Alarmel Valli presents Lifetime Achievement Award to Pandit Birju Maharaj

Chennai, Dec 9:
Bharata Kala Ratna Alarmel Valli presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Kathak Legend Pandit Birju Maharaj on the opening day of Navadhisha, the dance conference that is convened by Apoorva Jayaraman as part of Trinity Arts Festival, on Saturday.
Alarmel Valli described Pandit Birju Maharaj as the true living legend of dance and said that she is always mesmerized watching Panditji’s dance. She decided to become a professional dancer after watching Panditji’s performance in Paris at the age of 16. Valli had her first European performance in Paris then.
Talking about Indian dance, Valli said that the dancer should focus on two most important aspects, deep internalization and enrichment. Unless this happened, the dancer will not be in a position to gain recognition. She said that Panditji breathed dance. She stressed the importance of practice that enhanced the quality.
Panditji said that dance does not have any language barrier. Even trees , birds and animals had rhythms. A child can understand and dance properly if taught in the right way.
Dance movements have to be gracious. Portrayal of emotions should follow the story that is narrated through the lyrics. Saashwathi Sen was honored during this occasion.
Murali Raghavan described Panditji and Valli as the god and goddess of dance. R.Muthukumar Chairman of the Festival thanked Valli for presiding over the function. He thanked Panditji for his inspiring address.
An extensive seminar on Bharatanatyam, Navadhisa was the highlight on the second day of Trinity Arts Festival.
At Navadhisa, Ragini Chandrasekaran emphasized the vast variation between the South and North Indian Culture and how the classical dance unites them both. She explained about classical dance terms, Sriranghara and Vidhyapathi in detail and concluded with splendid dance movements, bringing to life the feel of Rama when Sita was abducted.
Ragini’s dance has the strengths of the Dandayudapani Pillai bani, learnt from her guru K.N. Dakshinamoorthy Pillai, and abhinaya aspects from the illustrious guru Kalanidhi Narayanan, after having trained under her mother and dancer Jamuna Krishnan and guru K.J. Govindarajan. What sets Ragini apart are her firm sense of rhythm that comes through in the adavus. And her presentation at the Vadhisa reflected all her experiences.
Christopher Gurusamy explained the diffficultiers he faced as a dance trainee in Australia,
Christopher Gurusamy shared his experience about how he being a foreigner to India developed interest towards Barathanatyam which proved to be an inspiration for the spectators.
Christopher Gurusamy is now 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.Born and raised in Perth, Christophers love for dance was nurtured from the age of 6 brought him to the Baratanatyam capital, Tamil Nadu!
Pandit Birju Maharaj and Vidushi Saswati Sen where in conversation with Prateeksha Kashi, where they were in deep discussion about the Syntax in Indian Classical Dance and how a normal regional language is being transformed into beautiful dance patterns without losing its original identity.
The session concluded with a question and answer session where dignitaries promptly answered to the questions raised by the spectators and cleared all their dance-related doubts not merely through words but also through beautiful dance movements.
This conference proved to be one of the best platforms to discuss the various aspects of classical dance.

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