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A new horizon

Dancer Apoorva Natarajan at the rehearsal

“Dance has changed the way I hold myself”. Well if you think I am quoting a dance stalwart, you are wrong. Ironically it comes from Apoorva Natarajan, a young Bharatanatyam dancer presenting her Arangetram (Debut) in Hyderabad next week.

This exuberance in personality was evident in the very first glance of her dance as she rehearsed for the big day on a quiet Sunday morning. As she practised the Natakuranji Varnam “Swami Naan Undan Adimai” sweating it out and trying hard to suppress those butterflies in the stomach, her Guru Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant pepped her up and gives her some last minute corrections. Apoorva is nervous but at ease and knows that she has to live to the occasion.

“Akka (as I address Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant) keeps reiterating that on that day its only you, so enjoy dancing to the fullest” Apoorva says on how much an Arangetram means to her and her Guru.

This debut comes after a dedicated ten year training when Apoorva started taking lessons at the age of six. A long journey where mere initiation into the art gradually turned into passion. “Though I enjoyed dance class initially, it remained as something I was just about interested in. It was only after I had an accident and a surgery that I started realizing what role dance played in life. Those days when the surgery rendered me inactive was when I developed a passion to dance and was waiting to be up on my toes”.

That makes it all the more of an achievement to come back and big and should call for a celebration of sorts for her and her family. “Oh yes, when I started learning, my mother too joined class and we took lessons together! Today at this threshold, I am rather happy that I got to this level. It is being celebrated in the family with my mother running around for arrangements and the house will be filled with relatives in a couple of days” she says.

A 12th grader from Oakridge International School, Apoorva is all set to study Economics at Vassar College in New York state. That makes me ask the inevitable question – How was it balancing academics and dance? “I continued dance through my 12th grade and never took a break. I realized that dancing was not work, it’s what I liked to do and so rather served a stress buster. For me academics and dance mutually help each other in keeping the energy and concentration high”.

And as the academics take her to the United States, she is very confident Arangretram shall only be the stepping stone. “I am going to be in a place filled with Indians and Indian activity and am sure that would open opportunities to learn dance or even teach which I am keen to take up” she says

Exploring new horizons at this juncture, Apoorva credits her personality to a well moulded stint as a dancer, aware of her space and capacities and rich in varied experiences working with different dancers across age groups at her parent institute Shankarananda Kalakshetra run by Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant.

“Arangetram is a result of a lot of hardwork, effort, time and money. If one chooses to go for it, it has to be accomplished with dedication and a strong support system of family and friends! Nevertheless given the exposure of performing these days, Arangetram no longer is the debut in its strict sense and not a necessity either. It would not be a compulsion for those who do not wish to do it”. She quips as a piece of advice to dancers who are waiting to take the plunge!

The Kalaparva wishes this dancer all the very best for the Arangertram and success in all future endeavours.

The Arangetram is on Thursday, 11th July, 2013 at Ravindra Bharathi Auditorium, Hyderabad. Starts at 6.45 PM.