Keepers Of tradition
  Introduction        Folk Arts & Heritage Program        Search Archives        Blog
Browse themes:
  passing it on: apprenticeships PreviousNext
Bharatanatyam dance
Apprentice Amudha Pazhanisamy performing, Bharatanatyam dance, ; Burlington, Massachusetts;
Apprentice Amudha Pazhanisamy performing, Bharatanatyam dance,

Burlington, Massachusetts
Portrait of Ranjani Saigal; Apprenticeship - Bharatanatyam dance; 2008: Burlington, Massachusetts
Dance performance of apprentice, Amudha Pazhanisamy. Master artist Ranjani Saigal second from left of seated musicians.; Apprenticeship - Bharatanatyam dance; 2008: Lexington, Massachusetts
Amudha Pazhanisamy performing; Apprenticeship - Bharatanatyam dance; 2008: Lexington, Massachusetts
verticle bar Artist
Ranjani Saigal
Burlington, MA
verticle bar apprentice
Amudha Pazhanisamy
Lexington, MA
"During the last century, modern education has caused a change in lifestyles; such advantages have driven many people, including my grandmother and my mom, to take up careers other than dance. I am determined to take my dance passion to a higher level and hope to redirect this deviation and keep my family's legacy alive…"- Amudha Pazhanisamy, Ranjani's apprentice

Ranjani Saigal is a master teacher of Bharatanatyam dance, an ancient Indian art form that requires knowledge not just of dance, but music, classic languages, philosophy, poetry, and Indian mythology. Saigal specializes in Abhinaya, the story-telling aspect of this art form. It is through the dancer's creativity and knowledge of the many facets of this dance tradition that a familiar story is presented in a highly individualistic, captivating manner. In addition to teaching Bharatanatyam in the Boston-area, Saigal continues to deepen her knowledge of traditional Bharatanatyam by returning yearly to India, where she studies under prominent dance masters. She has performed extensively in India, the United States, and South Africa. A very active member of the South Asian community of Boston, Saigal is the director of the Eastern Rhythms School of Dance in Medford, MA, a board member of several cultural organizations, an art critic for Indian classical arts, and a published poet.

Amudha Pazhanisamy comes from a long line of Bharatanatyam dancers within the Devadasi tradition, a Hindu religious practice in South India. Historically, girls were "married" to a deity and enjoyed high social status. Dedicating their lives to a particular deity, Devadasis performed religious rituals and other duties at the temple, in addition to learning Bharatanatyam and other classical Indian art forms. Pazhanisamy has studied with Ranjani Saigal at Eastern Rhythms Dance School since she was four years old in 1994. Her natural ability was recognized early on; particularly her facial expressions and her inclination to learn the difficult story-telling aspect of dance, Abhinaya. Over the years, Pazhanisamy has become increasingly fascinated by her family's Devadasi roots, and has committed herself to carry on this tradition. In 2008, Saigal and Pazhanisamy were awarded a Mass Cultural Council Traditional Arts Apprenticeship.
verticle bar Purchase Exhibition Catalogue