International Dance Day Dance

Dance towards positive thoughts: Patruni Chidananda Sastry

The world celebrated International Dance Day on April 29, but Patruni Chidananda Sastry celebrates dance every day. For this 26-year-old, who goes by the name ‘Sas3’, dance is more than an art form, it’s a means to communicate through performance.

Having used dance as an outlet for his pent-up emotions since childhood, Patruni relates to dance as a way to reach out to those who need support and help. So much so that he is currently helping members of the LGBTQI community to express their feelings and fears, and assisting children of juvenile homes to channelise their thoughts and energies through his movement therapy.

All this didn’t come to him without a struggle. Like most students in this region, Patruni too was a victim of the system that churns out engineers and doctors, unmindful of the person’s aptitude.

Dance towards positive thoughts: Patruni Chidananda Sastry

Recollecting vivid memories of how it all started for him, Patruni says, “I was five-years-old when I watched the Telugu film Narasimha (Padayappa in Tamil) where the actor expresses her anger and pain by dancing and screaming. I connected to that and as a child, I thought this is how one should express one’s feelings. “After that I started dancing (or so I thought) to make myself heard at home. My father, Patruni Dharmayya, a Carnatic singer saw my inclination and guided me initially. Finally he enrolled me in Mandalam Venkat’s Bharatanatyam dance school in Kolkata even though we lived in Kharagpur.” Patruni would look forward to those bi-monthly visits to Kolkata to learn dance. This went on for five years until Patruni had to relocate to Kakinada for his intermediate studies. “This made me very sad. I was made to follow the herd and take up MPC stream. I couldn’t cope up with the pressure of the subjects and intense studies. There was a dance school close by and I would run away to it to escape the pressure. This was finally brought to my dad’s notice; and after that I was allowed to move in with my aunt in Kakinada,” says Patruni.

Luckily for him, Patruni’s aunt Swetha Marella was a Kuchipudi dancer and he could learn a new dance form. With dance, he felt safe and protected. Things changed when Patruni expressed his indignation against ragging through a self-choreographed piece for the Fresher’s party in his first year of college. “I was a victim of ragging. I was most delighted when I was asked to do a piece for Fresher’s. I expressed the seething rage I’d experienced through dance; to my surprise everyone connected to it,” he says. There was no stopping Patruni after that.

He has since worked on a unique style of dance called ‘Expressionism’ to enhance social awareness through dance. Now he uses his NGO ‘Sas3’s Dancing Feet’ for what he calls performance therapy to fuel healthy and positive thoughts in young minds. As a performance artiste, he has actively addressed a variety of issues ranging from gender fluidity, animal abuse, alcohol addiction, to LGBTQI and even scientific formulae. He even explains certain numbers and theories in boardrooms and business meetings using dance. He assists Vaidehi Shubhash, his sister who he considers a mentor, with her dance classes on weekends. So here is one classical dancer whose perspective as an artiste remains contemporary yet traditional.

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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 10:07:10 AM |

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