Bharatanatyam dancer Geetha Poojitha Bandhuvula, who established her dance school, Meera Natya Nilayam, in Kondapur in 2022, has grown and has close to 25 students on its rolls. Speaking exclusively to Natyahasini, Geetha Poojitha, says Meera Natya Nilayam, was initiated in the year 2018 in Sainikpuri, Hyderabad with a motto to imbibe in kids, a love and admiration for the various art forms, culture and heritage. “In the year 2022, it was established in Kondapur with a dual motto to hone my skills as well as hand on the art form to the next generation. The academy has just started off and is taking baby steps towards achieving its ultimate motto and is seeking blessings of the Almighty and the patronage of arts,” she says.
Poojitha states that the reason for setting up her own dance school was an amalgamation of multiple reasons. “As they always say, when you teach you learn more. Many things become very clear in the process of teaching and it is always important to teach your students the right thing,” she says. The Bharatanatyam dancer further adds: “Establishing my own dance academy was always on my mind and I felt it was important to imbibe in kids, love towards our culture and hand it down to the next generation. More than anything, dance classes, rehearsals, performances, pre-performance jitters, post-performance fun with friends, travel for performances etc. are a completely different world by themselves. I want the next generation kids to experience all this, which otherwise in this digital era is impossible,” says the youngster, quickly adding that she takes online classes during the weekends.
Initiation Into Dance: Reliving her dance journey, Poojitha mentions that her initiation into dance is an interesting story. “It was my cousin who watched my teacher perform at a temple and was inspired and wanted to learn dance. She wanted me to tag along with her and persuaded my mother to put me in the dance classes with her and that’s how my dance journey began at the age of six under the tutelage of my guru Smt. Sundari Ravi Chandra,” she says.
Was learning Bharatanatyam her first choice, Poojitha admits that she was too young to even understand the different dance forms to choose one. “Initially I went for classes more to enjoy with my cousin and friends. It was three to four years into dancing, regular classes and regular performing that I understood the nuances of the artform and began enjoying it thoroughly,” says the ‘B’ Grade, Doordarshan Hyderabad Kendra artist.
Arangetram In 2011: Geetha Poojitha Bandhuvula had a proper arangetram on 7 August 2011. “My arangetram is very special to me because that was the first time, I had done a full length margam, and this feeling was completely different from doing a solo performance. My arangetram is all the more special to me because it was all planned executed and performed within a span of a month, unlike any other arangetram, which is planned well in advance,” she says. But Poojitha states that preparing and performing arangetram in a span of a month was a challenge, but this was only possible because of her parents and gurus, who believed and trusted her to be capable of pulling it off at a short notice.
“Back then, keeping up their expectations was very important and that made it special. More than the arangetram, I cherish each and every moment of practicing. We practised for long hours which gave me a completely new perspective of the art form, taught me commitment towards it and enhanced my understanding of the portrayal of the characters,” she says.
Recalling some of her dance performances, Poojitha mentions her performance at the Naada Neerajanam in Tirumala, and at the World Military Games where she got an opportunity to perform along with her teachers, which otherwise for a fine arts student is a very rare opportunity.
Pursuing ME: Poojitha, who worked as Systems Engineer in IBM and quit to pursue Masters in Engineering in Data Sciences, takes dance classes after returning from college. “Usually, I have sufficient time to pull off both efficiently. However, during any hiccups, the students’ parents are extremely understanding and co-operate positively. I have an extremely supportive parents and family which helps me manage everything,” she says.
The dancer has trained in Bharatanatyam under Gurus Sundari Ravichandra and Pramod Reddy and has passed Certificate and Diploma in Bharatanatyam from PS Telugu University with distinction. She is currently taking advanced training in Bharatanatyam from Upadhye School of Dance, under the guidance of Parshwanath Upadhye, Aditya PV and Sruthi Gopal. Also, Poojitha is taking training in Nattuvangam from Vidwan I.V Renuka Prasad.