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Punarnava - Resurrection through Naatyam
- Suganda Sreenath Iyer

May 22, 2020

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
- C S Lewis

COVID-19 may have physically locked us down, but the mind has never been freer. The last few weeks witnessed several artistes showcasing their talent on Social Media platforms like Instagram and FACEBOOK, challenging themselves and trying to raise money for fellow artists. With a flood of naatyam, I was looking for something that will grab me, engage me and stimulate my mind. This series gave me that and more.

Natyarambha presents Punarnava
The Punarnava series at Natyarambha FACEBOOK page had an excellent line up of artists who spoke of persistence, perseverance through pain and dealing with every curve ball that were pitched their way. Presented on FACEBOOK Live, it was an excellent way to watch as we learn and imbibe, appreciate and find courage within us.

Four accomplished artistes showed us through their life experiences how to look adversity in the eye and overcome it. What stood out was their selfless dedication to art and their enthusiasm to challenge themselves.

May 14, 2020 - Dr. Sonal Mansingh

Punarnava series began with the doyen Dr. Sonal Mansingh, a cultural icon of India, who took us through her life journey of highs and lows, and how Naatyam was her constant companion. She showed us the courage of conviction, to face the storm when she told her family that all she wanted to do was dance. She found the resolve to stand strong though she was ostracized by the society for her private life and had the audacity of opposing the then sitting Government. Dr. Sonal taught us never to give up, for if you give up on yourself, you give up fortitude, conviction, values, aim in life, compromise, and begin to wither. Our takeaway from her was the analogy, "Our Art is for others, just like the bee that makes honey not for itself but for others." Respect.

May 15, 2020 - Ramaa Bharadvaj

Listening to Ramaa Bharadvaj, the story teller, we all became little kids as she regaled us about the stories of her life. She taught us to live in the "now" by controlling the mind and through her stories she told us how she herself was "shaped by the now". We learnt to have faith in ourselves and faith in something beyond, by learning to find oneself, to go beyond labels, learn to contribute and be part of a larger community, thus tapping into your own strengths. Our takeaway was, "no effort or learning goes waste, and don't try to script the story of your life but script the reaction to what life offers you." Simply superb.

May 16, 2020 - Dr. Anita Ratnam

We met the diva, Dr. Anita Ratnam, dancer, artist, television anchor, producer, a modernist, who took us through various upheaval as she journeyed as an artist and surged through her multiple avatars with a ferocity of commitment. She taught us to show every emotion because every rasa needs to have its place, including anger, and channelize the force, face the storm. A pioneer, she had started when the arts world in India kept the information close to their heart. Her catch phrase "barefoot and solo" taught us to be brave and never fear to venture into
uncharted territory. Trailblazer.

May 17, 2020 - Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant

Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant lives her life with the philosophy to look at challenge in the eye. When the challenge overwhelms you, pull back and look at it through the prism of your blessings. She showed us to manage two careers so that a young artiste could secure his/ her pension to nurture his/ her passion. Her courageous walk through breast cancer at the peak of her career, made us understand to take life as it comes and never look back. She encourages the younger generation to "expand to your best human potential by nurturing, nourishing and cherishing not just one passion but all those unique talents that you are capable of". The message that resonates from this talk is, "your choices should help you learn, rework, imagine and recreate". Powerful.

Powerful artistes, philosophers, inspirational human beings who walk the talk, helped us restart our engines, relearn, refresh, rejuvenate and resurge for the next 100 years.

Suganda Sreenath Iyer, Director of Jayendra Kalakendra in San Jose, CA, is committed to imparting in its students a complete understanding over Bharatanatyam including Dance Theory, Composition and Choreography.

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