Dance keeps me curious, observant& happy

Dance keeps me curious, observant& happyMy guru once asked me to perform Bhagavad Gita on stage…That was the first time I became so involved that the character of Arjuna made me shed actual tears

Sahitya Ramkumar, a young and immensely talented Bharatanatyam artiste shares her experiences, expectations and inspirations regarding dance…

Sahitya performed recently at Lamakaan, Hyderabad where she demonstrated her prowess in a short but elegant recital featuring a 'Devi Stuthi', where she perfectly displayed her fearsome aspect, a charming Tulsidas Bhajan on the Baby Lord Rama where she mimicked the infant gestures; an expertly done pure Abhinaya piece the Javali 'Nee Matalemayanura'. A vibrant 'thillana' and an Abhang soaked in devotion on Vithala concluded.

Sahitya Ramkumar has been training with my guru, Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee Pasumarthy Ramalinga Sastry for the past 8 years. It has been a long and enriching journey. Sahitya informs that her guru really works on details that normally we don't notice. He has taught her how small things that make up our body language and expressions build up to be the dance. His training throws light on how a dancer must balance to keep dance true to its form, yet convincingly reach the audience.

"I take immense pride and consider it a blessing to be learning under a renowned Guru like him. Dance for me is not purely communication and storytelling. Dance manages to give satisfaction, the scope for creativity and physical exercise at the same time. The beauty of the performing field is that the learning never ends. There is always more to explore. I feel the same excitement and adrenaline rush before every rehearsal and show. Dance keeps me curious, observant and most importantly happy," the young danseuse shares.

She says that when her mother saw that dance was working for her, she did more than what she could to get the best guru, the best stage and the journey goes on. Creating the right balance between dance and academic life (Charted Accountancy) has always been a tug of war. "My guru makes sure I respect the time and both these sides of my life equally...Right from choreography to costume to presentation everything that any artiste brings to the audience teaches me something. I am a huge fan of Priyadarshini Govind, ParshwanthUpadhye and Rama Vaidyanathan. Once I watch a show something in me wants to go back to practice immediately…partly inspired and partly the fact that there is an ocean to swim across and if I don't start now, then when?"

Sahitya informs that she simply loves the concept of Abhinaya. "The beauty of it is that you can tell a story each time differently. My guru once asked me to perform Bhagavad Gita on stage…That was the first time I became so involved that the character of Arjuna made me shed actual tears. I realised how powerful the Abhinaya aspect of dance is. It can make me live a character I didn't even know before this piece began. Abhinaya also shows me more of music and mythology both of which I enjoy exploring. When after a show member from the audience, especially non-dancers tell me that they understood what I did, it gives me wild satisfaction. That moment wants me to repeat again and again."

In the short run, travelling across India as a dancer, experiencing many lights, stages and audiences is a dream. "Yes, I dance for myself, but somewhere in me the performer wants to be liked by the audience – I wish the name 'Sahitya Ramkumar' makes its mark and finds its value.

More opportunities mainly directed towards youngsters should come into the picture. Avenues, where a dancer can experience good lights and sound without having to pay, will be a great help. Last but not least is a cultivated audience to fully appreciate my skills! I must agree that there is not much I know in this endless subject but teaching the little I know has always been my passion. I have promised myself greater hard work to gain the responsibility and capability to share what I know. And what better way to protect the legacy of dance than to pass it on to the next generation."

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