Learning Dance & Music, A Joyful Experience

Bharatanatyam dancer Kavya Kasinathan, and disciple of Bangalore-based Vaishnavi Natyashala, Guru Mithun Shyam, has performed in Hyderabad twice until now. Speaking exclusively to Natyahasini, the beautiful Bharatanatyam dancer, Kavya Kasinathan, says that the appreciative audience of Hyderabad acts as a motivational factor encouraging her to keep coming back to the city to perform. “I have had the pleasure of performing in Hyderabad twice until now. It has been a wonderful experience. I love the hospitality of the organisers and the respect that they give to arts and artists, giving all required comfort and assistance appeals the most to me,” she says.

Sharing her preferred place of performance, Kavya says: “Temples have an ambience that has always captured my heart. The soothing breeze of the temple that is charged with the positive vibes of the devotees who visit the temple coupled along with the divine radiance of the Gods captivates me every single time. This enchanting aura of temples make them the most endearing place for me to perform. Offering the art to the feet of the Gods who blessed me with this art form is the best feeling and therefore temples are my favourite place to dance and sing.”

The young Bharatanatyam dancer discloses that two compositions are very close to her heart. “A devaranama – Ada Pogona Baro Ranga, a composition of Shri Padarayaru and a Muthu Thandavar composition – Adikondar Andha Vedike Kaana. Both are choreographic works of my Guru Mithun Shyam, and I had presented them for my Arangetram,” she says. Explaining about the choreography, Kavya says that the Devaranama brings out the playful relationship between a young Gopika and Krishna, while also interlacing it with the episodes of Sita Kalyanam and Draupadi Vastrapaharanam, the Shiva Padam describes the majestic form and dance of the Lord of Chidambaram. They will remain my favourite choreographies forever,” she professes. 

Running A Dance School: Kavya, who performed her Arangetram in 2014, started her dance school, Paramathmika Natyashala in 2021. When quizzed about starting a dance school early in life, Kavya says it is a very subjective question. “Firstly, in my opinion, completion or non-completion of Arangetram, or the number of years after completion of Arangetram are not parameters that showcase the knowledge of the dancer. Instead, we need to focus on the amount of quality learning and development that a dancer has undergone in opposition to just the quantity.”  

After performing her Arangetram, Kavya to her credit has presented over a hundred solo performances. She states: “I started to intern as a teacher at Vaishnavi Natyashala under the guidance of my Guru. Sir guided me at every step and I was trained to handle a batch of students. From teaching basic adavus to handling new choreographies and teaching group choreographies, my Guru taught me each one of them and guided me and corrected me wherever necessary.” The dancer further says that she worked as a teacher for seven years in Vaishnavi Natyashala before starting her school. She says that she began her school, which was inaugurated by her Guru and she has his blessings and trains a small number of students.

Kavya, however, clarifies: “While, I have started my own school, I am still a learner and am continuing to attend classes with Mithun sir and I continue to teach at Vaishnavi Natyashala and my class is a small endeavour to augment my learning process.”

Enrolled In Dance At 5 years: The Bangalore-based artist states that no one in her immediate family are artists. Reliving her dance journey, Kavya says, she was five years old when her parents took her to a dance class and spoke to the teacher and enrolled her. “I remember getting ready every alternate day for class and going happily. I had always enjoyed my classes,” she says, and in the same breath states that she was encouraged to watch a lot of performances. “I recall my parents taking me to different Sabhas in Bangalore, so that I could watch performances. Bharatanatyam performances always captivated my attention. And these performances influenced my interests and motivated me to learn more and more. So, while I cannot pinpoint to a single motivating factor, my classes and the idea of dance always motivated my curious mind to learn,” she confesses.

Kavya points out that though she did not choose Bharatanatyam in the beginning, yet, if given a chance, she would still choose Bharatanatyam. “Although I love watching all classical art forms, Bharatanatyam still takes the first place,” she says. The dancer began her dance journey under Guru Vidya Krishna ma’am. “She was a firm teacher who insisted on neatness in every movement. She would encourage me to watch programmes on a regular basis, and this nature of curiously going to watch performances has grown in me since then.”

Kavya with Guru Mithun Shyam

Later, she came under the tutelage and guidance of Guru Mithun Shyam of Vaishnavi Natyashala. “Mithun sir is a disciple of Bharata Shikaram Guru Smt. Padmini Ramachandran. The Guru Bhakti that sir has for Padmini ma’am is immense and this is a quality that all of us try to imbibe from sir. He is one of the few male dancers who practice the Vazhavoor Bāni and he has performed extensively across the world. He is a very patient and encouraging teacher who not only teaches the aspects of dance but also stresses on the importance of having knowledge of various allied forms that surround dance, be it, music, rhythmic aspects, compering or writing and reviewing,” the artist says. Also, she thanks her Guru for sharing valuable learning experiences that he has had with ma’am that would be close to our heart at all times.

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