Source:; Author: Carrie Seidman; Photo Courtesy: Dan Wagner

Just about the time the Sai Nrityalaya Dance Group was launching into the opening number of its “Natya-Sudha” program — an offering of flowers paying respect to the supreme God of Dance that is traditional in all Bharatanatyam performances — the Players Theatre reverberated with a clap of thunder from outside loud enough to seem like an response from the gods themselves. The program featured two styles of dance — Nritta, or pure dance without expression or theme that focuses on the rhythmic qualities of the music; and, Natya, the more expressive, theatrical form, which tells a story, generally taken from ancient mythology.

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Shyamali Mahure, 17, performed a solo in the abhinaya (expressive) style. / HT photo by Dan Wagner