Wesley Chapel teenager Parth Madabhushi doesn’t do anything half way.
When he took up karate, he put in all his effort and made it onto a national team that competed in other countries.
When he took up dance, he spent hours and hours practicing his craft and became the third generation in his family to learn the classical Indian dance Bharatanatyam.
And, when he took up music, he mastered the mridangam (the ancient classical drum of South India), recently completing his solo percussion recital, or arangetram, with renowned Indian musician Padma Shri A. Kanyakumari.
Whereas the majority of people may take a few years of karate or a few lessons in dance or compete in a couple of sports leagues, Parth has always set out to conquer everything he tries.
“I’m proud of myself for the accomplishment,” Parth says. “I don’t really get the appeal of doing something and stopping, unless it was just a hobby or something. Accomplishing all three things was important to me. My parents preached that if you’re not going to do something 100 percent, don’t do it.”
The most recent accomplishment on Parth impressice roster was completing his mridangam arangetram last year.
An arangetram (which means “ascending the stage”) ceremony is a rite of passage that is most similar to a recital or graduation, and is deeply rooted in Indian culture. The mridangam, the instrument Parth plays, is the.
All classical dancers and musicians participate in an arangetram at the end of their training with a guru, and it signifies their ascension from disciple to performer and even to teacher.
For his arangetram, Prahlad Madabhushi, Parth’s father, managed to arrange for his son to accompany violinist Padma Shri A. Kanyakumari, a recipient of the Padma Shri Award from the government of India for her devotion to the arts. Prahlad says it is rare that such a prominent artist would agree to play at an arangetram.
“We had been in communication for 2-3 years, before Covid,” he said. “And, her calendar is packed. However, she sent us a message that she had a weekend open, and we were shocked. It was jaw dropping. But, we can see why she agreed. Parth is very very unique, and artists want to enrich upcoming brilliant kids.”
On October 29, 2022, Parth took the stage at USF and accompanied Padma Shri A. Kanyakumari in a three-hour performance that included a 10-minute solo. She changed pace often, playing at such a dizzying speed at times
it was hard to imagine Parth keeping up on his mridangam. However, he did.
“The speed she played at was crazy,” Parth said. “I enjoyed it, trying to see how fast I can play. She was challenging me, and now I know I can play that fast.”
Prahlad, who joined his son on stage, called it an impressive performance.
“It was exhilarating to see my son not only play well, but hang in there,” he said, “because it is very difficult when she plays the violin, because it’s not just at one speed, but 4-5 speeds. And she’s not like, “This is a newcomer, let me take it easy.’ Very, very seasoned musicians find it difficult to hang in with her, but Parth did.”
Completing the arangetram was just another step for Parth, who has already piled up a list of impressive accomplishments.
His father says that Parth represented Team USA at the World Karate Federation championships four times, winning four championships, and also has recently gained the title of Sensei in the martial arts form of Shitu-Ryu.
At his first arangetram in 2008 for dance — his mother Sabrina and grandmother Geetha Raaj are dance teachers — he became the first boy in Florida to complete a recital in the classical Indian dance Bharatanatyam.
Prahlad says that combination of accomplishments is “one-in-a-billion.”
So, what’s next for Parth? He’s not sure. A Carrollwood Day School graduate, he is currently a second-year Business student at the University of South Florida, and has taken an interesting in video editing. While school is a priority, and time-consuming as well, he has wondered what his next challenge might be.
“In my brain, I want to do something else,” he says. “I will figure it out. In my opinion, having something to accomplish, that’s what makes life fun.”
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