A great fan of television from an early age, I was particularly drawn to a series of programmes called “NUPUR” which were crafted by yester year Bollywood actress-dancer Hemamalini. The series were based on classical Indian dance and they ignited my passion for this particular style of dancing. My fascination was further enhanced by marvellous screen and stage performances of contemporary Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit. In the loneliness of my house, I would imitate the professional dancers, imagining myself a great performer – sometimes in front of the mirror!
I asked my parents if they would find me a teacher. They agreed and their search for a guru ended with Ms Anandi, a disciple of Mrilanini Sarabhai, who had an institution for classical dance in Ahmedabad. Anandi was an exponent of Bharathanattyam, and true believer of giving everything to her students. I was fortunate to study under her from the early age of 7 years. Sadly, the practicalities of life interfered in this fruitful relationship and for economic reasons Ms Anandi had to discontinue the classes and I was filled with dismay. Again a search for a guru was undertaken and culminated with the engagement of Mukesh Joshi, a disciple of Kumidini Lakhia, a renowned exponent of Kathak dance. Kathak is a classical form of dance mainly practised in the northern part of India. I was fortunate to learn basics of Kathak from Mukesh Joshi and our Guru-Shiya relation went on for more than five years. I then took the decision to pursue classical Indian dance as my professional carrer and persuaded my parents to move back to Kerala, where I was born. I joined Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit for BA Dance (Mohiniyattam), and inter-disciplinary subject linked to Theatre. Here my interactions with many well-known dancers and theatre personalities helped further my interest and love for the subject and Mr Ramesh Varma (HOD, Theatre) especially, harnessed my personality to the expertise within Theatre.
My ardent desire to improve led me to postgraduate studies at Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University, Chruthuruthy, Thrissur, an institution devoted to furtherance of classical dances of Kerala, and prof Kalamandalam Leelamma, my Guru, who trained me further in Mohiniyattam. A strict teacher, a devoted dancer, she took me under her wing and gave me time and space to learn and practise the techniques of Mohiniyattam. Her strict discipline to conform to the techniques and the theatre training of Ramesh Varma helped to fulfil my dream of becoming a classical dancer of the highest standard. It is with gratitude that I received the acclaim of being a “Dancer with Spark” from Shijith Krishna (a renowned Classical Dancer).
My pursuit of excellence then took me to Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts, Trichy, Tamil Nadu (east-southern state of India) to study Bharathanattyam as part of Performing Arts Programme. The highly disciplined training and devoted teachers taught me advanced techniques and so by 2013 I had obtained two professional post graduate degrees in the classical dances of Mohiniyattam and Bharathanattyam.
I have been fortunate to persorm on many stages in India and abroad (Australia and Singapore) for the last 15 years, noted among them is Thanchavoor Amma Veedu, the palace of Maharajah Swathi Thirunal and Koothamabalam of Kerala Kalamandalam.
Mohiniyattam being temple art form, I have also performed at many famous temples of Kerala, worthy of special mention are Guruvayur Melpathoor Auditorium and Sree Vadakkunathan Temple.