Natya Kala Conference Ramayana in Performing Arts - APARNA SEETHARAMAN In this report, we present a fresh perspective – of a Bharatanatyam dancer in her twenties who spent her formative years in India, and has since been living in the U.S.A. The 2008 Natya Kala Conference at the Sri Krishna Gana Sabha was devoted to the Ramayana theme. In his inaugural address, K. Jayakumar, Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Kerala, pointed out that the Valmiki Ramayana has been translated into numerous languages, with each translator using his creativity and poetic licence to bring the story alive in that language. Such translations buck the Western trend of being completely faithful to the original that severely limits the translator. He also attributed the popularity of the Ramayana to the myriad characters, each so well-sketched out, with the Indian ethos perpetuated by each. But essentially, it is a simple story of a husband and wife and their travails, albeit in an elaborate setting. He also mentioned an oft-repeated characteristic of the Ramayana – that Rama was simply a man (not a divine being like Krishna) who was true to the path of dharma. While each of the presenters had an interesting viewpoint to share, the following appealed to me the most.