When I dance in front of an audience I feel like that I am dancing with them and them with me.
Bharatanatyam cast a mesmerizing spell on Lakshmi Sriraman at the young age of seven.
Though her initial training started at an early age, higher studies and a successful management consultant career kept her from pursuing dance full time. However, repeated encounters with the art form kept tugging at her. After the birth of her son, Lakshmi immersed herself in intensive training and soon after began performing Bharatanatyam.
Initially Lakshmi studied with several different teachers, but her formal training began with Guru Sujatha Ramalingam. Following a long break from dance, she completed her arangetram (debut solo recital) under the guidance of Guru Padmaja Kelam. She is currently mentored by the eminent artist, Guru Priyadarsini Govind.
The young girl who started studying 'thaiya thai', the rhythmic tapping of alternating feet in a half seated position, never thought that she would one day be performing Bharatanatyam as her chosen career. She learned only because she couldn't stop dancing.
Over the years, Lakshmi's relationship with dance has developed into a wonder-filled, awe-inspiring, sacred connection. This did not happen overnight. She has been an active spiritual seeker/activist for the past 20 years. As she met spiritual teachers and learned more and more about the interconnectedness of this vast Universe, her approach to and relationship with dance also changed. Just as it was important for Lakshmi to condition her body through yoga and Pilates, it also became essential to nurture her mind-spirit connection and let it bloom through her spiritual practices.
Central to every work that Lakshmi creates are the questions: How is this work relevant today? What is my vision for this project and the desired impact of this work? What impression do I want my audience to take away from this work?
While lithesome grace, clear lines, and crisp footwork mark the physical attributes of her performance, intense emotions and passion fill the narrative of the dances she presents. She has brought an ancient style to the new world and a new style to an ancient expression of historic story telling through dance.
Lakshmi takes the absolute precision of the sacred movements in Bharatanatyam to weave stories that have touched audiences around the world. One of the hallmarks of Lakshmi's art is the unique choice of the stories she interprets. She translates the ancient and new stories into easily accessible experiences for all. Her dance is thus appealing to both the connoisseur and the uninitiated alike.
Lakshmi practices Bharatanatyam as a sacred art that transcends the everyday and at the same time is rooted in the realm of the everyday.
Apart from performing, she also runs a dance school, Shree School of Dance, guiding her students through their dance journey. Her approach to dance, whether it be in a performance setting, workshops, or regular classes, has been to facilitate the process of realizing one's true potential and unearthing the divine through movement. Whether it is in perfecting technique, understanding the characters portrayed, or exploring the nuances of poetry, Lakshmi always holds the journeys, both within and without, as sacred.
In 2010 Lakshmi was the recipient of the Art Meets Activism grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to create "And She Said . . . ," a dance-theater work based on Tamil women's poetry on love and war. Lakshmi has also been selected for artistic excellence to participate in the Performing Arts Directory, a program of the Kentucky Arts Council. Lakshmi's performance and interview are part of Kentucky Education Television's (KET) "Dance Toolkit for Middle Schools."
Lakshmi has conceived and created several bodies of new work, individual performances, group creations, and original productions. Here are a few of her more recent original productions.