Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Generation Next

Lavanya Ananth

(Reproduced from Sruti 277, October 2007)

She earned a degree in Electronics and Instrumentation, worked for a year, but decided to give it up because her heart was in Bharatanatyam, not engineering. Thirty three year-old Lavanya Ananth has moved slowly but steadily onto centrestage in her chosen field, with Kartik Fine Arts deciding to confer the title of Nadanamamani on her this ‘Season’.

Lavanya is fortunate to have learnt her art from two doyens of the Vazhuvoor style of Bharatanatyam. Guru S.K. Rajaratnam Pillai put her through her paces when she was barely four, conducted Lavanya’s arangetram when she was 15, and laid a strong foundation in the ten years that she was his student. Guru K.J. Sarasa further polished the dance and fanned the ardour of the teenager into a growing passion for Bharatanatyam. From abhinaya guru Kalanidhi Narayanan, Lavanya learnt to analyse the characters and abhinaya sanchari-s in a song. She has formal training in Carnatic music, nattuvangam and dance theory.

Marriage and her first child meant a short break in her performance career, after which Lavanya returned to the stage with renewed vigour. In January 2004, she set up her own dance school, Natya Sameekshana, in Chennai.

A good araimandi stance, neat and precise nritta, sprightly teermanam-s, stately poses, subtle abhinaya, overall poise and grace, and an eye for aesthetics are the hallmarks of Lavanya’s dance. “Fleet-footed, slim and gifted with a pleasing countenance,” wrote Subbudu in The Statesman. In his reviews in The Indian Express, the late T.S. Parthasarathy made positive comments on her cherubic countenance, gleaming eyes, impeccable footwork, and the growing maturity and polish of her performances. He described her as one of the gifted students of Sarasalaya.

Lavanya has made a mark not only in solo presentation of the Bharatanatyam margam, but in choreographing and dancing thematic solo, duo and group presentations as well. Some of the thematic presentations in which she has participated include Siva Stuti, Sri Rama Bhakti Sudha, Swati Smriti, Sakuntalam, Bala Kandam – Ramayana Bharatham, and Bhaarata Samudayam Vaazhgave.

Lavanya has many prizes and titles in her kitty — the TSP Award in the Spirit of Youth Dance Festival (Music Academy, Chennai), the Swati Kiranam title (Malayalee Club), endowment awards from the Indian Fine Arts Society, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Natyarangam / Narada Gana Sabha, and the Yuva Kala Bharati title (Bharat Kalachar). She is the recipient of a two-year scholarship from the Department of Culture, Government of India. She has travelled abroad as part of the Tourism Department’s cultural troupe to Japan, and as a member of archaeologist Dr. R. Nagaswamy’s dance troupe which toured many countries. She has performed and given lecdems in the U.S.A., Canada and England. She is a member of the Jana Bharatham group formed under the aegis of Natyarangam (Chennai), which takes dance to varied venues like schools, old age homes, and villages.

This empanelled artist of ICCR is an A-grade artist of Doordarshan and has been featured in the National Programme of Dance. She has appeared on Sun TV and Jaya TV as well. Lavanya has been featured in two dance DVDs : Natya Madhuri and vidwan Madurai N. Krishnan’s Tillana-s.

Driven as she is by the desire to learn, improve and evolve, this talented and hard working dancer should be able to go places in the years to come.

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