Natyarpana Dance Presents a Unique Opportunity to See
a Bharatanatyam Master
By Debby Tewes
Kripa Baskaran of Natyarpana Dance and The Hindu Temple of Wisconsin presented a rare
opportunity to see a solo performance of one of Bharatanatyam Dance’s premier performers,
Priyadarsini Govind of Chennai, India was the guest of the temple in November for an
exquisite evening performance on Saturday, November 6, 2010. The performance was well
attended by dance connoisseurs to see this performance of an award winning dancer who
offered a glimpse into the 2000 year history of Indian dance. Ms. Govind combines classical
forms with innovative choreography as the dance reaches out to new audiences.
The essence of Bharatanatyam is the telling of a story by gesture, facial expression and
movement. Her performance focused on the abhinaya, or expressive and emotive form of the
dance. Between dances Priyadarsini explained the story to follow, drawing on the rich stories
of the Hindu mythology. Even to someone untrained in the dance and only a cursory knowledge
of the Hindu traditions, there was no question in my mind of the emotions and story being told
by this exceptional performer. In the words of the reviewer Michael Huebner of the
Birmingham News (November 13, 2010) “it was like watching a temple relief sculpture come
Ms. Govind was accompanied by musicians from India including vocalist Smt. Preethi
Mahesh, on the mrindangam Sri Shativel, on the violin Sri Sigamani and on the nattuvangam
Sri Balakrishnan. Priyadarsini graciously received guests after the performance.
Kripa Baskaran is a tireless proponent of sharing Indian culture in our community both
through guest performances and her own outreach programs to local schools.
(Above, l-r) The Baskarans with Priyadarsini