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Every dancer should be a good soloist, feels Priyadarsini Govind
CHENNAI, January 10: Solo dancing is the best form of dancing, according to Bharathanayam exponent Priyadarsini Govind. Asserting this during a lively interaction with the readers of Deccan Chronicle at Rasam Restaurant here on January 8, she said no other form could replace solo dancing in terms of establishing a direct communication with the audience.

Priyadarsini was sharp and matter-of-fact, as she fielded some incisive questions from the readers.

Even as she stressed on solo dancing, she said, "we have to work on the quality (of solo performance).’’ She felt that every dancer should be a good soloist as Birju Maharaj had said. Even to perform in a group, one had to be a good soloist in the first place. "A good dancer has to be constantly conscious and vigilant about her role,’’ she said.

"Music is easily accessible. For Bharatnatyam, people have to develop a taste for it. The artistes and the society have to promote this art,’’ Priyadarsini said. It was the duty of the artistes and the sabhas to bring rasikas to this art form, she added. "It is happening right now. In Music Academy, they have a full schedule for the dance festival. They are full house concerts. The way artistes are treated, the way they are given privacy and the way the silence is maintained during a concert – it’s really good,’’ she said.

Priyadarsini felt that youngsters should be sincere while studying this art form. "If you have the passion, go for it. Give time to grow in the dance. Give yourself over to the total overwhelming feeling of being a pitchchi ..,’’ she said. She said she liked the word `pitchchi’. She went on to add, "pitchchi marks the madness for this dance. One loses oneself in this sweet madness…And, one crosses a line … not knowing what one will encounter on the other side.’’

Priyadarsini felt that an artiste could create an ambience if she was really good enough. Sometimes, poetry characters or stray remarks could trigger ideas. Most kritis of Shyama Sastri, she said, had deep devotion for Goddess Kamakshi. She also referred to a Kannada poem, which portrayed woman as water flow carrying small pebbles. The poem was about how a woman adjusted to the environment. Priyadarsini said dance "is a visual medium’’ and, as such, posed a huge challenge.

" What do I want to say? I have to experience it. A dancer has to have an appealing appearance and then convey the message from the heart. What I want to say? I want to enjoy the feeling of happiness. Completely forget everything and then feel you have a dialogue with the artiste and art. It is not a tangible one. Aesthetic beauty is what art gives. When you read a good book, you feel happy,’’ she said.

Priyadarsini said, "I don’t go into a theme that is contemporary.’’ She said she liked to use different movements. "Relationship of a child to his mother (Krishna). I like emotions and exhilarating movements,’’ she said. "But we do have pieces such as portraying a mother sending her child to the war. They can relate the incidents in their life,’’ she added. To a query, she said "If I do only what I believe in, there is no challenge.’’ She said she would take up any role that would pose a challenge to her imagination and interpretative ability.

Priyadarsini said her mother was her main inspiration. In her family, none had ever dreamt that she would take up dance as a profession. Noted cultural activist Y. G. Doriswamy took her to Kalanidhi Naryanan, who taught Priyadarsini abhinaya. Later, she came under the tutelage of Swamimalai K. Rajarathnam to learn the nritya part. She said she learnt first margam from Ms.Usha. "I did my arangetram (maiden concert) at the age of nine,’’ she said. "As I was growing up, my daughter had lot of angst. Now she is my critic. She understands the art form and completely with it. If your intentions are truthful, it definitely pays rewards,” she added.
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