Bala Devi Chandrashekar: A chip off the old block 
- Jaya Subramanian, Ottawa 

January 22, 2009 
At a time when the whole city of Chennai is full of innumerable artistic activities, it is hard to get a slot to perform, talk or find an audience to appreciate what you are doing,   Bala Devi Chandrashekar, all the way from New Jersey not only found an evening for her lecture demonstration on Marga-Desi in dance but pulled an appreciative house full of connoisseurs.  This interesting event took place in the prestigious and serene Tatvaloka auditorium in Teynampet on December 16, 2008. 

A proud product of Padma Subrahmanyam's tutelage, Bala Devi graciously mentioned her illustrious guru's name several times.  Gifted with a tall and slender figure, the typical movements appropriately called Bharata Nrittam, created by her guru were most elegant to watch and added a special twist to the beautiful bends and curves. 

Bala Devi's faultless Powerpoint presentation on the topic displayed thorough research on the subject.  To a number of people in the audience, not overly familiar technical and academic details, that ancient text Natya Shastra was also called Natya Veda or the fifth Veda came as an eye opener.  Another detail was that the Natya Shastra was intended for all varnas that is for all people, speaking all kinds of languages and was not the property of the practitioners; indeed it is a universal text and what we now know are through elaborate commentaries on it by Abhinava Gupta, Kohala and other interpreters. Bala also pointed out and demonstrated the key and defining movements of all the classical dance schools, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Kathakali and Odissi explaining the various bhangis and mandalas.  

The performance was super.  I loved Jatayu Moksham and the folk tune for "Brahmam okate."  Very good invention to depict joyous abandon and total bhakti.