CHENNAI: Christopher Gurusamy is a dancer in Kalakshetra and also a part of the Spanda Dance Company. A prolific Bharatanatyam dancer, Christopher likes to call Chennai his home, after moving from Australia 11 years ago to pursue dance.
What makes you a Chennaiite?
Not sure I’m lucky enough to be considered a real 'Chennaiite' but I’d like to believe that I’m almost there. Why? Because my scooter driving skills are a sight to behold, sambar sadham is BAE (before anything else) and when I speak on the phone to cab drivers they are always amazed because apparently my Tamizh accent and my face don’t quite match.
What are your favourite places in the city and why?
I have so many! Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Sundari Silks, Kalakshetra auditoriums, Murugan Idly Shop, the Music Academy, Chamiers Cafe and Sathyam Cinemas. But my all time favourite is a small place where we, in Spanda Dance Company, go after rehearsal for breakfast: Ram Bhavan in Vanandurai — friendly staff, great food and cheap!
If you had to take a non-Chennaiite to that one spot in the city, which one would it be?
Mylapore – the Kapali kovil, kutcheris, food and the history…what’s not to love about that place! I find myself there all the time just walking around shopping, eating and soaking it all in.
What are the must-learn words you’d teach him/her?
Adaapavi simply because of its adaptability to so many situations. It's a term quite similar to supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. There are a couple more, but its not polite to use them here!
Is there a personality (dead or alive) from Chennai that you wish you could meet once?
I came to Chennai in 2005 to study in Kalakshetra and the person I would most want to meet is Rukmini Devi…just to thank her for the legacy that she created and that so many of us have been fortunate enough to share in.
Three things that are synonymous to the words ‘Namma Chennai’?
Filter coffee, Masala dosa, Autos
Which places are a dancer’s haven in the city?
The Gyanambika canteen at Narda Gana Sabha. Actually, any canteen at any sabha during the season! (laughs)
Is there a place in Chennai that you wish to perform some day?
The Music Academy is hallowed ground for performers all over India, I’m blessed to be performing a solo in the 2017 Dance Festival on January 6th and yes, I’m petrified!
Is there a stereotype about us Chennaiites that you wish you could change?Chennai has such a wonderful blend of old and new, it is such a warm city. I feel safer in Chennai than I do at home in Australia. It's something I tell a lot of people when they ask about India or travelling and something I'm not sure many people are aware of.
Any part of the city you haven’t been to?
This is embarrassing, but I have never been to Marina Beach, I’ve driven past it a hundred times but I am yet to step foot on it! Does this make my un-offical ‘Chennaiite’ status null and void?
Lungi dance or the dapankuthu?
Dapankuthu for sure, as a classical dancer I believe in tradition!