by Nicole Harris
It was so lovely to meet Deepa Srinath! You can learn more about her on her website: www.deepasrinath.com
To learn more about NACHMO Boston you can find them on Facebook and Instagram! You can also support this year's NACHMO Boston programming here!
Want to be part of National Choreography Month? Take the #MonkeyhouseNACHMOChallenge. Every day we will be posting a new prompt on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Follow along on social media to get the prompts and see some incredible dances! Share your own videos (no previous choreographic experience required!) using the #MonkeyhouseNACHMOChallenge hashtag in order to be featured!
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 are you most excited about for this year’s National Choreography Month?
D: The dancers that have been selected for NACHMO 2018 represent a broad diversity of dance forms. I am excited to see what dances they have choreographed and what unique interpretation they bring to the table. I am also excited to present my dance. I am doing it in a way that is usually not presented in the traditional Bharatanatyam repertoire.
N: Who are some of your favorite choreographers?
D: Well, inspiration comes from everywhere, if we can keep our eyes open. I have many favorite choreographers and dancers. I have always loved the work of my Guru Radha Sridhar of Bangalore and she has definitely passed on the love of dancing to me. At the moment, I have two favorites: A) I love the work of the dancer Rama Vaidyanathan, who experiments with number of topics and thinks outside of the box. B) Malathi Iyengar of Rangoli Dance Company, Los Angeles, who knows how to choreograph in a way that enthralls the audience and make Bharatanatyam palatable not only for dancers but for everyone.
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.