Saturday, September 08, 2007
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Living and breathing dance...

She belongs to that breed of professionals who are flexible about pushing the boundaries of dance and eager to tread new grounds. Meet Priya Venkataraman…

When critics define her beauty as exceptional and dance performances exemplary, we have no choice but to agree. One meeting with her and one is certain to be taken aback by her extraordinary fusion of brain and beauty.

Stepping into the dancing dome at the age of seven, famed classical dancer Priya recalls, "I commenced my Bharatanatyam training in Delhi under the guidance of Malathi Gupta."

"After being awarded a diploma by Ganesa Natyalaya, I continued training under gurus including Saroja Vaidyanathan and Kanaka Srinivasan," adds Priya.

Dance and Priya are inseparable. Even after her marriage that took her to the United States, there was no discontinuation. Priya spent 12 years in the United States performing and teaching Bharatanatyam through her dance school ’Kalakriti’.

Priya believes crossing the boundaries helped her to share India’s rich culture across the borders. She also reaped the opportunity to perform at some major venues in the mid-western region including the Chicago Historical Society, Milwaukee Public Museum, Asian Moon Festival and the Hindu Temple of St. Louis.

"Today, I feel proud to say that I have trained over 75 students abroad including foreign students," said the recipient of two prestigious fellowships awarded by the Illinois Arts Council in 1996 and 2002.

Pretty Priya loves the graceful and feminine dance form and believes dance communicates the unsaid. Visualising the future, Priya adds, "I want to continue to perform and teach this 3000 year old art form and spread its awareness amongst people all over the world. "

In her heart and mind, she still rears the conviction that if dance scene in India is commercialised, it will filter out the serious practitioners from those who are in it for other reasons that would actually make this art form thrive.

Back home in the Millennium City, the lady is enjoying every bit. " The city is not short of shopping or entertainment attractions. There is plenty to do around without driving into Delhi," she chips in.

As a resident and an artist, Priya wants to set up an institute that can offer professional training in Indian art forms in Gurgaon area. "I am working towards this goal and hope to see it in fruition soon," she says.

Her success mantra? "My family is my biggest support system,” says mother of Jaahnavee and Aditya.
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