Major: Mathematics (Astronomy minor)
Genre/Medium: Bharatanatyam (Indian Classical Dance)
About the work: Bharatanatyam is a 3000-year-old traditional art form from southern India. Initially, it was used to tell devotional stories from Sanskrit literature. This art originated in the dance halls of temples before spreading to courts of royalty and to stages all over the world. Bharatanatyam performers are trained in all of the following techniques: abhinaya (emotive), nritta (rhythmic), and nritya (a combination). The first of these has its roots in the operatic style of theatre, from which all classical Indian dance forms are said to originate. This piece represents a storytelling endeavor. I’ve been learning Bharatanatyam for the last sixteen years, and one of the lessons my teacher, Nita Mallya, has taught me is to never forget that all stories are based on several universal truths that connect us across continents and aeons. This inspired me to reach for a myth nearly as old as my own art form. For my first piece, I was inspired by the asteroid Psyche — the eponymous damsel-turned-deity, whose grief from being separated from her lover was enough to turn the minds of the gods.