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Updated: September 26, 2013 14:50 IST

Inspirational steps

    Hema Ramani
    V. V. Ramani
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Endearing: Pavithra Srinivasan. Photo: R. Ragu
The Hindu Endearing: Pavithra Srinivasan. Photo: R. Ragu

With will power and spiritual guidance, Pavithra Srinivasan has picked up the thread with élan.

“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor, it’s to enjoy each step along the way .” - Wayne Dyer.

It is this strong understanding of her purpose that you experience when you share a conversation with Pavithra Srinivasan. To turn every incident, however difficult, into a learning lesson through quiet acceptance is Pavithra’s most endearing quality. Gathering many accolades and awards and soaring high in her dancing career, life had seemed so perfect, until by a sudden quirk of fate, she found herself “unable to dance” due to a couple of road accidents.

It was a blow. But she immersed herself in work, without indulging in self pity. It was at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Saylorsburg, U.S., that she came under the spiritual guidance of Swami Dayanand Saraswathi. Swamiji encouraged her to teach bhajans and slokas, which soon led to story telling that our rich culture readily offers. In the process of story telling, dance slowly found its way – a release of a new found expression, perhaps.

Taking in the spiritual feast that Swamiji had to offer, Pavithra began to understand the purusharthas – the ability to seek harmony and peace in our lives, and the true meaning of poornathwam, where one sought freedom from longing. This philosophical enrichment does not alienate her from the world she lives in. It is her honesty that compels you to understand her- “I would definitely not say that I am here only to dance for the sake of the art. As an artist, I also seek success, appreciation and recognition, though not as an aggressive participant in a race.” Such clarity in one so young, is truly a rare trait.

Her mentors

Learning to dance at a young age, she found many mentors who guided her so well - Vasantha and Aravindakshan, Rhadha, Nirmala Ramachandran, Seetharama Sarma, Sulochana Pattabhiraman and her student, Bhagyalakshmi Suresh. It was in the U.S. that she realised she had found her new gurus, when she participated in the production, ‘Ekantha Seetha,’ along with the Dhananjayans.

Her return to India saw her seeking guidance from the Dhananjayans and Kalanidhi Narayanan. A committed student of music, she is also training under Lakshmi Podhuval.

Pavithra’s return to her home saw her in an artistic journey, creating meaningful productions laced with the rich learning that she had experienced through her spiritual travel. The first production titled, ‘Panchatantra’ was an extension of her story-telling sessions abroad, wherein she adapted five tales to bring out the morals and values that were inherent in them. Prompted by Swamiji, she dared to tread new areas, that had remained untouched by women – Pavithra has the singular distinction of being the first and only one so far, to have brought out ‘Sundarakandam,’ glorifying the magnetic personality of Hanuman! With effortless ease and unaided by masks, she was able to bring out the subtle nuances of the various characters - Rama, Sita, Ravana and Hanuman – this was so evident even as she explained the production to us ... that we were transported to a different era in a moment, and that was an experience to be treasured.Recently, she won the Yagnaraman July Fest award of excellence in the field of Bharatanatyam. This dancer has many promises to keep and miles to go ... newer shores, higher dreams and glorious tomorrows. “You own the knowledge and, you claim the knowledge,” was her parting response as we concluded our session.

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