Pavan Kumar Perini began grooving to filmy numbers as a young kid and received tremendous support from his parents, mother Subhadra and father Ramesh Sharma. His grandfather, Shyamsundar Shastry on noticing him dancing to K Vishwanath’s classic melody ‘Om Namasivaya’ from ‘Sagara Sangamam’ seized the opportunity of introducing him to Guru Nataraj Ramakrishna garu, with the help of yesteryear actress Jamuna garu. “Stepping into learn dance under Guru ji at the age of seven years, everybody in the institute was very kind to me, including Kalakrishna garu. My gurus made me comfortable and it never occurred to me that I was in an institute. They made me feel like a family member. I truly think it was a gift from God that Nataraja Ramakrishna garu constantly helped and guided me in every aspect of dance,” says the Perini practitioner.
Remembering his association with Padma Shri Nataraja Ramakrishna garu, Pavan Kumar says that he was always treated like his son. “Whenever Master garu took me to any dance venues, honour ceremonies or large gatherings, he would buy me new clothes and I would treasure them so much. Today, I treasure so many memories of those growing up days and learning dance,” he says.
Breaking the myth of why all Perini dancers have Perini attached to their name, Pavan Kumar reveals that Perini specialists put the word Perini before their name, as initially Nataraja Ramakrishna garu would give it to students as a title on successful completion of the art form. “Presently, every individual who learns Perini attaches the word before their name. It’s attaching a title to be precise,” says Pavan Kumar, who is teaching Perini dance in Sri Bhaktha Ramadasu Government College of Music and Dance, Secunderabad. On whether, students after successful completion of learning Perini from Government Colleges of Music and Dance, use the title Perini, Pavan Kumar says that they use after achieving a certain degree of authority in Perini from their performances.
Digitalising Perini Syllabus: Pavan Kumar is conducting online classes for students of Sri Bhaktha Ramadasu Govt. College of Music and Dance too. “Though there are a few issues of net connectivity in between, students are enthusiastic to learn even online. Some of them have to juggle classes with their regular academics, but they are all eager to learn,” says the teacher. Pavan Kumar shares that he is digitalising Perini syllabus and will post it on Social Media making the content available to keen learners. “The thought of digitalizing Perini syllabus came to me after some students started experiencing difficulties in online classes and in this mode, it would be available to one and all,” he says. The Perini exponent has trained over 100 students, and many of them women, who first joined the institute to learn Andhra Natyam and parallelly learnt Perini.
“Our institution, Vagdevi Arts Academy conducted some virtual events to encourage other dance forms such as ‘Pasidi Paadala Parani’, ‘Sri Vignarajam Bhaje’, ‘Lasyanjali’, ‘Krishnaya Tasmai Namaha’, ‘Tandav’, ‘Padams’ and ‘Javalis’ which included professionals and their students, which was well-received. We even paid tributes to eminent personalities like Guru Nataraja Ramakrishna garu, Dr. C. Narayan Reddy garu, and Shri S.P. Balasubramaniam garu and others through our dance. Students of our institution participated in some online events and contests like TANA’s World Telugu Cultural Festival and bagged prizes,” he says.
Speaking about Vagdevi Arts Academy, which was established in 2006, Pavan Kumar states that they offer training to students appearing for Certificate and Diploma courses from any recognised University across the country. “Our institute’s vision and mission is to foster art forms. We recently made a short film, ‘Nartana’, which underscores the feelings and journey of an artist,” he says and makes an appeal to students to learn the art form with commitment to protect our rich cultural heritage for future generations.