STUDENTS

JANANI SWAMY


jananiswami@gmail.com

My life's journey with Rajee Aunty and Nritya Geethanjali started in 1981, during one of my family's summer trips to Mumbai from Canada, where my parents have settled since 1969. Nowadays, there is a rich abundance of Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam in the Indian diaspora, whereby some NRI dancers have even risen to the top of the field. However, 34 years ago, serious pursuit of these arts could happen only in India. And so in 1981 began my annual pilgrimages to Mumbai, for days filled with dance, under Aunty's loving but uncompromising guidance. My desire to learn was almost frantic - with every piece I learnt, I somehow felt even farther away from imbibing even a tiny fraction of what she had to offer ! She taught me with absolute involvement and unfettered generosity - driving me to accomplish much beyond my limitations.

We are blessed to have been nurtured by a guru of such consummate genius in music and dance. Having worked extensively with the Bharatanatyam community in Boston for over 15 years, I have been enriched by interactions with different schools, gurus and banis of Bharatanatyam. I can proudly state that our guru is held in universal esteem and that each experience strengthens my conviction in the rigour and depth of the Rajee bani.

Many have been the blessings in my life, since those wonderful summer days. However, even today, as a mother of adolescent daughters, dance makes my soul soar, connecting me with Divinity. Aunty and Dance have been a constant thread, weaving together the years and experiences of my life. While my trips to India have become fewer and shorter over the years, in her presence, I, once again, become that young girl, yearning to soak up every drop of learning, at my beloved Guru's feet. This great gift that Aunty gave me is now something I share with my daughters, who are of the age I was, when I came under Aunty’s tutelage. Through my children, with their every step and movement, I rediscover pattern and movement, music and bhava, with sheer joy and wonder. My dear Aunty, you have been such a force in my life - much, much beyond dance itself. On this occasion, I offer you Arpana of self and soul - so profound has been your impact on me.

Having had such a great start, I have since explored dance therapy, aerobic dancing and now... Mind and Body Alignment, inter alia, through dance movements.