Annamacharya (3)

“alarulu kuriyaga aaDenade
alakala kulukula alarmealmaMga”

“అలరులు కురియగ ఆడెనదె
అలకల కులుకుల అలర్మేల్మంగ”

In this keertana, Annamacharya describes the dance performance of Alarmelmanga, the divine Consort of Sri Venkateswara, before Him, to please Him. alaru (అలరు) means flower and kuriyu (కురియు) means to rain. In normal usage flowers fall but here in this keertana Annamayya described the flowers that are falling from the tresses of Alarmelmanga as she danced before the Lord as ‘raining’ and not falling denoting that
she had decorated her tresses with bountiful of flowers and as they fell it appeared as if they were raining instead of falling from her tresses. alakalu (అలకలు) means tresses and kulukulu (కులుకులు) is the plural of kuluku (కులుకు) which means a playful movement, a teasing and enticing movement. Here this word, however, means the movement of her tresses about her head and face as she danced before the Lord. 

“As the flowers continued to rain,  danced she,
Alarmelmanga, while her tresses teasingly moved.”

araviri sobagula ativalu mechchaga
aratera maruguna aaDenade

“అరవిరి సొబగుల అతివలు మెచ్చగ
అరతెర మరుగున ఆడెనదె”

araviri sobagu (అరవిరి సొబగు) means beauty in half-bloom, ativa (అతివ) in normal usage means a woman, but here it means a girl who has recently entered the period of her youthful years or might be in the midst of her youthful years. ara tera (అరతెర) is a word of significance here since it denotes a form of dance (a method during the performance of dance) in which the curtain is half raised so that the viewer could only see the movement of the feet of the dancer up to the knee level.  The performance of the feet of the dancer
is called ‘pada vinyaasamu‘ (పద విన్యాసము). The curtain is raised to only half-level so as to draw attention of the viewer to the movement of the feet of the dance and also to facilitate viewer’s concentration only on the movement of the feet of the dancer and not elsewhere.  The existence of the word ara tera (అరతెర) in this keertana indicates that this kind of performance has been in practice since the times of Annamacharya i.e., early 15th century AD. marugu  (మరుగు) here in this context means behind (the curtain).

“As the women in their half-bloom beauty praised
behind the curtain half-raised, danced she.”

It would also be worthy to note here that this is the first stage in the dance performance i.e., the stage where the viewer would start seeing the dancer from the feet first and as the performance progresses the curtain would be raised up and the viewer would see the performer in full view.

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