Thursday, May 30, 2024

Devotion, dedication and determination

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At SRNN, students are made to love the art form and taught to elevate the rasikas, the audiences, by passing on the aesthetics of the dance form. Conviction and faith in the art are the watchwords for the students. When one looks back at the galaxy of disciples this institution has nurtured, one will only be enthralled by its ability to transfer the technique to all its disciples. Thanks to them, SRNN believes that this dedicated art will survive in its purest form for ages. Devotion, dedication, and determination run through Sri Rama Nataka Niketan products. The students consider the dance a humble offering at the lotus feet of Lord Nataraja. This explains how the institution has produced seven Balashree and three Balaratna awardees to date.

My husband is my biggest cheerleader
I got married at the age of 21. Marrying young can come with its challenges, but I am lucky that my husband has been such a strong supporter of my art. He has always been my biggest cheerleader. There were times when I felt discouraged, but his belief in me kept me going. His honest feedback, even when critical, has always pushed me to refine my work and become a better artiste. He also respected the boundaries of the functioning of my abode of dance by not interfering in the day-to-day functioning of the class. To sum up, my husband’s support has been instrumental in my artistic journey.

My eldest daughter-a wonderful helper
My true legacy is not necessarily having them follow in my footsteps, but rather nurturing their own creativity and passions. My greatest joy would be for them to find something they love as much as I love dance. That being said, my elder daughter has surprised me! She has actually become a wonderful helper at the institute. Her support and efforts have been invaluable in keeping things running smoothly. It is amazing how, even at a young age, she has found a way to contribute to my legacy.

Evolution of her love for dance
My journey has not been about one defining moment but rather a constant evolution of my love for dance. Every year, every performance, every student who discovers their passion-these are all moments that keep me inspired and moving forward.

Seeing students blossom a fulfilling reward
Winning awards and breaking records are incredibly humbling. They are a recognition of the hard work everyone at the institute puts in. I am incredibly grateful to my team and students for making this possible. However, the most fulfilling reward will always be seeing my students blossom into talented dancers. Their growth and passion are what truly inspire me every day.

Journey of a renowned connoisseur
The journey to becoming a renowned connoisseur of any art form is a blend of passion, dedication, and continuous learning. It also involves a deep fascination for the art, knowing the history, theory, and techniques of the art form, and building relationships with other enthusiasts, artistes, scholars, and curators.
Moments of pride
At this juncture, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Almighty, my parents, relatives, students, and all of those who have played a significant role in shaping my career. Winning the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Bharatanatyam would likely be a moment of immense pride and validation for any dancer. It is one of the highest recognitions a dancer in India can receive. It would represent years of dedication, rigorous training, and a deep love for the art form.

Father’s demise at 100, stepping into his role
My father was always inclined towards Bharatanatyam, and it  was his zeal that made him become the  first male student of the then eminent guru Dandayudhapani Pillai. Till his last at 100 years, he was actively involved in his students’ performances and took immense pride on their achievements.
Motivated by the desire to continue his legacy, I accepted it completely. Every new batch brought with it new problems, but it was a privilege and a duty to develop young talent and mentor them through the complexities of our discipline. Over time, I saw the results of our labour as our students brought laurels to the institute and honoured everyone connected to it, including the gurus, their families, and our state.

Rapid fire
Describe yourself in three words: Dance, family & students
Are you a religious or spiritual person?
Spiritual
Who has been your inspiration? Parents.
Your idol in the industry: My father

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