Dance is a medium to understand life
Noted danseuse Gayatri Sriram has created a niche for herself with her unique thematic presentations which keep within the strictly traditional framework of Bharatanatyam. Her deep involvement, introspection and technical prowess mark each performance.
Her dance reflects the exactness and precision that the Kalakshetra style demands yet speaks of an individual perspective and freshness with complete involvement which sets her apart as an artist. Gayatri Sriram, disciple of Kalakshetra alumnus Minal Prabhu, earned rave reviews from critics and dance connoisseurs alike. This Singapore-based artiste, who was in Hyderabad for a dance recital, spoke about the reception to Bhartanatyam in Singapore and more
Noted danseuse Gayatri Sriram has created a niche for herself with her unique thematic presentations which keep within the strictly traditional framework of Bharatanatyam. Her deep involvement, introspection and technical prowess mark each performance. “Gayatri has a commanding stage presence and one at once notices that here is a dancer who, once she is on stage performs with elan and passion,” remarked noted dance critic Sunil Kothari.
Commitment and zeal mark her performances and her connection with the audience is instantaneous. To Gayatri, dance is an extension of herself, an art form that she completely identifies with and performs with honesty and dedication. Over to Gayatri Sriram:
How you got interested in Bharatanatyam?
Although my parents are from Kerala, I was born and brought up in Maharashtra, where they worked as bankers. Since childhood I was into art and music. I started learning dance at the age of five, from Vikraman. But when I was 12- years-old I started learning Bharatanatyam from my guru Minal Prabhu, an alumnus of Kalakshetra. She inspired me a lot and she has been my guide and strength.
How is the reception to Bharatanatyam in Singapore?
I have left to Singapore after getting married to Raj Sriram, who is a banker and am living there since 1995. My husband loves dance and more importantly, he loves to see me dance! He can do anything to see me dance. In the year 2000, I started my own school and today I am happy with the way this dance form has progressed in Singapore.
The city is vibrant and the Singapore Government is incredible when it comes to supporting art, especially through the National Arts Council of Singapore. I just want to thank the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society (SIFAS) and the Government which lent us support at every stage and for every performance. With their support I am performing and running my school-- ‘Shruti Laya’ in Singapore.
Who is your inspiration?
My guru Minal Prabhu is my biggest inspiration. I have learnt a lot about dance and life in general, from her. I am also highly inspired by my mentor Jayalakshmi, but feel unfortunate for never having had the chance to meet Rukminiji. Priyadarshini Govind is also my favourite dancer. Her dance is full of emotions and well identified with ‘Abhinaya’. I also like guru Kalanidhi Narayanan. My dance is highly influenced by my guru Kalanidhi Narayanan.
Unforgettable moments, you would like to share?
I have choreographed a number of productions that have given me a lot of satisfaction. And every moment is special for me, but I still remember ‘Yagyaseni’ - A story of Queen Draupadi, narrated as a tale of conversations between Lord Krishna and her which shows her as a woman born of the fire who has many mysteries that shroud her. I also can recall a collaborative performance with writer / diplomat, Pavan Varma, who lent his English sonnets to the production from the book ‘Yudhistar and Draupadi’.
What is your take on current crop of dancers?
Young dancers are intelligent and smart. They are courageous; many are willing to take this up as a career. There is a lot of camaraderie among them, it is fantastic. Patience must be inculcated in young aspiring to be artiste. Work hard, practice more. Practice makes you perfect. Don’t forget this is a spiritual medium to understand and rejoice life. It takes you on the path of the Almighty. For me, dancing isn’t just a hobby; it takes a great amount of hard work, creativity and passion.