Mudras and moments

By Our Reporter
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Sridevi Gopinath has taken her love for bharatanatyam across continents

Sridevi Gopinath took her first steps in dance at the Shri Bharathakala Ashram under the guidance of gurus K Gopinathan and Sunitha Gopinathan—senior disciples of Padmabhushan Prof C V Chandrasekhar and Jaya Chandrasekhar. At the age of 15, Sridevi completed her arangetram and eventually chose bharatanatyam as her profession, completing her Master’s in Fine Arts specialising in bharatanatyam from Bharathidasan University, India under the guidance of Dr Maria Stella.

Sridevi started assisting her guru at Shri Bharathakala Ashram, Chennai, and continued there for seven years, until she moved to Australia.

Today, Sridevi is among the more sought after bharatanatyam teachers in Melbourne, and has been running a dance school “Shri Nrithyakala Ashram”. The versatile choreographer has been conducting classes at various locations in Victoria (Epping, Craigieburn, Croydon, Point Cook) for the last few years, and teaches bharatanatyam in its purest form sticking to the Kalakshetra style with utmost dedication.

On 26 May at Darebin arts and Entertainment Centre, Preston the school celebrated its annual concert this year—Pradarshana—an event that allowed Sridevi and her disciples, a group of passionate artists an opportunity to showcase their humble efforts dedicated towards the beautiful Indian classical dance form.

“Learning bharatanatyam is more than just learning how to dance, it’s about our rich culture, tradition, history. We also focus on being disciplined and respectful. I strongly believe that students can stay focused by involving in such art forms,” says Sridevi, who has also trained in Mohiniyattam from the dance school Dasyam under the guidance of Gopika Varma and performed in her famous production “Radhey Evidey” at various stages. She is an active member of ABHAI (Association for Bharatanatyam Artists of India).

At the event, Sridevi performed for Poornathreysan Varnam, which she choreographed whereas the other items were presented by her students. Sridevi also presented an innovative experiment by recomposing a traditional “Sopana Sangeetham” in bharatanatyam, which was greatly appreciated by the spectators.

Rachana Amar was the host for the evening. This year was even more vibrant with live music by Melbourne’s greatest artists. She was supported by Vijaya Peters and Madhuri Vasa on the vocals, Balasri Rasiah of Chandrabanu’s Bharatalaya Academy on the mridangam and Sughosh Sitaram on the violin. Sridevi was on nattuvangam supported by Govind Pillai for varnam.

The program also showcased a mind-blowing guest performance by Lekshmi Sareth, a Mohiniattam artist from Melbourne. The chief guest for the evening was Tara Rajkumar (OAM), who has taken the classical Indian dance forms of Mohiniattam and Kathakali and contemporary productions to many parts of the world. She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2009 for her services to performing arts as a teacher, choreographer and performer of classical Indian dance.

Certificates and medals to students were distributed by the chief guest and Mr. Parvez Aqtharulla, Bodyshop Manager, Preston Toyota.

Cr Tom Joseph, City of Whittlesea, welcomed the sponsors for the event (The Preston Toyota, Quality Groceries Café, School of Flying Fish, Ritzy and The Indian Sun).


For classes please contact 0403846819 or email devisri775@gmail.com. Photo courtesy: AB Fotoworks (Anandh Bala)

 

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