A performance to overwhelm any spectator 

April 28, 2005 

“Am I respected for my age or my dance?” asked he to the packed audience at Tagore Memorial Hall, an audience that was stunned and overwhelmed after having watched his dance performance. This was an audience for which any brilliant performer would have dreamt to perform for.  The audience consisted of veteran dance gurus, teachers and students from all parts of Gujarat and this was a performance any spectator would have longed to watch.  

In the tranquil moment, the spectator would like to answer the question asked by the performer, “We respect you for your dance, which you have been performing for more than five decades.” This Bharatanatyam dance performer was none other than Prof. C V   
Chandrasekhar from Chennai, fondly known as Baroda Chandrasekhar, who spent 16 very creative years of his life at M S University, Baroda as H O D and Prof. of Dance where he trained a number of dancers.  
Trained at Kalakshetra, Chennai, as a dancer, well versed in both Carnatic and Hindustani classical systems of music, academician and scholar of dance, recipient of many prestigious national awards and widely traveled all over the world to perform, Chandrashekhar and his group performed in Ahmedabad on the invitation by Preksha in ‘Gurudakshina’ as a tribute to another great Guru Pathagudy S Ramaswamy.  
The first and the last performance of the evening were Kreeda and Holi respectively, performed by the young dancers rigorously trained under the apt tutelage of Prof. and his wife Jaya Chandrasekhar. Kreeda makes one nostalgic about the games played during childhood and youth. In Holi, Krishna happily plays with the gopis of Vraj.  
Conceptualized, choreographed and directed by Chandrashekhar, both pieces mesmerized the audience by the perfect harmony of laya, tala, music, movements, colors and the vibrancy with which the dancers performed.  
In between these two pieces were the traditional kritis, allaripu, varnam and asthapadi performed by Chandrashekhar himself.  He performed them with charm, ease and poise as if he had been dancing eternally.  
The maturity, consistency and subtlety of nritta and abhinaya, all aesthetic principles of Indian classical dance, combined together were par excellence.  The performance of the evening reaffirms one’s faith in deep-rooted and strong traditions of stylization of principles of beauty, sublimity and spirituality for which Indian classical art is venerated all over.  
From the very next day, the scene shifted to the large central hall of L & P Hutheesing Visual Art Center, CEPT Campus, where over a hundred aspiring dance performers, students, teachers and professionals from all over Gujarat gathered to attend the workshop, “Awareness of form in Indian classical dance with special reference to Bharatanatyam,” conducted by Chandrasekhar. The workshop and lecture demonstrations were jointly organised by Gujarat State Sangeet Natak Akademi and Bijoy Shivram of Preksha from 23rd to 26th March.  
While clearing many misconceptions and emphasizing on the in-depth study of the idiom, guru Chandrasekhar advised, “Preserve the tradition and have faith in your hard work.  Please do not spoil it in the name of doing something new and do not dilute the concretized principles of classical dance on the name of popularizing it.  It is very divine, spiritual and pure.”