Priyadarsini Govind

Priyadarsini Govind, the 49-year old Bharatanatyam dancer based in Chennai, has gained from two major influences: Kalanidhi Narayanan, who introduced the expressional aspects of Bharatanatyam to her in her own inimitable style, and Swamimalai K. Rajaratnam, “a dreamer”, whose classes had an other-wordliness about them quite unrelated to the workaday realities of professional dance. He was a musician before he was a dancer, with the resultant aesthetics a special amalgam. She particularly cherishes the memory of the invocation Jaya Suddhapurivasa he sang before every performance. “It took on a special character when he sang,” she recalls. A reluctant dance pupil as a nine-year old with competing interests, she was often overcome by self-pity and attended SKR’s classes tearfully, but without attracting so much as a raised eyebrow from her guru.