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Updated: May 9, 2012 18:48 IST

Matching dance and designs

Pushpa Achanta
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‘Blissful’ in dance: Kuchipudi dancer Payal Ramchandani does not understand Tamil or Telugu, but makes sure she learns the meaning of the songs that she performs to. Photo: Karan Ananth
‘Blissful’ in dance: Kuchipudi dancer Payal Ramchandani does not understand Tamil or Telugu, but makes sure she learns the meaning of the songs that she performs to. Photo: Karan Ananth

‘Both architecture and dance require creative expression and share an association with space'

A conversation with Payal Ramchandani reveals a passion and commitment not only to dance but to art as a whole.

A practising architect, this 24-year-old from New Delhi was in Bangalore to perform at the World Dance Day programmes held recently at the Alliance Française de Bangalore in collaboration with dance critic Ashish Mohan Khokar.

“According to me, dance and architecture have some aspects in common such as the opportunity for creative expression and the association with space,” Payal said. “As I am deeply involved in these two fields, I did my dissertation in college on the linkage between the two in the context of spatial patterns and designs.”

Trained in Kuchipudi, Payal received her initial lessons from legendary dancer couple Radha and Raja Reddy for nearly 15 years. “When my parents noticed that as a little girl I showed an inclination towards dancing, they made up their minds that I should learn only from the well-established gurus,” she said.

“I started to learn dance at the age of four. Guru Jaya Rama Rao and Vanashree Rao are teaching me now,” she said, and added that she rehearses daily.

Beyond language barriers

Interestingly, Payal has chosen a dance form that is not as popular as Bharatnatyam or Kathak, more well-known north of the Vindhyas.

“I was keen to do something rare and also try to bring attention to a rich and ancient type of classical art, which has a reduced audience these days,” she said.

“People are still trying to open up to the dance form beyond the barrier of language, to understand oral compositions.” She said she has not studied Telugu or Tamil. “But, I make sure that I understand the meaning of the songs to which I dance.”

Around the world

Payal has resumed training in music too. Having done her arangetram at the age of nine, Payal has performed at events in India and abroad for over a decade, including the Youth Festival of the Commonwealth Games 2010, the Chennai Mahabalipuram festival and Agra's Taj Mahotsav in 2011.

She has also given a couple of lecture-demonstrations in India and abroad, and has acted in the Doordarshan series Parampara, portraying the nava rasas (nine emotions).

An empanelled artiste with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, she said she has “the fire in her belly to expose more people to the bliss that dance is”.

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