Why Dance?

Dance is what keeps me grounded.

When I dance I am closest to who I was meant to be. When I am deeply involved in my art form, the rest of the world does not really exist or matter. All else seems inconsequential.

When I choreograph, it’s the churning of an inner sea that is waiting to take the shape of a beautiful, multi-faceted snowflake.

When I teach, it is the joy of seeing another generation take up this tremendously powerful art form and know that a part of you lives on through them.

Choreographer

Choreography comes naturally to any dancer. Its the burning desire to create movement that is waiting to find its form. Sometimes you are happy with your work and sometimes, it just is not there yet. Its a gut feeling. Senior dancers come to me for master classes wanting to learn choreography but about 80% of these skills cannot be taught. The students who have worked with me the longest, seem to automatically learn it by osmosis!

Works that I feel content with include Shanthala Varnam, Mother Mary Thillana, Kalaprayanam, Guru Ashtakam and Arpan. 

Teaching - Blending Worlds

My teaching methodology here in the US is influenced by my background in Instructional Design and my long experience working in the corporate world. This itself lends my teaching style a sense of contemporary thought (blogs, shares, spreadsheets for notation, live webcam instructions etc.) that the tightly wrapped traditional method of instruction lacked.

My academic background in Human Exercise Physiology and Kinesiology helped me analyze the world of temple dances in a more practical and scientific manner. Students respond well to the detailed analysis of each Adavu, Mandala or the bhaava behind a character in a storyline especially when I was able to transpose a character into the current social context. It enabled my students to see real-life relevance in an ancient art form.

My success metrics lie in using my knowledge of Physiology and Kinesiology as well as my personal experience as a dancer, teacher and choreographer to tweak instructional patterns on a per-student basis.

The Anthropology of Movement

Movement is primeval and universal. It is the lowest common denominator of human communication.

Classical dance as a complex extension of this primeval movement constitutes the baseline that sets you as a dancer for further exploration into any other dance form.

"When a struggling student suddenly gets a certain adavu or kannakku (the math behind a complex korvai or set of adavus) because of an innovative instructional tweak on my part, the thrill and sense of satisfaction is beyond words. My shishyas are like a long term painting in progress. I create their dance personas one stroke at a time, until they are a visually pleasing canvas of vibrant colours."