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A memorable trip to Sri Lanka
- Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala

March 18, 2020

I had always wanted to visit Sri Lanka. This year, I was fortunate to be invited to Jaffna University to do a workshop and to perform at the Colombo Natyanjali Festival 2020. At the workshop, I was overjoyed to see so many young aspiring dancers. I was so touched because every student had thirst to learn the values of the arts. Several of these students have come out of the trauma of war. I was saddened by listening to many of their personal struggles, those who lost their homes, parents, relatives and friends. How they had struggled on a daily ration of one idli for sustenance and how they studied by the lamplight of a single wick was heart wrenching. Now, dance and the arts are helping them to overcome the agony of the past. When I was encouraged by the teachers to strike conversations with the students, they shed their reservations and many of them opened up and came forward to share their sad experiences. It seemed they saw in me a mother figure.

I was very impressed to see all participants clad in typical Bharatanatyam practice saris over pyjamas, bindis on their forehead and neatly combed hair in plaits - perhaps more disciplined and traditional than what we sometimes see back home! It made me happy to see the glow and smile on their faces. Dance is truly a healer. I congratulate Jaffna University's management and staff for supporting their students' keenness to expand their artistic horizons by giving them an affordable holistic experience in the art forms. After finishing their education, some plan to become teachers. Their stress is more on teaching as a profession than performing. I wish all these students the very best for their future endeavors and pray for their wellbeing and empowerment. I am blessed to be an artiste and would love to go back and teach them again.


Performing for Maha Shivratri

Every dancer would like to perform on the auspicious evening of Maha Shivratri. I performed at the beautiful and powerful Sri Kailasanatha Swami temple in Colombo. There are no bigwigs, big names, sabhas or corporate behind this festival. I was inspired to see the young, dynamic men and women, many of who are now placed in good jobs, have formed a team to organize this festival. For the past eight years, the festival is successfully celebrated with many international artistes. This young team with great love and generosity plan the event with hospitality, logistics, stage, lights and wide publicity. I was overwhelmed to see more than 300 dancers participating in this festival.

Bharatanatyam dancer Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala is the artistic director of Kala Pradarshini in Chennai.

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