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Shruthi Rao Gives A Scintillating Dance Performance

Sushmitha Anand
03/15/2017

It was a regular Friday evening for a lot of parents and young students from the Spandha school of Dance and the Sanskruthi School of Dance. Parents and students alike had gathered like they frequently do to watch another Bharatanatyam recital so the children could better their understanding of  the intense art of Bharatanatyam. Their guest performer for the evening- Shruthi Rao, an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer from Bangalore, India. Shruthi has been learning Bharatanatyam since she was in Grade 3 and after her Grade 10 exams, studied Bharatanatyam in  the famous Kalakshetra Academy in Chennai for 6 years. She wanted to find herself a guru and for the last 2 and a half years has been under the tutelage of National Award winner for Bharatanatyam, Smt. Padmini Ravi.

With such wonderful credentials, the audience was waiting with bated breath for the program to begin. Shruti started her performance with Shri Rangapuradhishwari song on Goddess Saraswati. Within seconds  of shruthi coming on stage, the hall was completely silent as we watched in rapt attention the electrifying performance. The movements were so  graceful and quick that watching her we could barely breathe! And her technique- simply perfect! Despite the grace and speed, her hands and legs followed the technique of executing the steps perfectly. This was a young lady who understood Bharatanatyam and its essence so well that watching her perform felt like we had experienced divinity. Her expressions were fantastic and even the little children, who can be distracted easily could not move. She had hypnotized the children and adults alike with her electrifying first piece.

When Shruthi left the stage to catch her breath and return for her second performance, you could feel the anticipation build up as we were waiting, fairly impatiently, to see what magic she would do next. Her next item was a  Varnam (Sundariyon ka sang paya Krishna ne har pal jeevan mein)  on Krishna which included raas bits. We don’t often see a traditional Bharatanatyam piece on a Hindi varnam. With the graceful  movements and expressions this was another divine experience.

She went on to perform 2 more equally captivating pieces- Abhang (Brindavani Venu) and a Thillana which were thrilling and had the audience completely spell bound. What was so refreshing and memorable  was the execution of the dance. Some of the trademarks of Shruthi’s performance was her grace, speed and agility. Her expressions were one of the finest I have seen so far in my lifetime. And the refreshing change she brought to the evening was a mental shift because she showed through her performance that despite abandoning the traditional rigidity in the moves of Bharatanatyam and making the movements more fluid and incorporating movements from other dance forms, she retained the essence of Bharatanatyam , making the evening one you cannot forget. To quote Shruthi - “Bharatanatyam is a dance of lines. But if you do not get the lines, you cannot get the curves.”

Shruthi explained quite eloquently during the Q & A session that ever since she has worked with Padmini Aunty, as she fondly refers to her guru, she explains that in today’s world, to be able to sustain interest in this fantastic disciplinary art of Bharatanatyam, one must make the performance entertaining and that is what she aims to achieve every time. An entertaining performance is a memorable performance. By far, this was one of the most memorable Bharatanatyam performances we have witnessed in our times. Once you watch Shruthi Rao perform, you will never be able to forget her or  be able to look at another Bharatanatyam performance without thinking of her.  One of the audience members said to her” If I had the power to add another word for grace in the Oxford dictionary, it would be Shruthi.” And that sums it all.

Please find the link to the dance clippings:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbN4Qa6d8CM



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