Sivasri & truth about Bharatanatyam guru’s

Yesterday I drove my acquaintances, dancers, to Sivasri’s Bharatanatyam recital in Sivagami Petachi auditorium. This girl is from the category of “fast-matured” Bharatanatyam dancers. Sometimes, like the green mangos’ ripening process is artificially accelerated by all kinds of chemicals, some children are over-tutored in their abhinaya too. Luckily, Sivasri’s abhinaya- this time at least! – looked perfectly natural and spontaneous. It had the power and connected to her inner self. While my daughter commented that her abhinaya is “perfect for her age”, I wished even the professional dancers could have such a rich range of soulful expressions, pure, powerful, single-minded, full of joy, natural. I love these 11-year-olds because they are 100% engaged in what they do. Whenever I see Shobana on the stage, it reminds me of a circus clown’s artsy gimmicks.

Sivasri’s father made a lame attempt to make her a few web pages, still very much under construction. He perceives the extraordinary talent hidden in his little daughter, and tries – sometimes in a clumsy manner (like he did on – to make the others perceive it too. He does not understand that, as soon as ordinary people watch Sivasri dance, they will immediately admire her and acknowledge her extraordinary gift. No need for comments. I bet even a half-blind rasika would perceive it. Sivasri is brilliant.

Sivasri’s father, Scanda, is very intelligent in many respects. He understands that she needs to improve certain things. The hardest thing for any dancer is what I call “dynamic equilibrium”. I do not know how the top professional dancers manage to instantly freeze – after moving rapidly – in difficult postures without losing their balance.

I think that Sivasri is one of those rare exceptions who have the strong will and determination to reach their goal fast.

Guru’s and shishya’s – the paradoxes and hidden truths

It is a year ago that Sivasri changed her guru, although Roja Kannan is far from perfect. Until today, I believed that the Kalakshetra style is better be avoided, but after watching Sivasri again I realized that she was changing the style and making it much softer, graceful and natural. Looked a bit like Vazhuvoor, but Roja did not mind. I think Roja herself admires how Sivasri dances. Let Roja learn something from this little genius. 🙂 Two days ago I watched another couple of Roja’s students, and the best one, Abhinaya, was visibly inferior to Sivasri.

It was funny to hear Scanda trying to utter the over-used phrase “All credit goes to her guru”. He did not mention “to which guru“! I thought, if “All credit goes to her guru”, how come Roja Kannan has not trained any other students who would be at least 70% as good as Sivasri????

Sivasri reminds us of the little Medha Hari, the only outstanding student of A.G. in the entire 300-strong Bharatanjali. How come the “Best Natyacharya” A.G. herself admitted that she has not been able to produce any more dancers of MH’s caliber???? If a student becomes a great dancer despite her guru, why should all the credit go to the guru????

I could not believe it when Hemamalini told me 6 years ago that R. was a fake guru (he hardly ever appeared at Kitappa Pillai’s classes!) whose tactics is to find talented kids, train them a little, and make them showcase their achievements as a proof of his own greatness as a guru! After that, the kids are discarded like a used napkin. Well, many people often use others for their own selfish ends.

The funniest truth is that often gurus learn from their own students much more than the students learn from the gurus!

“All credit goes to her guru”?????

I am glad Sivasri left her guru Krishnakumari Narendran to whom all credit “goes”. Krishnakumari is a real pisacha . Krishnakumari consumes young talent (and money) like fire consumes fuel. Krishnakumari is already nearly voiceless, and can no longer speak – she can only shout in her utterly hoarse throat.

I did not know that she was Nivedita Gopinath’s guru when I went two days ago to R.A.M. . They recital was ok, and Nivedita danced fairly well. Nivedita is a bit clumsy, weak and slow, but has good abhinaya, is beautiful, and has a nice figure. The main problem for her, like for all taller dancers, is the fast torso moves. You have to develop very strong muscles to move your torso sideways, back and down very quickly. The shorter dancers (below 160 cm) are luckier. I hope Krishnakumari does not corrupt Nivedita entirely.

Funny story!

A year ago in Krishna Gana Sabha Krishnakumari did the arangetram of one Australian MBA (you can imagine how well that Australian girl performed – after sweating for her MBA). At the entrance, the rasikas were asked to wash their feet. No problem. The arangetram grand ceremony started, and Krishnakumari asked everyone to stand up and sing some song along with her (horrible voice). I remained seated, which soon convinced a few other rasikas around me to sit down and relax too. After Krishnakumari finished singing, she asked everyone to sit down. One man remained standing and continued to sing with his mighty voice. Neither Krishnakumari, the master of the ceremony, nor the rasikas knew what to do with that old man. Eventually, they had to wait until the guy stopped by himself. It was the most awkward “ceremony” that I have ever seen. Krishnakumari’s attempt to become a super-priestess and confer additional sanctity on the lame arangetram did not work out. The Australian MBA’s parents invested a significant amount into that fiasco, though.

Conclusion: when Bharatanatyam teachers try to promote themselves as spiritual gurus, they fail.

4 thoughts on “Sivasri & truth about Bharatanatyam guru’s

  1. Namaskar

    i have regularly followed your blog and at first it was shocking to read something so straight forward.but there is a lot of things mentioned which are truly eye openers.
    this particular blog about the gurus came to my mind again and again in the last 2-3 days.
    i have been learing bharatanatya and i have been learning it with a lot of devotion.i could not afford to continue dance for aa many years and now i have a stable income because of which i have continued my learning.i knw how it felt to want to learn dance but could not.
    when i read about many teachers who have just one motive-to loot students,to fill their pockets,be an opportunist, it was dis heartening .at the same time i believed that my teachers are not like that.
    when got to hear atings aout my teacher, i just could not accept it.i mean how can my teachers be like that?i am shocked to hear that they would teach a particular varnam only when the stuednt pays a very hugh sum.if an arangetrm costs nearly 3 lak rs,then it is equivalent to a crime for middle class people to even think about it.
    i amalmost at the verge of getting into a depression .
    i know that there is truth in this.i have not seen anyone in our class who has got chance to do arangetrum and being from middle class family.
    i really wonder if there is any teacher who is not like this?
    i wonder how can they face themselves and put on such a fake mask..doesnt it rick them when all the students lok u to them andwill so much of respect and affection.
    i did not expect anyone to teach for no dakshina, but i think it is truly disheartening if you are not taught something only because they feel yu have not paid them enough.
    i beg for forgiveness from God for this venting.i know He will always guide matter what.

  2. No need to beg for forgiveness from God. If you were a bit stronger, like Vishvamitra, you could simply burn them alive. 🙂

    The more prominent gurus are like politicians, so this disease happens more often among them. Garbage floats up to the water surface, you know.
    Saipriya, most gurus are not so mercantile. Get out of your depression, find yourself a less greedy guru. That’s the easy way.

    There is a more challenging way. Even the most corrupt gurus and politicians have a soul. Your respect and affection, your hopes and expectations, it does not change anything. If you want to make a change, make an effort, you can try to bring their soul out of the hole it stuck. It will require from you a lot of will and sincerity and time. With the spiritual power, you can transform even a totally degraded individual into a saint. Otherwise, if this individual cannot be transformed, the intensity of your spiritual power, Shakthi, will simply kill him.

  3. you have no right whatsoever to comment on any guru’s capabilities as they have been in the field for decades!

  4. If a politician has been in the business of looting for decades, you have no right whatsoever to comment on his capabilities as a thief? Sweetie, you don’t have the guts to send him to jail?

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