrityalaya Dance Academy under the guidance of Smt. Padmaja Dharnipragada a few years ago. Outside of dance, Veda is passionate about figure skating, where she participates in both individual and team skating. At school, Veda is a part of BATO BATO!, her school’s marimba band. They play at numerous locations across the Twin Cities. She is also interested in science, as a participant in science fairs, and has made it to nationals. Through preparing for her Arangetram this year, Veda has learned patience and determination. She will continue to learn Bharatanatyam after her Arangetram.

Sanandhana Vetrivelan

Sana will attend 8th grade at Eagle Ridge Academy in the fall. She began her Bharatanatyam journey at Nrityalaya Dance Academy at age six under the guidance of Smt. Padmaja Dharnipragada. She performed in various cultural events like Tamil and Telugu associations. Sana is passionate about Volleyball and Tennis and currently working on her skills in these sports. Sana developed her interest in Woodwinds instruments and learned to play Clarinet and Flute, and she is part of the Pep band at her school. Sana learned Indian culture & heritage from Bharatanatyam and will continue to learn the beautiful art form after her Arangetram.

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Nattuvangam: Padmaja Dharnipragada

Mridangam: Bhavani Shankar

Vocal: Harini Dharba

Flute: Ravichandra Kulur

Mridangam line drawing