Graceful and spiritual in her words and gestures, Bharatanatyam exponent Rama Vaidyanathan believes destiny drew her to dance. The artiste, who will be performing in the city on Wednesday to mark the third day of the Soorya Festival, speaks about the mystical coincidences that drew her to the classical art form. “Even before I was born, my mother had decided that I should be a dancer. The reason was that she was very much enchanted by renowned dancer Yamini Krishnamurthy’s performance which she happened to watch while she was pregnant with me. On the very same day she decided if the baby she was carrying would be a girl, she would teach her dance, and if possible, tutor her under Yamini Krishnamurthy itself. Lady luck favoured her and and when I was six years old, my mother came to know that her dream dancer was going to start a dance school in the same city, Delhi, where we were then residing. In fact, I was the very first student of Yamini Krishnamurthy and also the first one to perform arangettam from her dance school,” recollects Rama. Fifteen years of tutoring under her dear guru is the reason for her ‘mad adherence’ to dance, she says. “I learnt the whole language of Bharatanatyam and the complete dos and dont’s from her. For any artiste it’s important the first lessons have to be really firm and in this way, I am really fortunate. We shared a very special guru-shishya bond,” she says. If Yamini Krishnamurthy nourished her with the Bharatanatyam vocabulary, the dancer says the performer in her got better moulding from her next guru Saroja Vaidyanathan, who is also her mother-in-law. “In fact, Amma guided me to become a professional dancer. She gave me valued tips regarding the items to be chosen for a performance and how to carve out a unique personal style for myself,” says the dancer who adds that it’s compulsory every dancer should develop his or her own natyasastra. “A dancer should always submit to genuine improvisations. It’s important you observe other eminent performers. But it’s high time the concept of copy-paste was ruled out from books. Just imagine if every dancer decides to imitate others’ styles. Then this epical sphere will have just countable unique patterns to boast of. Besides, you can never go down to mark an identity,” she says. “The soul of a dancer should dance along. It’s just like the blending of Jeevatma and Paramatmah. Jeevatma should be the dancer and Paramatmah should be the dance. When both of them bond together, there is bliss,” says the Delhi-based Malayali dancer. So what is Rama Vaidyanathan’s distinct style? “I am a person who loves improvisations and my choreographed items are always varied. Basically, I don’t move out from the core of traditional vogue, though I devise my own technique to suit the taste of 21st century Bharatanatyam,” says the artiste whose has received several accolades. On Wednesday evening she will initiate the performance with Mayoora Alarippu, which the artiste says is one of her signature items. After that she will perform verses from Ramanattakam, a piece from Purandaradas’ slokam, and a Sivoham.