The March Book Club presented Padma Shri awardee Geeta Chandran, who is a celebrated exponent of the Indian classical dance Bharatanatyam.

The March Book Club presented Padma Shri awardee Geeta Chandran, who is a celebrated exponent of the Indian classical dance Bharatanatyam.

Geeta Chandran started her dance  training at a young age of five and learnt from eminent gurus. She is also a trained and accomplished vocalist in Carnatic music. Geeta has worked in the fields of television, video and film, theatre, choreography, dance education, dance activism and dance-issues journalism.

Some of the other awards that Geeta Chandran has received are Natya Ratna, Sringar Mani, Media India Award and Green Ambassador Award. 

Author of 'So Many Journeys', Geeta narrates her engagement with Bharatanatyam in her book. She also writes a dance column in the New Indian Express/Sunday Standard. 

Geeta spoke to us about how she grew up learning and loving dance and vocal music. A graduate in Mathematics, she gave up her job to devote all her time and energy to her passion and explore, in depth, all the diverse aspects of dance and its iconographic details. She talked briefly about various classical dances from North, North-East and South India. 

As a classical singer Geeta feels an emotional connect with the legendary M.S. Subbulakshmi and regaled the audience with a beautiful rendition of a song about giving up war and strife and adopting peace among communities, sung by the latter at a U.N. Concert in 1966.  We also got to watch a mesmerising dance performance on Shiva which was accompanied by a poem in English to explain the meanings of the positions and actions used. Geeta has researched Haveli Sangeet, Mira and Tulsidas and uses poetry in various languages to make music and dance more interesting and easily understandable to the audience.

 The author/dancer talked about changes in school curriculum to teach philosophy and techniques of music and dance in order to create an appreciation for these in the minds of the next generation. She travels and lectures on performing arts. 

Geeta also said that music and dance were like meditation. They require focus and dedication. And that was so obvious in our interaction with the supremely talented performer who we had the privilege to enjoy that morning.