Bengaluru-based Bharatanatyam dancer Madhuri N V took a two-year break after being down with COVID 19 and embracing motherhood, bounced back to form and performed to an appreciating Hyderabadi audience at the amphitheatre, Shilparamam Madhapur recently. Speaking exclusively to Natyahasini, Madhuri N V reveals that her performance in Shilparamam Hyderabad was a very special and an unforgettable one! “It was my first stage show after my delivery. I had taken a break of almost two years after testing positive for Covid 19 followed by pregnancy and then postpartum. I was slowly getting my body into training, stretching, exercises and I got this opportunity from Shilparamam,” she says.
Madhuri says she was happy that she got the opportunity but was scared and nervous if she could do justice. “I was overwhelmed and not sure if my body could do it, but they say – It’s all in the mind. I spoke to my Guru Supriya Komandur, husband and parents, Venkatram NR and Geetha V, who encouraged me and gave me all the moral support which I needed with the baby,” she says. At the same vein, the dancer also adds that Sucharita Ma’am, coordinator from Shilparamam was very friendly, humble and helpful. “The Shilparamam stage was so beautiful, God showered his blessings and gave me the strength to pull off quite a good show. I have a lot of emotions attached to this performance,” she says. The dancer says, she has huge respect to all the moms, who bounce back to their careers after delivery. “There are many moms who would have taken a break from their hobbies and passions post-delivery. So, I am thankful to God for giving me a supportive husband and parents who have helped me get back to dance,” she says.
Looking back at her dancing journey as a Bharatanatyam dancer for the last 18 years, Madhuri says: “Initially, I was a very playful kid and Dance was just a hobby, but once we moved from adavus to items, I started enjoying dancing and I started learning the items more seriously because my teacher, Guru Supriya Komandur, Artistic Director, Amrithavarshini Foundation For Arts, always made class interesting by narrating to us the stories related to the dance piece we learn, choreographing in front of us and encouraging us to pitch some ideas during choreography, stories of her dance class, her experiences, etc… She would also listen to our stories,” says the young mother dancer. Also, she confesses that she would always look forward to go to the dance class and would not miss classes during exams or outing with cousins or family functions. “My friends in dance class have made the journey more memorable with fun during practice sessions, rehearsals, gossips during breaks, choreographing small parts, and sleepover after late night rehearsals. We connect with each other in a different way which can’t be explained,” she says.
Madhuri acknowledges that today, Dance to her is a medium through which she connects to God. “I am grateful to God for making Dance a part of my life, for giving me beautiful friends and a Guru, who is very understanding, knowledgeable, humble, spiritual, creative and fun loving. She has imparted to me a Bharatanatyam dance style which is a combination of Valzavur and Kalakshetra styles,” says the dancer.
A software engineer at Cerner Healthcare, Madhuri was initiated into dance by her music teacher Late Guru Kumuda Srinivasan, her dance teacher’s mom. “I was in Class 4, when Supriya aunty started her journey as a Dance Teacher and she had arranged for a small puja. Just before the puja started that evening, Kumuda aunty called me and asked – Madhuri, are you not coming? I quickly ran to my mother and told her that Kumuda aunty was calling me, and I ran to join the class, the moment my mom approved,” she says. Madhuri further says that her parents and grandparents encouraged her since Bharatanatyam was classical dance and they have always been proud to see me on stage. “If not Bharatanatyam, then maybe I would have taken music more seriously because my parents and family like and enjoy Carnatic music,” she says.
Quizzed on where she has enjoyed performing, Madhuri says that she has enjoyed all her performances so far. “Every performance gives a different experience, a new learning, a new improvement area, a unique feeling, a new journey and an additional memory. And also, I guess only if we enjoy our performance, we will be able to emote and communicate with the audience. So, every performance of mine has been enjoyable and memorable,” says the Bengaluru artist.
Going emotional about her performance of a Margam in her arangetram in July 2012, Madhuri says she started off with a Nrityanjali followed by Sankeernam Alarippu and a Sanskrit shloka on Lord Ganesha written by her mother, which was followed by a Varnam – “Saamagana Priya Shankara” in the Raga Karaharapriya. “This varnam is a very special composition for me because I love the choreography, raaga, composition, the sahitya, challenging jathis and the sancharis. I love the feeling, energy and josh I get when I even hear to this varnam,” she says with a smile on her face.
She goes on to add that for the second half of her arangetram, she performed a Telugu Javali – ‘Chalu Chalo Ra’, a Kriti on Devi in Raagamalika and lastly, she concluded her arangetram with a Tillana in Brindavani raaga composed by Balamurali Krishna followed by a Mangalam – ‘Rama Mantrava Japiso’.
Madhuri says that during the pandemic she had given a couple of online programmes. “Definitely social media and online platforms were helpful for artists like us during the hard times and even when the world came to a still, our feet did not. However, stage is a place which can create magic and I am sure every dancer who performed online missed the stage,” she says.
Armed with a Degree in Bharatanatyam Dance Senior Exam, Madhuri has given a lot of individual and group stage shows in Bengaluru, Goa, Tamil Nadu, etc. and has essayed prominent roles in various dance productions like Ashtabhaarya, Andal Vaibhavam to name a few wants to start her own Dance school, learn more, grow more and impart the knowledge she has with others.