Radhika Merchant’s  Arangetram has sparked a conversation on social media on the importance of classical dancing and staying in touch with one’s roots. A barrage of images flooded the social media feeds of users from what seemed like a high-profile event hosted by the Ambanis. The who’s who of Bollywood – the likes of Ranveer Singh, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan, among others were in attendance.

What is Arangetram and why is it important?

All classical dancers and musicians participate in the Arangetram ceremony after the completion pf their training. The ceremony has two-fold purposes.

  1. It marks the completion of the formal training of the classical dancer
  2. It is also the first on-stage performance of the dancer, after the completion of their training.

Arangetram is a rite of passage that all classical dancers undergo towards the end of their training. The tradition has been in practice since the time immemorial.For the urban population, an equivalent of Arangetram would be a graduation ceremony, which takes place at the end of a course and signifies the attainment of a particular skill set.

The Arangetram ends  with an abhinaya to a Sanskrit Sloka, Shlokam, known also as Mangalam.

Why don’t we hear about Arangetram often?

While we know about the baby showers, birthdays, haldi, mehndi and all other traditions- why Arangetram remains fairly unknown to the masses is a question up for debate. Does it mean that urban India, due to the advent of modernisation and digitalisation has lost touch with its roots? There is, of course, no simple answer to it.

However encouraging our young ones to pursue classical dancing and singing to stay in touch with their roots, is indeed the need of the hour.