The Chennai-based Bharatanatyam dancer received the official notification from the institution on Wednesday following an interview on July 6

“My first priority is to integrate into the system,” said a delighted Priyadarsini Govind, who will soon don the cap of director at Kalakshetra.

The city-based Bharatanatyam dancer received the official notification from the institution on Wednesday following an interview on July 6.

In April 2012, Leela Samson stepped down from the post. Months of controversy and a few legal battles later, the premier institution now has a new director.

Speaking to the The Hindu, Ms. Govind said she was “deeply grateful” for the appointment. “I have always admired Kalakshetra — the undisputed face of the classical arts — from the outside. It is indeed an honour and I am thrilled that I will soon be a part of it.”

Kalakshetra, a much-revered institution, has housed innumerable great artistes who have nurtured the vision of the redoubtable Rukmini Devi and made it what it is today and to be a part of this is a dream come true, Ms. Govind added.

When asked about her vision for the institution, she felt it was too soon to say anything as she would take a couple of months to understand how things worked from within.

She added that Kalakshetra already had a well-established faculty of excellent teachers and a solid structure in place and she looked forward to “the wonderful learning experience”.

Ms. Govind, a graduate in commerce from the University of Madras, also holds a diploma in mass communication, while dance has always been her mainstay. From a young age, she trained under Kalanidhi Narayanan to specialise in abhinaya (the art of expression) and took advanced lessons in Bharatanatyam from Swamimalai K. Rajaratnam of the Vazhvoor school.

An integral part of every dance festival in the country and overseas, the dancer realises this appointment could result in adjustments to a busy professional career.

“Coincidentally, for about a year, I have been thinking of scaling down my performances and making time to give back to the dance community. This appointment has given me the perfect opportunity to do just that,” she said.

Chairman of the Kalakshetra Foundation Gopalkrishna Gandhi said the union ministry of culture had “sent an offer of appointment” for the position of director to Ms. Govind following the recommendations of a search committee.

Ms. Govind “has conveyed her acceptance of the offer. She is expected to take up her responsibilities shortly,” he said in a statement.