SBU Taandava Works its Way to the Stage

By Diana Lopez and Stephen Infantolino

The SBU Taandava Club worked very hard to put on a show this past Saturday. The Indian Classical dance team, hosted its second performance of  the show called “Jana Seva” at the Wang Center Theater.

Taandava members gather in a circle before each show. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)
Taandava members gather in a circle before each show to share positive thoughts. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)

However, before the big night started, dancers went through a long day of preparation. This routine usually starts around eight hours prior to opening doors to the public.

Natalie Poona Phagu, founder of Taandava in her Senior year, applies makeup to Jaime Mangalathu, a freshman Biology major. Both dancers aspire to go to medical school after graduation. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)
Natalie Poona Phagu, a senior at Stony Brook University and founder of Taandava, applies makeup to Jaime Mangalathu, a freshman biology major. Both dancers aspire to go to medical school after graduation. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)
Natalie Poona Phagu, makes sure everyone's make up and jewelry is up to part. In this case, she is helping 20-year-old Steni Stephan, a junior Biology major. Heavy eye make up is a staple of the Indian typical attire. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)
Natalie Poona Phagu, makes sure everyone’s make up and jewelry are up to part. In this case, she helps 20-year-old Steni Stephan, a junior biology major. Heavy eye makeup is a staple of Indian performance attire. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)

Women are not the only ones who have to spend hours getting ready. In fact, men also wear heavy make up and jewerly for these performances.

Sharugash Kiruba, a 24-year-old Biochemistry major, helps apply eyeliner to Lars Folkerts, a 22-year-old Electrical Engineering major. Folkerts just began Bharatanatyam dancing this past year. Kiruba is wearing gloves to avoid getting red hand paint on Folkerts’ face. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
Sharugash Kiruba, a 24-year-old biochemistry major, helps apply eyeliner to Lars Folkerts, a 22-year-old electrical engineering major. Folkerts just began Bharatanatyam dancing this past year. Kiruba is wearing gloves to avoid getting red hand paint on Folkerts’ face. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)

Although quite heavy in application, makeup is not even close to being the loudest decoration on the dancers’ bodies. In fact, all members of Taandava use ankle bells while performing. These bells can be referred to as Salangai, Chilanka or Ghungroo depending on what part of India you are in.

Kripali Gautam, a sophmore majoring in sociology and minoring in biology, puts on her ankle bells. Guam, has been practicing classical Indian dancing for eight years now.
Kripali Gautam, a sophmore majoring in sociology and minoring in biology, puts on her ankle bells. Gautam, has been practicing classical Indian dancing for eight years now. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)

But dancers aren’t ready yet, they have yet to paint their hands and feet in red. This is believed to draw away negative vibes, and it also emphasizes movements on stage.

Dancers paint their feet red using Sharpies before going on stage. Photo credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
Dancers paint their feet red using Sharpies before going on stage. Photo credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)

A few retouches before going on stage…

20-year-old Tuhina Venkatayogi, a junior on the pre-physician's assistant track, retouches her lipstick. Venkatayogi is the current president of Taandava.
Tuhina Venkatayogi, a 20-year-old health sciences major on a pre-physician’s assistant track, retouches her lipstick. Venkatayogi is the current president of Taandava. Photo Credit: Diana Lopez (March 7, 2015.)

Taandava dancers are finally ready… For a run-through, that is.

Natalie Poona Phagu, practices her singing in order for the audio engineer to get her microphone levels correct. Phase has been dancing for 14 years now, and she began learning Bharatanatyam in 2002. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
Natalie Poona Phagu, practices her singing in order for the audio engineer to get her microphone levels correct. Phagu began learning Bharatanatyam in 2002. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
"Nataraja," a depiction of the hindu god Shiva, was displayed stage left, and has its very own spotlight throughout the performance. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
“Nataraja,” a depiction of the hindu god Shiva, was displayed stage left, and has its very own spotlight throughout the performance. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
Nikita Vozenilek, a 19-year-old sociology major, and Jamie Mangalathu, a freshman Biology major, preform on stage during a practice run of Jana Seva. Nikita has been studying Bharatanatyam for the past 12 years, and her birthday is this week. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)
Nikita Vozenilek, a 19-year-old sociology major, and Jamie Mangalathu, a freshman Biology major, preform on stage during a practice run of “Jana Seva.” Nikita has been studying Bharatanatyam for the past 12 years, and her birthday is this week. Photo Credit: Stephen Infantolino (March 7, 2015.)

It takes an entire day of preparation to put on a show like “Jana Seva.” Yet, for the members of Taandava, every hour spent in preparation is worth it, as they opened at 7p.m. to a full house.

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