Gayatri Reddy – My experience and my teacher:
For as long as I can remember I have always been intrigued by Indian culture and dance. I remember I would find myself practicing a routine or try to make a different expression in front of the mirror. Not only was I interested in the hand or the eye movements but also the costume and jewelry. I begin my journey of performing at the age of 6. However, my training started when I moved to south India when I was ten. I trained under Gurū smt. Shankuntalā Prabhāt for two years. I enjoyed the Kalākshetra style and learning from her but due to the long-distance, my family and I decided it was best we find another teacher.
I started training with Gurū Vid. Vanishree Chinnadupparige in 2012 in the Vazhavoor style. I started with the ten basic adavus and as my training got more rigorous, I started learning more complicated Jathis and later abhinaya dance pieces. In 2015, I completed my Junior Bharatanātyam Examination that is conducted every year by the Karnataka Secondary Education Examination with distinction. I started performing solo in school events and in many of them I choreographed the routines on my own.
When my family and I moved to California in 2017, it proved difficult to continue taking classes from her. However, with my teacher’s encouragement, my training progressed. I started learning the Varnam and Javāli. My stamina increased and my expression improved. With more training, I started practicing yoga which helped calm my mind and strengthen my body. With time I learned that these two go hand in hand. Once I understood this, my confidence on stage also improved. In summer 2019, my Gurū decided that I would visit India to complete my Rangapraveshā.
With the completion of Rangapraveshā, the student is ready to start his/her own dance school. With my experience in performing and years of training, I look forward to being an encouraging teacher to anyone who decides to learn bharatanātyam.