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Priyadarshini Govind : Curtain raiser and Awards : Convergence of Multiple Influences
26 December, 2012

- Vidya Saranyan

December in Chennai is an exhilarating season for all rasikas and artists, but for one Bharatanatyam artist in particular this December will also be an exceptional season. That is because star performer Priyadarshini Govind who was recently conferred the prestigious Lifetime Achievement by The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has just been nominated for a national award. The announcement of the coveted award from The Central Sangeet Natak Akademi for Bharatanatyam for Priyadarshini comes at a time when she is convening the 32nd Natyakala conference for The Sri Krishna Gana Sabha at Nalli Gana Vihar. The conference will feature a vast array of artistes drawn from different disciplines. In a meeting with this writer she talks about the highlights of the upcoming Natyakala conference and pays rich tribute for the fortuitous turn of events.

'Samahit - When Parallels meet' has an intriguing ring to it.  What was the impulse for choosing this theme?

I asked myself, how do dancers design dance for a lyric? The creative technique involved in composing Bharatanatyam for a song is a complex one that involves multiple influences to complete the volatile process. There are the numerous connotations that we need to truly comprehend such as the music of the piece, the tone of the poem and the nature of the movement in dance. Then we have to keep in mind the audience’s taste and the context of the times we live in and apply our life experiences in shaping the course of the composition for effective communication. So this is truly a process of alchemy where the dancer plays a unique role as the central point. We must remember that while music, sculpture, poetry, drama are fine arts that can exist independently, Bharatanatyam is dependent on the convergence of these arts for true excellence. Samahit looks at these collaborations of various forms that lie at the heart of our arts.

The conference features over 50 experienced artists. What directions will their energies take in this conference? 

The artists are experts in their fields and will be bringing to the forum their unique take on their particular branch such as Orissi classical dance, theater or writing. The conference will comprise of veterans who I have worked with in the past as well as other gifted artists who have made substantial impact to the classical arts through their offerings. It is most exciting for me that their individual viewpoints will come under one umbrella. There are lec-dems, documentaries, and performances besides panel discussions all of which should make Samahit a fascinating event for artists and art connoisseurs alike.

A project of this magnitude needs strong motivators and helping hands. 

Definitely! I would like to acknowledge my sister Vidya, Leela Samson and Jayachandran for their inputs towards the concept. The performance titled Samahit by Leela Samson and a Kathak dancer was the inspiration point for the title. Akhila Ramnarayan was instrumental in editing the souvenir on the topic. My students Shweta, Sukanya and Mekala together with a set of very good volunteers have been the helping hands on this venture.

Finally, would you like to share your views on being named for the distinguished Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan? 

The appreciation from the audience is always a fulfilling experience. The joy of performing is itself the biggest reward for any artist. And when one is blessed with the premier awards, it makes you stop and reflect. It is a great honour for which I feel extremely thankful for my good fortune and therefore to the Almighty for being trained by such revered Gurus as Swamimalai Rajaratnam Pillai and Kalanidhi Narayanan and my parents who placed me under such stalwarts. An artist's life is full of many turns, and my family has been there for me unstintingly in times of need.

There are many people who have stood by me and supported me in my artistic journey. I can only express my gratitude for their faith in me and for the encouragement they have extended to me, like Mr Yagnaraman, Mr L. Sabaratnam, Mr Prabhu who have been a great source of strength. It is an emotional moment for me and I feel truly blessed.

For more details Natya Kala Conference 2012 :

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