PRIYADARSINI GOVIND - Her greatest role yet
Priyadarsini Govind, the 49-year old Bharatanatyam dancer based in Chennai, has gained from two major influences: Kalanidhi Narayanan, who introduced the expressional aspects of Bharatanatyam to her in her own inimitable style, and Swamimalai K. Rajaratnam, “a dreamer”, whose classes had an other-wordliness about them quite unrelated to the workaday realities of professional dance. He was a musician before he was a dancer, with the resultant aesthetics a special amalgam. She particularly cherishes the memory of the invocation Jaya Suddhapurivasa he sang before every performance. “It took on a special character when he sang,” she recalls.
A reluctant dance pupil as a nine-year old with competing interests, she was often overcome by self-pity and attended SKR’s classes tearfully, but without attracting so much as a raised eyebrow from her guru. He never lost his good humour, Priyadarsini remembers. “When I think of his patience and gentleness, I am eternally grateful to have been guided and nurtured by one of the greatest gurus, who took care not to crush, belittle or stunt the student’s efforts.”
According to Priyadarsini one of the greatest gurus in Bharatanatyam, her Vadyar decried overemphasis or unnecessary aggression in dance. “Be gentle and graceful. This is an art form, not warfare,” he told his wards.
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