Arangetram - An Event Decor

My first experience on a big event! A simple yet an appealing and inviting Arangetram set up for my long-time good friend Sridevi Jeyaraman. Arangetram event is a milestone for the dancer and I am excited to be part of it with the decorations. 

Arangetram is a debut on-stage performance of a student of classical dance and music. The word Arangetram comes from 2 tamil words Arangam and Erru meaning "to ascend the stage". It is the first performance that follows years of training. Bharathanatiyam is a major genre of Indian classical solo dance originated in the Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu. It is a compound of two words, Bharata and Natyam. The term Bharata consists of Bha-ra-ta. Bha or Bhava (feelings, emotions), Ra or Raga (melody, framework for musical notes) and Ta or Tala (rhythm). The term Natyam in sanskrit means "dance". 

Sridevi Jeyaraman is an extraordinary dancer, I have known her for more than a decade. She manages to look like a high schooler nevertheless a mother of a middle schooler. She is very enthusiastic about dance and I always admired her perfect posture and the graceful movements. Her solo-dance debut was awesome, her hard work is definitely paid off.  Its her passion for dance that took her to this level of accomplishment. Her performance is an absolute treat to the eye. So proud of you my friend!

Usually religious themes and spiritual ideas are being depicted in the dance. This being the month of Navarathiri and Diwali, the theme chosen by her Guru, Smt. Shirni Kanth was  "Devi" (Goddess Durga, Parvathi, Sita, Yeshodha and Radha). A simple, elegant and most importantly a divine setting is what I aimed, for some aesthetic and positive atmosphere.

Stage decoration

A pleasant stage set up creates a suitable frame for the performance and enhances the overall presentation of the event. 

Garlands and brass hanging Annam(bird) lamps (velakku) alternatively creates an illusion of depth with its length on the dark backdrop. Standing brass lamps on the floor gives added sparkles of light. The podium is well lighted with LED party lights (Non-Blinking-yellow). 

A single line of gold spray painted clay lamps(diyas) creates elegance in the front and acts as a sign for the dancer to stay away from the edge during the performance. A group of diya in the center anchored the performer to manage to stay in the center. Hot glued two diyas (inverting the bottom diya) to create a subtle pattern with height. Idols and large lamps in the center was intentionally avoided as it can cause distractions which limits the focus on the dancer.

Altar setup
It is a custom in Indian fine arts to set an alter that creates a divine atmosphere during performance. The alter is well lighted with a spot light focusing on the brass Nadaraja idol wrapped in traditional dothi. 

This is where I got a chance to use wooden decorative vases with metal ornamentation for a set of floral arrangements. Upright Heliconia also known as "Lobster Claw" is one of the largest and heavy flower. The deep red color complements the pink and green Gladiolus. Yellow Tulips and golden twigs gives the right amount of brightness to the arrangement. Pink breath of heaven and Rhipsalis or Mistletoe cactus from my backyard gives a punch of greenery to this arrangement. 


The focal point here is gorgeously decorated Goddess Varalakshmi which creates the right impact and ambience for the performance. Goddess Annapoorani is also decorated and added to this display.

On the other side is the guru's picture framed. An attractive jewelry set up with a display of all the ornaments a bharathanatiyam dancer adores. 

Draped a gorgeous navy blue saree to anchor all the display items. Texture and depth always creates interesting view, for which I played with my large decorative frames. 

Finally placed a "Touch me not" sign to keep the delicates intact :)

The walls were covered with silk dhothis to set as a backdrop and the dancers fan like part of the traditional attire was used to have a themed decorative display. What is a traditional ambience without our obstacle remover, Lord Ganesha? Decorative lamps and Floral arrangements in brass vases completes this setting. Aromatic eucalyptus leaves, bird of paradise leaves  and chrysanthemums along with upright heliconia finishes this set up.

Reception/ Entrance
A welcoming entrance sets the first impression in any gathering and it definitely got to be the best. Rich burgundy and purple shades of curtains  with golden tissue fabric connects the two curtains. Flower garlands added on both sides creates perfect way of entry. 

A colorful rangoli with an urali and lamp  filled with floating fresh flowers in the center and decorated clay lamps around adds beauty to make it inviting. 

Two tables on either side uniformly decorated with tablecloth, runner and rose petals. On the left is a small Nadaraja and display of musical instruments like Mridangam, Nattuvangam and the traditional Salangai a dancer gets to wear. 

On the other, is the welcoming silver plate with aromatic sandal (mixed with rose water and javathu) and kumkum bowls. The agenda, a tray of chocolates, a tulip mini vase, covered with cloth and tied with satin ribbon finishes the table setting. Two floral arrangement in front of the tables and 2 large canvases of the dancer's portrait (not included in the pictures) and the Dance schools board made the reception welcoming and complete.

Thanks to all the volunteers who gladly came forward to give a helping hand to complete this event decor on time (in less than 3 hours). Receiving good feedbacks says it all :)

"Amudha helped us with the decoration activities for Sridevi’s Solo Dance debut (Arangetram). Amudha took complete ownership of the entire project without any hesitation. Right from the beginning we knew that she is going to blow up something spectacular on the big day. Through out the days leading to the event we could see her ideas building up for different areas – Stage, Front and Lobby decorations. She gave a preview of the plan and asked our opinion and inputs.  We were OK with almost everything as her ideas were unique in style and grandeur. Finally, when things were all set up on the main event everyone’s reaction was struck with awe.  Every guest came to us and highlighted specifically about the decoration.  We were happy that Amudha was able to help us for our big day. We certainly would recommend Amudha to anyone who will be in need of this kind of service for any of their family event". - Rajesh (Sridevi's Husband)

"Amudha's decoration for Sridevi's arangetram was excellent. Her color coordination was beautiful. The items she chose for decoration was elegant". - Aruna Raja

"Amudha has done a wonderful job on decorating Sridevi's Bharathanatiyam Debut. She added beauty to the stage which created a divine atmosphere. In the reception area she has decorated with all details about guru, the performer and the dance which explained about the event. She is good event management person. Will sure give her opportunity to decorate my event". - Indra

"Amudha your decoration for the event was impressive, warm and cheerful. It well reflected the occasion and the festive season now. Congrats!" - Saras Srikanth


  1. This is truly great job! My daughter is a dancer and i have been to all her school concerts. This particular decor is so authentic and involves too much time, I really wonder how you were able to do it with your busy schedule. Absolutely fantastic job, its very colorful, flower arrangement goes very well with the jewelery decoration and dance dresses, over all its very soothing for the eyes. It would be nice, if you can ask your friend to write about this, because this is really something and would be nice to hear from whom you have done!!! the words from them is priceless...

  2. Thanks a lot Kiru ! This was my 1st and i'm glad i got this great opportunity. Looking forward to decorate for your daughters performance too :) Well, Sridevi's husband and some of her friends have sent in their feedbacks which i have attached in the post itself.

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