My favourite raga

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My very favourite would be dancing to the music of the Thanjavur Quartet — it was absolutely beautiful music. Whether it is music for dance, or dance for the music, I can’t say. I’ve always admired their musical excellence, and I feel their compositions have the essence of ‘Carnataka sangeetham’.

I also like to do padams of Kshetragna. On the whole, I enjoy doing rare padams and javalis. That is why I take time to present them, because they require a lot of research. And the response has always been good. It is not that youngsters today don’t like such compositions. I want them to see what dance was like in those times. Otherwise, how will they know? Today’s youngsters are very confused. They are neither here nor there.

There has to be a very good understanding between the generations. I don’t give unasked for advice, but it’s a mutual thing. I’m also growing with them. I go to so many colleges, for Spic Macay performances, etc. Whenever youngsters ask me to dance or lecture, I try to accept.

Even when I go abroad, I find it amazing how they want to see Indian art undiluted. Once when I was performing, some representatives of the Adelaide Festival came and watched. I did a 40-minute varnam. Afterwards, they said, describing it with their hands, “You did a very big piece. We want you to come and do that, just the same way. Don’t shorten it.” They made sure I did not perform an edited piece.

I just want to maintain whatever has been taught to me by my guru. Today girls are so aggressive in dancing. It is not necessary. Our art is so ennobling. You can’t thrust your own personality on it. I keep my dance in front and my personality behind. That’s what takes me up.




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