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It was a winter evening of a year that has highlighted the precarious nature of everything from health, to well-being, to our future as a globalised community. The special evening with dancer par xcellence Smt Priyadarshini Govind showed how art allows the light to come into our lives, even as we cope with unprecedented change.

December 7th was another Rotary weekend evening, as they say a #Motivational Monday, where she inspired, entertained, comforted and transported a visibly excited audience to new aural and visual heights.

Bharatanatyam, which is her oeuvre, has at regular intervals given us dancers who make us believe that a divine force has come down to mother earth to heal and depict their primordial form. Smt Priyadarshini’s exposition on her topic – “Indian Art and Well-being” was one such occasion where just by immersing ourself in the beauty of the art for a few precious minutes, we were transported to a realm of great beauty and charm.

Priyadrshini demonstrated with the help of her students different aspects of Bharatanatyam that can help in physical well-being – ShirObheda – different uses of the head, Asanyukta hasta – single handed gestures, Bhu chAri – sththAvarta (movement of the lower half of the body) and nAtu adavu – a basic step in dance. Two enthralling videos of Abhinaya – Choodare and Jagadodharana – showed us just why she can wow us with her beautiful eyes alone.

Keeping in step with the accompanists on India’s beautiful musical instruments is tricky, a skill honed by years of dedication and practice. Priyadarshini Govind in her short presentation showed how learning Indian dance can keep one fit, disease free and also fire neurons in the brain which create empathy, compassion, resilience, endurance and joy. She has inspired all who took part to delve a little deeper into one of the world’s greatest art forms – embodying the cultural canvas of Bharata through bhava, raga and tala.

Aparna M Sridhar, Editor

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