Bharatanatyam exponent’s passion to nurture next generation dancers

Currently working as an Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at SPMVV, Himabindu Uppari is a celebrated dancer who aspires to excel in the fields such as Dance and Gender and Dance Therapy, aiming to contribute to the broader discourse on dance
Bharatanatyam exponent’s passion to nurture next generation dancers

TIRUPATI: A distinguished Bharatanatyam dancer, Dr Himabindu Uppari, is renowned for her performances and contributions as an academician and founder of the Mudra Academy of Fine Art in Hyderabad.

Currently serving as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Music, Dance and Fine Arts at Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidyalayam (SPMVV) in Tirupati, Himabindu is deeply committed to nurturing the next generation of artists.

Her journey in Bharatanatyam began at Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai, where she honed her skills before pursuing higher education. She holds a Masters’s degree in Dance from the Central University of Hyderabad, an M.Phil in Folk Arts from Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University and a Ph.D from the same varsity, demonstrating her dedication to both the academic and performance aspects of classical dance.

Dr Himabindu’s artistic endeavours have taken her to numerous prestigious platforms both within the country and abroad, showcasing her talent on an international scale. Her scholarly pursuits have been recognised by the UGC Grants Commission, earning her a senior research fellowship for her contributions to the field.

She has conducted lecture demonstrations and workshops on Bharatanatyam across India and abroad, including in Dubai, the United Kingdom and the USA. She received training from eminent Gurus as Nandini Nagaraj and Prof Pasumarthi Ramalinga Sastry.

The dancer’s accolades include being graded as an artist by Doordarshan, publishing over 18 research papers and receiving prestigious awards such as the ‘Young Artist’ award in Bharatanatyam in 2009 and the ‘Vennala Puraskaram’ in 2010 by the Vennala Organisation, Hyderabad. She was also honoured with titles such as ‘Natya Vidyadhari,’ ‘Natya Ratna,’ and ‘Janapada Saahithya Ratna’ for her contributions to the field of dance and culture. Additionally, she received the ‘Ugadi Puraskar’ from the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu in 2018.

In her teaching practice, she imparts comprehensive instruction in dance techniques, performance skills, choreography, improvisation, and the intricate rhythms and talas inherent in Bharatanatyam, as well as Folk and Tribal Indian dance forms. Her pedagogy emphasises Angika and Satvika abhinaya, enhancing students’ expressive abilities and understanding of traditional dance narratives.

In addition to her practical teaching, she delves into the theoretical underpinnings of dance and performance studies. She explores oral and textual traditions, conducts comparative studies of Indian Performance Traditions including Classical, Folk, Tribal, and Contemporary forms, and critically examines dance’s historical and performative dimensions. Her theoretical framework extends to dance education, where she investigates various methodologies and approaches to imparting dance knowledge effectively.

Speaking with TNIE, she said, “My true inspiration is Rukmini Devi, Founder of Kalakshetra Foundation. It was one of the biggest opportunity in my life of getting a seat at the foundation in Chennai. The institution has taught me a lot in art forms. Students interested in learning art forms have to obtain knowledge on both theory and practicals for turning their passion into profession. Students who have completed their Masters and Bachelors degree in Art are getting good opportunities.”

Currently, her focus lies on exploring the dynamics of Dance in Diaspora, analysing teaching methods in Bharatanatyam, conducting choreographic analysis, and investigating the nuances of dance education.

Looking ahead, she aspires to delve deeper into areas such as Dance and Gender, Art Education, Dance Therapy, Ethnography, and Application-Oriented Interdisciplinary Dance Pedagogy, aiming to contribute to the broader discourse on dance.

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