Finally, don't miss the NACHMO Boston Concerts at the Dance Complex on Friday, February 9th and Saturday, February 10th!
N: I am so excited to see group concerts invest in forms outside the traditional modern and ballet! Can you talk about what is that first drew you to Bharatanatyam?
D: I started learning dance when I was 5 years old and at that point I was just fascinated with the story telling aspect by using facial expressions and hand gestures. I had no idea of any movements that were involved. I was just happy to stomp my feet. Since I grew up in Bangalore, India, I was surrounded by Indian culture and I was constantly in touch with classical music and dance. My family was full of connoisseurs of classical arts, probably all these things put together has helped me fall in love with Bharatanatyam.
N: Since all of our relationships with dance change over the years, what is it that you love about Bharatanatyam today?
D: If you had asked me the same question 10 years ago, I would have said the energy that this dance form brings in is what I love. The ‘Nritta’ or dance movements was what I loved the most. Today, I would say, ‘Abhinaya’ or the conversation with the audience through facial expressions, hand gestures and the story telling is what fascinates me the most. Bharatanatyam has such a vast language that you can easily present different characters of different eras and of different stories with ease. Even though this art form is ancient, it still can connect to today’s generation. You can portray a piece on Devadasi from 1900s to a current issue of either global warming or Equal rights.
N: You grew up in India. What brought you to Boston?
D: Marriage brought me to Boston. I am glad I came here! Boston has an eclectic mix of people and I got to see many many dance forms. I saw such passionate dancers, and helped me see the uniqueness and differences from my own dance form especially when I was teaching at Dance Complex.
N: What changes in your process to build a piece in such a short time span (one month)? How long do you usually take to create work?
D: It usually takes me about a week or two to choreograph a single 5-10 minute dance piece. The relatively short time span of one month that NACHMO provides would therefore have been sufficient if I were just doing a single piece. However, as I wanted to carefully pick a couple of pieces to showcase the breadth of my dance form, the time span of one month had to include selection of songs and choreography, which was a challenge.