'Dance is a very personal thing'

'Dance is a very personal thing'

Attending a classical dance performance is on the decline - so say disinterested youngsters and lamenting oldies, but those who live away from the country find their roots in this artform. Born to a dancer, Mythili Prakash witnessed an atmosphere of music and dance in her growing up years in the United States.

“I do not remember when and how I got attracted to classical dance,” says Mythili who has completed her bachelors degree in Mass Communication but is recognised as one of the world’s leading young exponents of Bharatanatyam today. “My mother, Viji Prakash was performing before I was born and after I was born, she continued to perform across the world. I got to experience musicians coming at home, which was exhilarating and I fell in love with dance due to the possibilities that classical dance provides.”

She thus started training under her mother and then was spotted by exponent Malavika Sarukkai. “Malavikaji was the one who asked me if I would like to train under her and I obviously said ‘Yes’. Her approach to dance is very intense and I have always been drawn to that.”

Consequently she shifted to India and the Indian origin-American national became one of the youngest ambassadors of Bharatanatyam. “It was a daunting situation for me to decide to shift here but after coming here, I felt at home.”

Refusing to consider herself a harbinger of the classical art, Mythili says, “Dance is a very personal thing. It is so universal and accessible. It is about spirituality which everyone is looking for. It tells a colourful story and appeals to everybody at a personal and emotional level.”

Her classical, yet inventive approach to Bharatanatyam revitalises the physicality, musicality and theatricality of the form. She feels that, “it is important to communicate classical dance with a certain explanation. Ofcourse, an artiste need to trust the imagination of the audience but they have to be directed by the dancer in order to find composition relevant.” Exactly what she attempted during the Divinity Series in the City recently, and received accolades from everyone present.

Adept in creating an exceptional style that is distinct and meaningful, Mythili is glad that her mentor doesn’t require her to alter it. “She doesn’t touch my choreography – instead I look to her for fine-tuning my thought process. This is absolutely necessary for every dance as each individual has their own style and thinking and a mentor must recognise a student’s strength and weakness.”

Apart from her passion for dance and liking for Carnatic music (which is a must for Bharatanatyam), this dancer loves to watch films, “but not Bollywood.” So she is dedicated to her art form because, “Dance is not like a job but it is on your mind all the time.”

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