Bharatanatyam dancer Medha Vyakarana, who is currently pursuing Bachelors in Physiotherapy from KIMS, Bengaluru, calls for cultural exchange programmes between all cities to promote artists and showcase their talent. Speaking to Natyahasni, Medha, who was on the Parichay programme of Muvva Nritya Raaga Nigamam, says that Art should be more accessible to the common man. “Encouragement and support from institutions and appreciation from Rasikas plays a vital role for a dancer to grow higher. More workshops should be conducted for dancers to improve on Abhinaya, Angashuddi and Creativity from senior experienced artists,” says the budding dancer.
Medha’s mother, who is a singer, is her first Guru. She was initiated into dance at the age of eight under Prof. Krishnamurthy, Kalakshiti, Bengaluru. “When I was attending my music class, I used to get attracted towards the graceful dancers depicting stories of Krishna and Rama through actions. I used to come home and try to do the same in front of the mirror. They were my true inspirations and hence got motivated to learn this art form. Also, Dance and Music are like the two faces of the same coin leading to the divine,” says the KIMS undergraduate.
The dancer is happy and satisfied with the two styles – Kalakshiti and Vazhuvoor, she is learning. “I learnt the Kalakshiti style for four years which was my foundation in dance and currently pursuing Vazhuvoor style from the last nine years,” she says.
Guru’s Contribution: Recalling her Guru Karnataka Kalashree Revathi Narasimhan’s contribution to her Arangetram in 2018, Medha says that the theme for her Arangetram was ‘Shanmatham’. “The audience present were impressed by her choreography skills especially the ‘Devaranama Simha Roopa Naada …’. She made minute corrections during my practice sessions which made a difference to my overall stage performance. She instilled confidence in me for my debut performance. I was thrilled to perform eight items tirelessly right from Thodayamangalam till Mangalam. Whatever I am today is because of her,” confesses Medha.
Following in the footsteps of her Guru, Medha is teaching at the Natya Niketan for beginners since November 2020. “Working as a faculty is a learning opportunity. It’s a nice platform to stay connected with enthusiastic kids. Teaching and learning are equally emphasised,” she says.
Medha states that Sri Narasimhan, the backbone of Natya Niketan, conducts theory classes and helps students understand the literature aspect. “It is very important to study the literary works for better presentation. It helps in choreography and creating Jattis as well. Learning Music helps to understand the Saahityam better and can be depicted through structured Sancharis in Dance with perfect Talam,” says the young talented dancer.
Yoga Important: The KIMS student says that to build stamina and flexibility, sustain energy levels, Yoga is very important. “It also helps in breath control while performing lengthy items like Varnam,” she says adding that learning Samskrutham helps as most of the music compositions are in that language. “Learning a language helps to depict the ideas/thoughts of music composers to its core and can be conveyed to the audience through dance,” she says.
Medha, who is also learning Taalam and Nattuvangam under Dr. Lakshmi Ramaswamy, says: “Taalam and Nattuvangam classes have helped me to be more accurate with the calculations. Its rhythm of my life. I have yet to do Nattuvangam for a program.” The dancer accepts that Bengaluru is one of the hubs for promoting cultural programmes. “An artist can make a living as a professional dancer if they are well established. It’s a hard way during the present pandemic,” she states.
On pursuing academics along with music and dance, the talented artist says that Music, Dance, Yoga have helped her to be more focussed in studies. “Determination in achieving my objectives is a key factor and I dedicate time to balance both Academics and Arts. I’m committed and work for achieving an ecstatic living. I want to be successful in my profession and passion,” says Medha.