CHENNAI: For renowned dancer Rama Vaidyanathan, following the traditional format of bharathanatyam leaves immense scope for infusing an element of freshness and creativity. The renowned danseuse will present Chitravali at the Natya Darshan Conference on December 19.
Talking about her performances for this season and her latest production that will have hindustani music — tabla, bansuri and sarangi — Rama says, “Chitravali’s music will comprise khyal bandish, thumri and taraana, along with the instruments that are an essential part of Hindustani music.” With live music, the vocal for the production will be rendered by a Hindustani artiste Ranita Dey.
Rama says that she is confident that a unique concept like this would be readily accepted by the Chennai audience. “The music is completely Hindustani and it sticks to the roots of the school of music completely. But the concept and the approach are different. It is a traditional bharathanatyam production. The city is a cultural hub, I am sure they will readily accept it,” she adds.
Apart from the performance at the Natya Darshan Festival, she will also be presenting Dwita — Duality of Life, a duet with her daughter Dakshina at the Brahma Gana Sabha, apart from performing at the Krishna Gana Sabha, Narada Gana Sabha and The Music Academy.
Learning the dance form under the tutelage of the legendary Yamini Krishnamurthi, Rama later also trained under Saroja Vaidyanathan. In the performance arena for more than two decades now, Rama has been picking contemporary themes for production. However, she maintains that the topic doesn’t dilute or change the basic grammar that guides the dance form.
Rama recently staged Brahma Kalpa that touched upon the big bang theory, the creation of earth and the eternal universe. “They may be about contemporary issues, but at the same time they are in a bharathanatyam format,” she adds.
Teaching at the Ganesha Natyalaya started by her mother-in-law, Rama has also been taking forward the legacy of her guru. While being raised in a city like Delhi has exposed her to a whole range of topics, languages and culture, she has been tackling the challenge of making a mark as an exponent in a dance form that is non-native. She says, “I got married into a family where dance was the order of the day. Living in a city like Delhi has an advantage of providing a holistic view of arts. The disadvantage was that I was a Delhi ponnu performing in Chennai. It took me time to establish that I was as good as a native dancer,” she says.