As a teenager, I watched Priyadarsini Govind dance for the first time, at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. in the 90's. I thought a sculpture had truly come to life! I tried to find some flaw, but she was simply perfect from every angle. Back then, it was her pure dance movements that impressed me the most- the stretch of those long arms, the aramandi, the rhythms, the dramatic poses....all the aspects of dance that impress teenagers. Over the years, I watched her again and again, as I did many of the others I admired - Leela Samson, Malavika Sarukkai, Alarmel Valli, Swapnasundari, Pandit Birju Maharaj - and I found my perspective changing - the nritta pieces were not so exciting to me anymore. Over the years I started noticing how much they could say with the smallest of movements - turn of their head or a raise of their eyebrow or a slight glance. It was the abhinaya I most looked forward to seeing.
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