3x3: Movement Voices for a Bharatanatyam Dancer

Viji Rao



Viji Rao. Photo by Satish Vishwanathan.

Viji Rao is a dancer trained in Bharatanatyam, a classical South Indian dance form marked by expressive hand gestures and elaborate rhythmic patterns. After 10 years in Philadelphia, spent mostly collaborating with dancers and companies from other traditions, in this project Rao worked on a series of solo works to expand her artistic roots in South Indian dance. She developed three distinctive dances based on incarnations of the Hindu goddess Devi in collaboration with three choreographers: Hari Krishnan, artistic director of INDANCE, Toronto, who specializes in experimental exploration of Bharatanatyam traditions; C.V. Chandrasekhar, one of India's most highly regarded Bharatanatyam practitioners, who creates choreography within the canon of traditional vocabulary; and Delhi's Santosh Nair, who creates contemporary work based in the generations-old martial art form of Chhau. Members of local Indian and dance communities were invited to attend a session that introduced the work of these choreographers' new approaches to classical forms.