Thirteen Students Mark Milestone with Salangai Poojai

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It was an unforgettable day for thirteen students at the Uma Baratha Nrithyam Dance Academy as they showcased their first stage performance in Bharatanatyam. These dedicated students completed two to three years of rigorous training in this classical Indian dance form.

The academy celebrated their achievement with a grand Salangai Poojai ceremony at the RTM Auditorium Ipoh. The event featured a live orchestra, including a vocalist and instrumentalists playing the violin, flute, mirudangam (drum), and nattuvanar, who directed the performance. In Tamil, “salangai” refers to the dancer’s anklet bells, and “pooja” means prayers seeking blessings from God. Traditionally, students do not wear these anklet bells until their graduation and first performance ceremony. The students performed twelve dances, impressing the audience with their grace and skill.

Dignitaries, including Mr. Lawrence Palanisamy, Councillor for Buntong and Pengerusi Hal Ehwal Bukan Islam, who represented the Mayor of Ipoh, and Professor Dr. Jayabalan, were present to honor the students’ dedication to this ancient dance form.

The thirteen participants, Abigail Aishwarya Pany, Yogajothi Gurunathan, Bhavatharani Thirumaran, Keerthika Thanigasalam, Reashma Kumaravel, Kaliswary Sarawanan, Saadhana Krishnamoorthy, Vharshaa Prakhash, Sughanyadevi Thivindiran, Mrittikammah Thayalan, Kesyalinee Thivya Kalisparan, Thivyasree Ramesh, and Rackshanaa Jaiselan, performed before an audience of nearly 600 people, including family, friends, and well-wishers. 

Adeline from Bristol, UK, expressed her admiration for the students’ dedication and beautiful performance. Residents of GreenAcres Retirement Village also appreciated the event, noting how it educated them about the symbolic and emotional depth of Indian dance.

A special highlight was Abigail Aishwarya Pany from Jakarta, Indonesia, who became the first Indonesian to graduate from the Salangai Poojai. She began learning Bharatanatyam at the age of seven and hopes to bring this art form to Jakarta and perform for the President of Indonesia.

Guru Srimathi Uma Thevi Sivabalan, who trained under the renowned Bharatanatyam artist Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subramanyam in Chennai, India, will now guide the students in advanced learning as they prepare for the Arangetram (advanced performance). In 2021, she and her students achieved a Guinness World Record title, and they performed at Natyanjali, India, in March 2024. Currently, she mentors over 250 students.

For more information or to enroll in classes, please contact:

Address: Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Buntong, 30100 Ipoh, Perak

Email: umadanceacademyipoh@gmail.com

Phone: +60 12-529 2031

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