CHENNAI: For US-based bharathanatyam dancer Samyuktha Narayan, performing her first solo in the city after almost 17 years has been like a homecoming. Performing at the Aadi Natya Vizha held under the auspices of Brahma Gana Sabha, the mother of three says she is happy to be back in the centre of things.
She says, “After marriage, I had spent a considerable time doing my Masters and then working for almost seven years. I have been getting back to the swing of things over these years. Back in the Bay Area, it is a different kind of experience, where children are exposed to dance and have a lot of opportunities. But being in Chennai is another story, you have resources accessible to you and it is the epicentre for the art.”
Samyuktha, who is the daughter of veteran theatre artiste PC Ramakrishna, began training in the Vazhuvoor bani of the dance form when she was just five. Initially training under the legendary Chithra Visweswaran, she began learning from her present guru Rhadha. She has more than 75 solo performances to her credit and has travelled and performed both in India and other countries around the globe.
Performing a traditional margam, Samyuktha, who also runs her own dance school Mudra in Sunnyvale, has been engaging in collaborative programmes in the US. Rooted to the tradition, while Samyuktha is open to new themes and concepts, she, however, believes in the traditional framework.
“I like the traditional repertoire, there is always beauty in that. I am trying to do new things with young students in my school in Sunnyvale. While collaborative experiences are also enriching, I like to keep within the traditional framework,” she adds.
Now, being a visitor to Chennai every now and then, Samyuktha says that she is amazed by the sheer number of dancers. “Back then, when I was a regular performer, there was a season for dance. Now, it is throughout the year. However, I still think being here during Margazhi is the best time to catch the action,” she says.
Carrying forward the legacy of art, albeit in a different field, Samyuktha says that being the daughter of a theatre veteran can be a learning experience too. “Just the other day my dad and I were discussing about having butterflies in the stomach and how it is good to be nervous before a performance. It may not be the same field, but I have got insights into how one must be on the stage from my father, who has been performing on stage for so many decades now,” she adds with a smile.