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“A versatile dancer with full of grace and elegance" 

From Prof Kalamandalam Leelamma

BIO

Born to win, the budding artist, the performer

Born in Thrissur, better known as cultural capital of Kerala; a southern state of India in March 1985 to Vijayan (Tax Consultant and Financial Advisor) and Vilasini (Home maker); I was brought up in Gujarat (a north-western state of India) where my father was working.  My schooling was at Swami Narayan Public School at Gandhinagar (Gujarat) where I had the opportunity of mingling with students from various states and different hue and culture.  A TV addict from the early ages, one of the serials called “NUPUR” crafted and acted by yester year Bollywood actress-dancer  Hemamalini based on classical dances ignited my passion in classical dances.  The passion got further fine tuned by marvellous screen and stage performances of contemporary Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit. 

 

Highly passionate and inquisitive to learn and apply

In the loneliness of my house, I started imitating them in style; sometimes in front of the mirror also. Over the passage of time, the passion for classical dances grew further and my search for a guru ended up with Ms Anandi, a disciple of Mrinalini Sarabhai who had an institution for classical dances in Ahmedabad called Darpana Academy of Performing Arts.  Anandi was an exponent of Bharathanattyam, a true believer of giving more to her students and I was fortunate to study under her from the early age of 7 years.  Though twin cities, Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar was separated by around 45 kms.  In the early days of 1990’s transportation was not good enough and the conveyance expenses and travel time are highly disproportionate to the earnings at that time and she had to, much to my dislike, discontinue the classes.

Journeys with the maestros continued

The search again continued and ended up with Mukesh Joshi, a disciple of Kumudini Lakhia, a renowned exponent of Kathak Dance.  Kathak is a classical form of Dance mainly practised in the northern part of India. I was fortunate to have the basics of Kathak from him and our Guru-Shishya relation went on for more than five years.   

 

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The key decision to pursue the passion

During this period, I decided myself to pursue classical dance as my profession and persuaded my parents to shift to Kerala, where we originally belonged. My father’s native being in Thrissur, I joined Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit for BA Dance (Mohiniyattam), inter-disciplinary subject as Theatre.  Here my interactions with many well known dancers and theatre personalities helped me to further go deep into the subject.  Mr Ramesh Varma (HOD, Theatre) deserves a special mention in harnessing the expertise in Theatre to my personality.

After graduation, joined for post graduation in Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University, Cheruthuruthy, Thrissur; an institution devoted to furtherance of Classical Dances of Kerala. 

 

 

Accelerating the Guru Shishya parampara

Prof Kalamandalam Leelamma, my Guru at that institution, groomed me further in Mohiniyattam.  A strict teacher, a devoted dancer, took me into her wings and gave me ample time to learn and practise the techniques of Mohiniyattam,  near to perfection. 

Her strictness to conform to the techniques and the theatre training of Ramesh Varma made me a good performer, if I say in the words of Shijith Krishna (a renowned Classical Dancer) “DANCER WITH A SPARK”My pursuit of passion for dance further got a boost when I joined Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts, Trichy for studying Bharathanatyam.  Being a college of excellence in Performing Arts in this part of Tamil Nadu (east-southern state of India) the highly disciplined training and devoted teachers taught me advanced techniques.

Reaching the zeniths and continued hard works

As such, by 2013, apart from becoming a good classical dancer, I obtained two professional post graduate degrees in Mohiniyattam and Bharathanatyam.
Along with my studies,  I also started doing modelling for many well known brands through the TV and Print Advertisements catalyzed me to act in South Indian Films.  



 

Mohiniyattom

The theoretical foundation of Mohiniyattam like other major classical dance forms of India has its roots in Sage Bharatha Muni’s text called “Natyasastra”, Sanskrit hindu text that deals with performing arts.  Compared to most other dance forms, mohiniyattam gives more importance gestural and facial acting.  The mudras (hand gestures) are almost always same as those employed in Kathakali. 

 

The artists try to enact the lyrics almost in its entirety, like in Kathakali.  The body of the danseurs swing around just like the green paddy leaves swings with the wind in the vast paddy fields of Kerala. Mohiniyattam developed further as a performing art during the 18th and 19th centuries, thanks to the patronage of several princely states.  The initiation and patronage of the Maharaja of the kingdom of Travancore, Swathi Thirunal Ramavarma, a poet and brilliant music composer himself, in the early 19th century saw development of joint team of artists of two generes namely Bharathanatyam and Mohiniyattam.  His contributions in the art form saw the eventual development and systematization of present day Mohiniyattam.


I was fortunate to perform at many stages in India and abroad (Australia and Singapore) for the last 15 years, noted among them is at Thanchavoor Amma Veedu, the palace of Maharaja Swathi Thrunal and Koothambalam of Kerala Kalamandalam.
Mohiniyattam being a temple art form, I performed at many famous temples of Kerala, noted among them are Guruvayur Melpathur Auditorium and Sree Vadukkumnathan Temple.

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