World Famous Classical Indian Danseuse to perform at Bryn Mawr College

by Anwesha Dutta and Subha Narayanan for the Dance Journal

Priyadarsini Govind,  the pre-eminent exponent of Bharathanatyam, the South Indian classical dance form,  is expected to storm the Philadelphia cultural scene,  later this month, with a performance at Bryn Mawr College on April 28, 2012 The program, entitled “Pranaamyam – A Salutation to Poetry and Dance”, is presented by Sruti, the Philadelphia based Indian music and dance society.

Ms Govind, celebrates the vibrant and rich traditions of Indian literature and mythology with a presentation of well-known themes invigorated by original choreography and supported by a world class live orchestra from India. The Bryn Mawr program will start with a verse from a 15th century anthology of Tamil religious songs dedicated to Lord Muruga (God of War is shown as beauty personified) which has been choreographed as an invocatory item.

This will be followed by the central piece Varnam “Amba Kamakshi” bringing out utmost devotion or Bhakti for the “Devi-Goddess” – the divine feminine power. Varnam literally means color and this is the most intricate piece that shows the dancer’s ability to bringing out deep emotions, multifaceted literature with complex rhythmical sequences. Priyadarsini is a connoisseur and one of the most celebrated artist for mastery in making the audience speechless for elaborate pieces such as these.

Priyadarsini will also portray a verse from one of India’s epic stories “Ramayana”, a scene that depicts the sequences that lead to the hero Lord Rama’s wife Sita entering the fire when her chastity is questioned.  The next two items centre on Hinduism’s favorite religious and mythological icon –  Lord Krishna.  Ms Govind  will close the recital with Thillana (a complex finale piece of vibrant rhythmic patterns) and a mangalam (the traditional finale combining a blessing, a bow to the audience and peace prayer for the universe).

The live orchestral support for the program will be provided by:
Gomathynayakam Ratnam (Vocal support)
K.S. Balakrishnan (Nattuvangam – Conductor)
Deepu Nair (Violinist);
Vedakrishnan (Mridangam – Percussion) and
Murugan (Lighting)

A graduate in commerce from the University of Madras, Chennai, Ms Govind also holds a diploma in Mass Communication, but Bharatanatyam has been her first love ever since she was six years old. “Dance is such a complete line with visuals, poetry, drama, music…you use your whole body to communicate all of this” says Priyadarsini Govind.

Ms Govind had her initial training in classical dance from Chennai-based dance guru – Mrs Usha Raghavan.  She also specialized from the age of nine, in “Abhinaya” – dramatic expression – under the tutelage of dance theory doyenne – the much awarded Mrs Kalanidhi Narayanan – also of Chennai. Ms Govind received advanced training in Bharatanatyam under Guru Swamimalai K. Rajaratnam, leading exponent and teacher of the Vazhvoor School of Bharathanatyam. Ms Govind has been giving solo recitals from the age of sixteen, and has performed under the aegis of many cultural societies and associations in India and overseas.

Selected to dance at the prestigious Festival of India in Paris, in 1985 at the age of 20, Ms Govind has had several occasions after that honor, to showcase her talent:  the Swarna Samaroh, celebrating 50 years of Indian Independence organized by the Sangeet Natak Academy, the Khajuraho Dance Festival, and many other award winning performances.  In the year 2000, she was awarded the Yuva Kala Bharathi, an award for talented young people presented by the Bharat Kalachar organization She was awarded the “Kalimamani” honor by the Government of Tamil Nadu in 1998, an award given for artistic excellence.

Priyadarsini has performed extensively in Europe, the US, Tunisia, South Africa and even Afghanistan. She also performed under the ICCR banner and on invitation by the French Government at the Parc de Villette Festival in Paris.

The program at Bryn Mawr college begins at 8m on April 28, 2012.  Tickets are priced at $30, $25 and $20 with a $10 discount for seniors and students.  All seats are reserved and tickets can be bought online at


  1. Yes – this is the Swarajathi composed by Shyama Shastri. Although a composition used primarily in music concerts, this has been choreographed by Priyadarsini Govind in the dance varnam format complete with rhythmical sequences.

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