In Tamil Arangam means a stage and etram means rising or climbing, thus Arangetram literally means climbing the stage or reaching the stage. It refers to the graduation ceremony where the Guru presents his or her pupil to the public.

The Kannada word for it is Rangapravesha or simply Pravesha. It traces its origins to the devdasi (temple dancer) tradition.

The Arangetram can also be done for other Indian classical dance styles such as Kathak, KuchiPudi, ManiPuri, Kathakali and vocal and instruments like Mridangam, ghatam, violin etc.