HOUSTON – “When I was invited by Mrs. Thilaga Ramganesh for the Bharathanatyam Arangetram of Chi. Hrithik I was very skeptical as bharathanatyam was a domain of girls. But the moment Chi Hrithik entered the stage for the first performance of Ananda Narthana Ganapathim, my myth that the bharathanatyam was the domain of girls was shattered.
He captivated me and the entire audience of over 400, with his delicate dance movements. His depiction of Lord Ganesha and the Lord’s movements brought us the image of Lord Ganesha himself. The next performance Nari Hariyai Vandhan, a poem penned by Ambujam Krishnan was superlative. The way he posed as Narasimha, the way he changed his expression from normal to that of Narasimha was unbelievable. I am sure, the audience nearer the stage would have taken a back seeing the lion on stage with its ferociously angry eyes. The expressions during Hiryana Vatham and transformation from anger to karunyam (peace) on hearing Shanthi Sloga was like a magic.
Bharathanatyam is characterized by basic positions, the main of which is the ardhamandali, Basic steps are called adavus. Bharathanatyam involves many hand gestures, called mudra. The feet are very dynamic and move following jathis, in contrast to the detached and relaxed upper body. Chi Hrithik excelled in all the elements of bhathanatyam dance performance- Angasuddha, Thalasuddha, Thandavam, graceful movements of the hands and legs,
The best part of the performance was Varnam which lasted for over 40 minutes with lots of adavus, jathis and bhava. Chi Hrithik was mesmerizing all the audience during this wonderful but arduous performance. The entire audience was spell bound the way Chi Hrithik danced and running around the stage without showing the strain of the difficult mudras of Varnam. He did it with ease and love. The entire audience gave a standing ovation for this wonderful performance of Varnam.
I never felt it was his Arangetram performance. My daughters later informed me that Chi Hrithik performs in all the functions-in Meenakshi Temple, community functions or Indian and Asian festivals. Chi Hrithik loved his dancing while performing in his Arangetram performance. The 10 years of dedicated studying under the tutelage and guidance of Dr. Sunanda Nair was noticeable and depicted every minute of the performance. All the time, he was gracefully looking at the audience with a broad smile on his face. He made his parents and Guru proud. Thanks, and kudos to Guru Dr. Sunanda Nair,” said R Chandrasekaram describing Chi Hrithik’s performance.
Another guest, Priya Balakrishnan, had this to say “It was wonderful watching Hrithik’s performance this last weekend. The otherwise shy and a demure boy transformed to a confident young artist on the stage mesmerizing the whole crowd. Each song chosen showed different side of Hrithik’s style. I loved all the dances, but my favorites were the Narasimha dance and the Ayyappa song dance. The concluding peace literally stole the complete show. Hrithik’s bhavam was so subtle and just about right I thought. I am a novice in this field but was stuck to my seat from start to end. Hrithik knew the stage very well and used the whole stage space cruising around and struck a chord among us viewers. I agree I was biased to a guy doing Bharatanatyam except for couple of actors but Hrithik changed my view and made it look so cool. I was emotional and so proud at the end of the performance. Hearty congratulations and appreciations to the parents, Guru and Hrithik.”
Indira Bhavaraju contributed this “Hrithik used all of the stage so well like a professional. His expressions were very clear and so perfectly pertaining to the story, specially the anger and fighting parts of the repertoire. Even the delicate parts of Parvati’s grace were depicted beautifully even though he is a male dancer. The dances were beautifully choreographed and Hrithik’s performance was very graceful and every jati showcased his agility and power “.
“Hrithik Ramganesh gave a Unique performance as a male beating the stereotypes classical Bharatanatyam dancers as females in Houston. He portrayed graceful poses with smooth movements and dynamics. From the beginning to the end, Hrithik kept the audience engaged with his dance especially the second song Nara Hariyai Vanthan with a lot of expression and emotions. His song on Lord Muraga (Kavadi Chindu) showed the variety in selection of the songs. Hrithik concentrated well on the Varnam and ended well with Ayyapan song which showed the amount of depth and interest he persevered to the success of his Arangetram. At the end of Mangalam song, the audience gave a standing applause to this young man who stood strong and brave till the end.
Hrithik has set standards that this Bharatanatyam dance can also be well executed by male dancers in Texas. Rajesh Gopinath Kumar contributed “The striking aspects of Hrihtik’s arangetram were his perfect posture, tremendous stamina, dynamic jumps, strong footwork, evocative facial expressions and a great stage presence, plus the presence of a highly accomplished and fabulous live orchestra. Hrithik’s dedication and hard work are an inspiration to all and his commitment to arts is a foundation for his future success. “
The arangetram would not have reached its heights without the ample professional support by Guru Dr Sunanda Nair nattuvangam, Murali Parthasarathy for vocal, Vedakrishna Ram for Mridangam, Sunil Bhaskar on violin, and Kalakshetra Mukundan. The parents Thilaga and Ramganesh’s support and encouragement was evident through the entire presentation.
The arangetram was held on August 10, 2019 at the Bayou Theater.