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Bharatanatyam, out of the box

Those were some of the ideas that accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer Maithri Rao has incorporated into her #21DayCreativeMovement challenge on Instagram during the lockdown.

Published: 21st November 2020 10:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st November 2020 05:27 PM   |  A+A-

She says that dance forms such as Contemporary, Kalaripayattu and Chhau have helped her understand various dance forms and assimilate them into experiments that made her feel fulfilled.

She says that dance forms such as Contemporary, Kalaripayattu and Chhau have helped her understand various dance forms and assimilate them into experiments that made her feel fulfilled.

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  Have you met a ‘Quarantined Womaniya’? Have you tried finding your mojo in the rhythm of washing clothes or the whistle of the pressure cooker? How about killing the Covid-19 negativity by dancing to the divine chants of Venkateshwara Suprabhatam? Sounds like novel ideas, right? Those were some of the ideas that accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer Maithri Rao has incorporated into her #21DayCreativeMovement challenge on Instagram during the lockdown.

Interestingly, this dancer who stepped onto the floor of dance at the age of four and started learning the dance form from the age of eight  has not had the smoothest time of her life in 2020. This Bengaluru hudigi, who was to get married to a Hyderabadi abbayi, Hayavadan Rao, in April 2020, had to wait till July 2020 to tie the knot and embrace Hyderabad during the peak of the Covid-19. 

This resident of Sun City,  Bandlaguda, had to wind up her bustling dance school called Shivansh School of Dance in Bengaluru and was in transition when she came to Hyderabad. “I was confused, in a state of flux, trying to adjust to my new world. But dance helped me tide through the confusing times. In fact, I used the time to come up with new experiments within the framework of Bharatanatyam” says the 25-year-old danseuse.

She says that dance forms such as Contemporary, Kalaripayattu and Chhau have helped her understand various dance forms and assimilate them into experiments that made her feel fulfilled.  “I also addressed claustrophobia, of being locked in a room via dance. I explored it using movements and Bharatanatyam vocabulary. Oh yes, the crazy city traffic inspired me to create a dance storyline about a motorist who violates the traffic rules. Art is the best way to drive home the point in an entertaining and poignant way,” says Maithri. 

“It’s interesting how we can find our groove when we can find our rhythm in the world around us. I found my rhythm in washing clothes, in climbing the stairs, the whirr of the fan and the drone of the mixer-grinder. Even mundane tasks became like artistic experiments,” says Maithri. An engineering graduate, she also learnt Kalariypayattu and Chhau dance, a folk art form from Assam. “This art form close to a martial art challenged my body, body language and movements and made me try different dance forms.

As part of my dance experiments, I tried to make sense of the terms that were thrown about during the lockdown. My favourite in the series is where I danced to the Suprabhatam about being surrounded by negativity. And how one should guard against the same to retain the positive spirit in us,” she says.

Quarantined Womaniya is a tribute to women who are stay-at-homes and deserve all our applause for staying indoors (what we now call lockdown quarantine) and doing a great job of managing the home.  
Back in Bengaluru, she also did an experiment based on the legendary painter Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings. “How would I respond to a gallery full of portraits of Raja Ravi Varma, which are artistic masterpieces and surreal,” she shares. Kicked with the positive response she received for her out of the box Bharatanatyam ideas, this Hyderabadi daughter-in-law is now keen to start classes for her students in the city while continuing to teach online classes for those in Bengaluru.



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