Navia Natarajan at World Dance Alliance Festival 
- Dr. AV Sathyanarayana, Bangalore 

January 21, 2010 

If Kashi is a pilgrimage center for Hindus, India is the Kashi for Indian classical dancers from overseas. World Dance Alliance Karnataka Chapter presented its 2nd International Dance Festival at Bangalore. Navia Natarajan from the US, performed on January 7.  The very name Navia denotes new.  In every performance of hers, we can find something new in her presentation without diluting the essence of grammar of classical dance.  
The opening number presented by her was Pushpanjali in Ragam Bhairavi, thalam Roopak and followed by a sthuti in praise of Goddess Saraswathi, a composition of Debur Srivatsa. She performed a Varnam composed by Papanasam Sivan set to Raga Nattukurinji and tala Adi, in praise of the cosmic dancer Lord Nataraja. Here, the dancer, who is an ardent devotee of Lord Nataraja. says "Swami naan undhan adimai." The dancer elaborated on how the devotee is protected by Lord Nataraja and how with time and age, the feelings for the Lord ripens. Her expressions while waiting for Lord Nataraja was full of humble submission and dedication. The dancer depicted how one can attain sat chit ananda stita pragnaa when the dancer experiences the presence of god. Her presentation of Shiva as a dancer, as Gangadhara with broad shoulders and long hair was lucid.  The constant chanting of the name of Lord Shiva is more meaningful and the essence of life.   

The Padam was in ragam Junjuti and eka thalam, a composition of Oothukadu Venkatasubbaiyer about "Vishamakara Kannan," a mischievous Krishna. The act of escaping with milk and butter and needling of Gopis was natural. All the dances presented by her are choreographed by herself.  Navia is an example for dancers that one should be very careful about maintaining one's physical fitness. 

Dr. AV Sathyanarayana is a dance therapist.