Priya Srinivasan in conversation with V. Ramnarayan
Ramya Harishankar, a disciple of S.K. Rajarathnam and Kalanidhi Narayanan, has been running the Arpana Dance Company, Irvine, California, for over three decades. Also well versed in singing padams and javalis, Ramya has trained many Bharatanatyam dancers in the U.S.A. She and Priya Srinivasan form an interesting guru-sishya pair who work together in revisiting the traditional Bharatanatyam repertoire as well as creating experimental platforms of expression, often feminist and iconoclastic. The duo seem to have radical views on the Indian classical arts, dance in particular, views that can be read elsewhere in this issue, views that we may agree or disagree with, but cannot easily ignore. Priya, the author of Sweating Saris, Indian Dance as Transnational Labor, and collaborator with Ramya, among other things in performing this prose text on stage, spoke to Sruti during Dance Conversations 2016 as well as through email.
Who have been your gurus and mentors? What has been Chandrabhanu’s influence on your career?
My first dance teacher was S. Rajalakshmi in Kolkata for three years. After my family migrated to Melbourne my guru was Dr. Chandrabhanu and he has been a major force in my life. He ignited my passion for the arts which then became a way of life for me.
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