New Delhi: Bharatanatyam dancer and choreographer Priya Venkataraman, who took her first steps in dance when she was seven, has asked her adult students to take up Bharatanatyam as a second innings in life.
“Once a dancer, always a dancer! One does not need to rekindle the flame, because the passion never dies.”
“I have many adult students who have taken sound training under various gurus in their childhood and are now in Gurugram because of professional or personal reasons. They come to me to keep their training and interest in the art alive,” Venkataraman told IANS in an email interview.
A disciple of 2013 Padma Bhushan recipient Saroja Vaidyanathan, the danseuse developed a passion for classical dance and was fascinated with “costume, make-up and elaborate jewellery” that completes a Bharatanatyam performance. She has performed for then US President Barrack Obama during his visit to India in 2010 and in a programme for the Royal couple of Bhutan in 2011.
When asked what changes she has seen over 25 years of her choreography and training as a classical dance educator herself, she said, “I see a definite shift from the solo to a group format in the classical dance arena. Indian classical dance evolved primarily as a solo form. More recently, however, I notice the stage available for solo platforms are dwindling and group choreography is becoming more popular.”
“Speaking for Bharatanatyam in particular, the duration of the performance is becoming much shorter too. From about 90 minutes to 30 minutes on average. As a result, most of the time, faster pieces are usually chosen to exhibit technical virtuosity and one finds slower ‘abhinaya’ pieces like ‘padams’ and ‘javalis’ not finding a place in the current scenario,” she explained.
Venkataraman and her 50 students will be presenting ‘Dance Kaleidoscope’ at a private school in Gurugram on July 27. It is a recital that features traditional dance numbers from the Bharatanatyam repertoire’ like “Allarippu, Jathiswaram, Varnam, Padam and Keertanam”.