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Samsara: Dancing The Everyday

Geetha Patil

NATyA Dance Collective presented an amazing Bharatanatyam dance performance on the theme, “Samsara: Dancing the Everyday” at the Dance Complex, Cambridge, MA 02139, on Friday, May 31, 2019, from 8:00pm to 9:30pm and another one on Saturday, June 1, 2019 from 8:00pm to 9:30pm. Hall full of dance lovers from different locations of Massachusetts attended the program with utmost zeal and interest. 

NATyA Dance Collective presented an evening of Bharatanatyam that reflected upon the significance of everyday experiences such as love and loss, searching without end, and the complexities of human relationships with the rhythms of the drum and new music by Carnatic saxophonist and composer Prasant Radhakrishnan. The Samsara dance group comprised of young, energetic and beautiful dancers namely Smitha Radhakrishnan, Aditi Subramaniam, Usha Narayana, Divya Satishchandra, Gowri Vijayakumar, and Kavya Prasad. They presented both classic and contemporary pieces choreographed by NATyA dancers from around the Boston area. 

In NATyA Dance Collective, the professionally trained Bharatanatyam artists work together and bring out both traditional and contemporary choreographies by integrating Bharatanatyam movement vocabularies with eclectic musical scores, English narrative, and cross-cultural conceptual frameworks to reach a culturally diverse audience. 

Dr. Smitha Radhakrishnan, the artistic director of NATyA, has been learning and performing Bharatanatyam for over three decades. She has studied with prominent teachers in the U.S. and India since childhood. In 2003, she founded NATyA Dance Company with Vallari Shah in Oakland, California. The NATyA collective group of dancers created new works and performed over 80 shows in the Bay Area, Berkeley and San Francisco. In 2008, Radhakrishnan moved to the Boston area and continued studying Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance with Dr. Sindhoor and co-director Anil Natyaveda and performed dance with Aparna Sindhoor's Navarasa Dance Theater. Later, Radhakrishnan started her own NATyA Dance Studio in Natick in 2015, and now, offering classes for children and adults, as well as Open Studio sessions for advanced dancers which evolved into the NATyA Dance Collective now. In her professional life, Radhakrishnan is Associate Professor of Sociology at Wellesley College. 

The Samsara team presented six beautiful dance performances: 1) Daughter of the Earth (Pushpanjali) to invoke the blessings of Ma Sita, 2) The Bloom opens (Talamalika Alarippu) that depicted the process of an opening flower, requiring control of fingertip, neck, and shoulders, 3)Sambandha that presented human relationships relations with emotions like pain and joy, togetherness and alienation in four stories, 4) Thirsty Fish (Bhajan: Paani Mein Meen Pyasi) that described how the fish was feeling thirsty even though surrounded by water, 5) O Friend, what can I do ? (Padam: Bhamaro Napaai) that illustrated the longing feeling of a lady for her lover, 6) A Jewel to recognize me (Thillana) that narrated the miracle that allowed Hanuman to bring Rama’s jewel to Sita across the treacherous sea.


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