“When the embodiment of art takes shape, there is a culmination to the evil hovering over the skies.” Since time immemorial, arts have laid the very foundation on which the pillars of humanity stand tall today. Be it music, dance, painting, sculpting or writing, arts emphasized one thing and only one thing, i.e., self-realization! “Discovering the true you” has been an eternal paradox, like the origins of the universe, wherein the answers lie in arts and its various interpretations.
One such classical form of art is Bharatanatyam and one such “you” is Nitya Narasimhan, the girl with a million dreams, traversing the nine realms, all in an offset. She set out on a journey that started with dance, that was ambitious and that which quenched her thirst for freedom. Let’s peek into and look at a world of endless choices, through the glasses of this amazing dancer, who defied gravity just to keep dancing on her way forward.
A Choice Filled Journey
“Some people are artists, some, themselves an art.” To master a stroke or to perfect a stance, one needs to begin somewhere, touchwood! Nitya stepped into the shoes of a dancer at the age of four, isn’t that too young an age to start? Life is all about choices and the choices we make decide the course of a journey that lasts for a lifetime.
Born into an Iyengar family affiliated to music, and raised in Southern states of India, Nitya chose to do things not out of compulsion but out of impulsion! As a teen, she used to spend endless hours in dance class and when her madness was evident, she was presented with the option of taking up dance professionally but then she chose otherwise, she opted to study and took up science instead of arts. It was her choice again, to quit IIT coaching after attending classes for 7 months, and work towards joining an NIT instead. People around her started considering higher studies after Bachelor’s, she chose to experience work life instead. At the end of this entire saga and much against her family’s wish, she quit her corporate job and ricocheted to where it all started, i.e., dance! Through all these years, she never isolated herself from dance and it has been her one constant go to.
On the whole, she acclaims saying, “This isn't about whether my decisions were right or wrong, but I love that they were all mine to make. I'm glad for my independence and grateful for the way things shaped up!”
Bharatanatyam- A Tale of Self Discovery
Nitya deems that, “Bharatanatyam came about through regional preferences in south India. I wouldn't say that any one classical form is better or worse than the other, all classical dance forms have a single purpose- "self realization". They characterize the symbol of life, something that flows through time and unfettered by any changes so long as the dancers keep dancing. Bharatanatyam consecrates the body of the performer wherein the mind and soul experience and express the inexpressible! People choose to discover themselves through different ways - dance, music, yoga, meditation or prayer. That being said, Bharatanatyam speaks and connects most with me. When I dance, there is no I, me or myself, everything around me feels immaterial. The dance is much bigger than me and I will always remember that.”
Movement Arts and Life at Attakkalari
Like any other professional daze, there was a point in her artistic journey where she felt stuck in Bharatanatyam. This was way back when she did not understand its roots or her intended purpose for that matter. She loved and enjoyed dancing but at the same time felt disconnected, facing a dead end in both her physical and emotional connection to the art form, that’s where she set on a soul searching mission. She stepped into Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, Bangalore, to explore a new world of intertwined patterns, and to expand her movement vocabulary through other dance forms.
She trained in Contemporary styles, Kalaripayattu, Chaau, Ballet and Yoga, graduating in Pilates PG Diploma program in Movement Arts and Media. That’s when she took a deep dive into boisterous aspects of dance. According to Nitya, the western forms challenge our body a lot more. They help us understand progress and flow of physical energy. These things craft a big difference to the nritta (purely physical) aspect of Bharatanatyam. Her “Absence-Presence” rendition done as a part of Attakkalari Talent Academy, highlights the nuances in contemporary dance, where the mind traverses beyond space and time, into superlative silence.
Breaking The Barriers - Art as a “Wrecking Ball”
“While a life dedicated to arts might not always be the most stable one, most financially supportive or even morally encouraging at times, yet no artist has ever gone back. People presume that artists are bonkers and they are not entirely wrong. Art breaks cultural barriers. In a world split by infinite differences, it connects and brings people together. It evokes happiness and instils love”,said Nitya citing her wholesome experience as an artist.
Nitya- The Other Side
When asked about how she manages to keep her spirits up with each passing day, she entitled herself as a practical person, saying “I will be honest. I am not really the most motivated person you will know. But then I am ambitious. I dream big. I have the sensibility to know that my dreams will not come true unless I work towards them. I guess that electrifying sense is something that keeps me going. My Guru Rukmini Vijayakumar, who runs Raadha Kalpa Dance Company(RKDC), is a big inspiration and my fiancé Sarvesh is my biggest support system. I wouldn't be doing this if it weren't for the two of them.”
Currently, Nitya is working as a senior dancer and programming director under the tutelage of her Guru at RKDC. Her dream is to be a performing artist and create her own unique work. Unfortunately like most artists, converting that dream into reality poses a lot of difficulties. It’s really saddening and preposterous that artists have to struggle to manage basic requirements and have to resort to other means of sustenance which doesn’t allow full freedom in their art. She would use the proceeds from Goodclap as an encouragement to further her training and fund the work she creates.
On a lighter note, flattery of any kind pleases Nitya, innate tendency of a Leo that she is, and being centre of attention is what she craves for. It’s only natural that she loves performing on the stage and any form of appreciation entices her! ;)
Goodclap wishes the free yet awakened soul in Nitya, to manoeuvre her wings of joy and spread the spirit of dance amongst the community of ensnared audience who’d replenish her treasury of unlimited fervour.
Follow and support her here: https://goodclap.com/nityasnritya
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