By Caru Das
Subalakshmi came to USA from Madras about two months ago as the new bride of Sriram. Sriram teaches operations management at University of Utah, and has come to the temple often. Suba grew up in the neighborhood of the ancient Partha Sarathy (Krishna as Chariot Driver of Arjuna) temple in Chennai, and is an ardent devotee of Krishna. Her dance background is as follows.
About Suba-lakshmi Sriram
Suba-lakshmi Sriram is an accomplished dancer from Tamil Nadu, India. Trained from an early age under guru Ranganayaki Jayaraman, Director of the Saraswati Gaana Nilayam Dance School in India, she has performed in numerous dance programs in Tamil Nadu.
Suba-laksmi is also a trained vocalist and violinist in the Indian Classical Music. Before moving to the Salt Lake area, Suba-lakshmi was a dance teacher at the Saraswati Gaana Nilayam Dance School from 2004-2007.
When the Nebo Junior High School contacted us with a request for a dancer to present Krishna Culture at their school assembly November 13th, we connected them with Suba. Yesterday morning Vaibhavi and I were thrilled to see her perform before 400 local Junior High Schoolers and their teachers. There were many other dancers involved, who showcased Polynesian, Latin, African, and native American dances. All the presentations were entertaining and well done, but we were really impressed with Suba’s grace and skill. The whole student body seemed stunned when she had finished and applauded with great respect and enthusiasm. It wasn’t the raucous applause that followed dances with sexual innuendo, but the awed applause of those who had been touched by the sublime.
Her program was thus:
Mt. Nebo Junior High School
Bharata Natyam Program
November 13 2007
“‘Bharata Natyam’ is one of the oldest forms of classical dance that originated in Tamil Nadu, India. The term ‘Bharata’ refers to India, and ‘Natyam’ to Dance – thus, collectively “Bharata Natyam” refers to the Dance of India. Bharata Natyam evolved as an integral part of the Hindu culture as a means of expressing devotion and praise to Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In Bharata Natyam, the dancer narrates short poems and stories of Lord Krishna and his devotees. Through her dance performance, the dancer portrays the human soul, and emphasizes devotion and surrender to Lord Krishna in a spirit of worship. Thus, Bharata Natyam is a means to climb the peaks of spirituality and serves as a medium to Krishna consciousness. Bharat Natyam is learnt and widely performed across the world. In India, Bharata Natyam is often performed as part of religious festivals, classical music festivals, weddings, and other important occasions. It can be performed as a group or as a solo performance. The technique of Bharata Natyam is derived from the “Naatya Shasta,” the dance scripture. The body language in this form of dance involves four key aspects:
1. Tapping of the Feet – called “Adavus”
2. Movement of the Eyes – called “Drishti”
3. Expression on the Face – called “Bhavam”
4. Hand Gestures – called “Mudras”
These aspects of the body language come together in conveying the emotion and purport of the story set to rhythmic music.
In the dance performance today, Suba-lakshmi Sriram (a.k.a Suba) will briefly describe four stories of Lord Krishna – the first three stories involve the exploits of Krishna as a child, and the last as an adult. The first story is that of Krishna and his friends playfully stealing butter (one of Krishna’s favorite foods). The second story is that of Krishna eating mud and subsequently revealing his divine nature to his mother, Yashoda. The third story is that of Krishna killing the demon serpent Kalinga. And the fourth story, from the epic Mahabharatha, is that of Krishna rescuing Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas, from the torments of the wicked Kauravas.”
Suba has agreed to teach Bharat Natyam here at the temple commencing Saturday December 1st at 3 pm. The classes will be open to males and females, all ages, and ethnicities.
Moreover, we are preparing a flyer for all dance teachers in all the local elementary, junior, senior high schools and colleges, to make them aware of the presence of a consummate artist and great proponent of the Krishna Culture, about which so many local people are curious because of the gorgeous Krishna temple in their midst.
For more information on dance workshops or scheduling for schools, please contact us at 801 798-3559 or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.