Dancers are the messengers of the gods. - Martha Graham
Natyalaya 40th Anniversary Alumni Reunion: A Student Perspective – Shragvi Balaji

Natyalaya 40th Anniversary Alumni Reunion: A Student Perspective – Shragvi Balaji

Natyalaya School of Dance has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. From attending the many Natyalaya arangetrams that my father accompanied for on the mridangam, to beginning classes at Natyalaya at the age of 8, to performing in front of hundreds of people during my arangetram in 2017, I have had the fortune of experiencing a plethora of unforgettable experiences and milestones at Natyalaya.

The skill with which Srimathi Vinitha Subramanian — who was not only the founder of this school but also my guru — balanced encouragement of my passion with necessary critique of technical aspects in such an effortlessly impressive manner is something that has always left me in awe. Even on days that were difficult, when I would come into class tired and unsure of myself, Vinitha aunty would make sure to cheer me up so that by the end of the class, nothing could take away my smile and confidence. She skillfully navigated the complex task of teaching such an ancient temple art, maintaining tradition while encouraging innovation at the same time through the variety of Natyalaya productions I had the opportunity to be involved in throughout the years.

Today, I continue Bharatanatyam though involvement in dance camps, teaching pieces at the Natyalaya studio, and performing at competitions with my university dance team, because this art has simply become an inherent part of my identity — and I must express my immense gratitude to Natyalaya School of Dance, and especially to Smt Vinitha Subramanian, for without her, I would not be where I am today in my dance journey. With this, I am honored and proud to be a part of Natyalaya’s 40th anniversary celebrations this year.