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PANCHABHUTHAM - The Five Cosmic Elements (Part 1)

Our Upcoming Recital: Panchabutham

by Sonia Ivancic



Our annual recital is only three weeks away, on May 21. Preparations are in full swing as dancers are fine-tuning each piece through formations and synchronization. Those who have been to past Shishya Annual Days know that each year’s recital is centered around a theme. Previous ones include “The Stage as a Dancer’s Canvas”, “Kaavyam - Poetry”, and “Ka Na Nam - Forest” among others. This year, our theme is “Panchabutham - The Five Elements”.

Along with the traditional Bharatanatyam pieces, or Margam Items, each dance level will be performing, they are also showcasing pieces focused on 1-2 elements. These elements include earth, wind, fire, water, and space.

Each element has three different short pieces that go with it: the chant, the instrumental piece, and the Krithi. Each level is dancing to a combination of these three types of pieces, and so they get the experience of portraying multiple elements. The chant pieces are traditional prayers to each element. The instrumental ones contain sounds that mirror each element and will have the most creative and expressive movements to depict the element accurately. Lastly, the Krithi is a traditional Carnatic song with lyrics that relates each element to Shiva and a Pancha Bhoota Sthalam. These are the five Shiva temples in India and each one is dedicated to one element. For example, the Chidambaram temple which is dedicated to the element space (Performance II will be dancing the piece about this element and temple).


The Panchabutham-themed annual day is sure to be an afternoon full of traditional dance and an innovative take on the five elements. All the dancers are working very hard to prepare and we hope to see you at the Princeton High School Auditorium on May 21!


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