Bhartanatyam seems to be an enticing art and there are so many theories on this medium of expression.
But only the person who pursues it knows that journey in the world of Bharatanatyam is not as easy as it seems. Surely, one walks on the bed of roses, but the thorns are hidden beneath the glorious red petals.
Learning Bharatanatyam is not sufficient to emerge as an artiste. Then comes the long struggle to get the opportunities to perform in sabhas, find a prestigious platform to establish oneself as a professional artiste.
Prathibha Ramaswamy, who has traveled a long way and has established herself as a professional Bharatanatyam dancer, exemplifies the struggle of all Bharatanatyam artistes.
In an interaction with City Express, Prathiba shared her experiences and opinion about the contemporary dance, the framework of Bharatanatyam dance form and her journey in this field.
Pratibha started learning Bharatanatyam at the age of five.
Under the tutelage of Padmini Hariharan, she learnt the Kalamandalam style of the traditional dance.
However she had to face a big challenge when she came to Bangalore, as she had to shift from one style of Bharatanatyam to another.
"After I came to Bangalore, at the age of 10, I changed my style to Kalakshetram style. I had to relearn from basics under Professor M R Krishnamurthy and I continue to learn under him."
It was a whole new beginning. While training itself was a rigorous process, Pratibha had to put extra efforts as adapting to a different style is not an easy task. However, juggling between the academics, training and also performances - which is nothing less than a Herculean task - she soon became a post-graduate in Human Development.
According to her, opportunities in the field of Bharatanatyam are less compared to the opportunities in the world of music. "One must have a good training and also persistent practice so that we can establish in the industry," she added.
She has the credits of performing at Dover Lane Music Festival, Chennai Kalakshetra and other prestigious halls.
When asked her opinion about the contemporary dance, she said, "There is a perception that contemporary dance form gives the liberty to experiment with different genres of dance and classical dance forms do not give that. But in Bharatanatyam, though there is framework, the field itself is extremely vast. Once an artiste is well versed with the art, he or she can explore within the framework though it seems to be limited."