Stalwarts Enhance Harshini’s Dance & Gyan

Encouraged To Read: Harshini says that during her childhood, her parents encouraged them to read puranas and their bedtime stories were about Indian scriptures. “They made sure we watched almost every pauranika movie and read books and wrote what we understood in Telugu. They were very particular that we learn padyams and identify the grammar (chandassu) also for the same,” she says. The dancer shares that her mother was an ardent lover of actress Savitri Garu, who was also a close friend of her grandmother. “So Amma would tell me if you can do Abhinayam with your eyes like her please do, or else stop dancing. My father would ask me to explain the meaning of the song I’m learning and used to give me different perspectives to the same lyrics.” She thanks her parents for leaving no opportunity to expose her to good art. “It’s not only in dance, be it music, painting or sculpture, they gave us good exposure. I think that enabled me more to enrich my art and thirst to learn more and more,” she says with pride.

Harshini receiving the Balashree Award from D Purandaeswari

Guru Dakshina: Shedding light on her honours, the dancer says: “Balashree honour from the Govt of India is a very proud moment and I am the only one till date to receive in Warangal district. This is a gift to my mother for all the hardships she faced in making me learn this art. And receiving first prize for three consecutive times in Bhamakalapam was something that I gave as Guru Dakshina to Sudheer annaya.” For her success, Harshini thanks her mother, who has always been a pillar of support. “There were so many instances that she has hidden her injuries or bad health from me. There was a performance in Lalitha Kala Thoranam and she came out from the bathroom with unusually wet clothes. When I asked her what happened, she diverted the topic. After the performance, I noticed she couldn’t move her hand, we rushed to the doctor, only to realise that she had fractured her right-hand index finger,” she says, adding: “I thank my mother, a Veena player, who emphasised on dance theory, talas and fitness.”

Deciphering the challenge of performing live on stage and live on TV, Harshini says that live on stage is like dancing like a free bird within your boundaries. “Live on TV is like power play. Limited boundaries and lot of equipment around you. One should be very conscious of the camera angles, make-up, audio and many more. In simple terms, the first is like playing in a home ground and the second is playing in a foreign land,” she says.

Harshini with Manju Bhargavi

An engineering graduate from Gitam University, Harshini got campus placement in HSBC and worked for two years and moved to Centre for Good Governance as Business Analyst. Today, she holds a job as Associate Director in Odyssey Cert, and teaches the art form to couple of students three days a week. She also thanks Late Vempati Ravishankar Garu, for encouraging and instilling aesthetics of how one should pursue art and his wife Priyanka Ravishankar Garu for encouraging the artist, she is. “Manju Bhargavi Garu taught me and gave me the sense of logical thinking in dance – why a movement should be done only a certain way and not the other way round. She made me understand the nuances of art,” she says. Before signing off, Harshini confesses that Art for her is surrender— the complete offering to the Supreme. 

4 thoughts on “Stalwarts Enhance Harshini’s Dance & Gyan”

  1. beautiful, very well written. came to know so much about the great qualities of Late Shobha Naidu, & Deepika Reddy. Hope to seemany more such write ups. hearty congrats Lakshmi.

  2. Well said about your journey. It would be great, if you can describe more about kuchipudi dance. So that non art students could think of classical dance as their hobby.

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