In performing arts, like in the Bharatanatyam, it is an unwritten law, rather a tacit underscoring, that a dance artiste is more perfect, if performing skill is augmented by a grooming in music. This especially in matters of abhinaya, when facial moods are etched on the sahitya (lyric) of the musical content.

In traditional Bharatanatyam, particularly, the Varnams and Padams deploy a lot of emotions. It is an added advantage to co-relate nritta and nritya with grace and pyrotechnics. An attempt of course to rejuvenate freshness in dance moments.

Mumbai-based dance Guru Rajee Narayan is one such rare blend. A Bharatanatyam performer in her hey-days with self-learnt musical intuitions in display. Rajee learnt through riyaz, even sang in musical evenings in her earlier Chennai days. A choreographer with rare insight for newer themes, she learnt under Guru K Lalitha. With sister Neela and a group of dance enthusiasts in the 50s, Rajee prepared herself for a sustained campaign to perform Bharatanatyam with zeal, even when dance was considered lowly for respectable Brahmin girls. It was done in association with lawyer-turned-dancer (late) E Krishna Iyer. Legendary artistes like Balasaraswathy and Rukmini Devi Arundale were prime motivators.

Rajee in her own humble style later established herself in Mumbai, teaching hundreds under Nritya Geethanjali. Rajee's themes have veered to variant topics, from tradition-filled to trend-setting. She is the only lady 'vaggeyakara' (music composer) so far in the field. She is the recipient of the 'Lifetime Achievement' award from the Maharashtra Government in dance.

Bachu Vishwanath
March 29, 2004. Bombay Times - Kulchur Zone