Shyamala Dharani - the Lasya in Mohiniyattom

Shyamala is the founder and managing trustee of Dharani School of Performing Arts, that was set up to impart training in Bharatha Natyam, Mohiniyattom, Veena recital and Carnatic music.

The dean of Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences University (NIMS), Prof. M.U.R. Naidu felicitated Shyamala Surendran at the NIMS campus at Hyderabad during its annual festival.

Shyamala Surendran could feel the innate urge to blend her inclinations with the poise and grace of the world around. As she traveled the world with her husband Captain Sunderan, she could feel her pulses rhyming with the gentle waves of the valorous seas. No wonder she identified her eurthymic qualities; and nothing less than learning and performing Bharatha Natyam could pacify her. Shyamala has kept her dance dormant for ten years after her marriage. At an informal function, when she performed an item for Guru Raghavan Nair, at Bombay, in 1981, he saw the talent in her and asked her to take up dance seriously. This remark and the call of dancing were so strong that Captain Surendran expressed his willingness to sail alone, leaving Shyamala to pursue her inner desire. With their only son in a residential school and her husband on the high seas, she was able to give her full time for dancing.

Shyamala Surendran had her training in dance intermittently in the school and college at Kannur under Chemencherry Kunhiraman Nair and Natyakalarathnam Srinivasan. She took up dance seriously only at the age of 34 years under Sri. C.E. Janardhanan in Kochi and later under the world-renowned dancing couple Sri. V.P. Dhananjayan and Smt. Shanta Dhananjayan of Chennai, at Cochin in 1982. She gave her Arrangetrom in the Guruvayoor Temple, in 1984 and has given several performances in Kerala. In 1986, she went over to Chennai to learn further from the Dhananjayans themselves. She learnt Abhinaya from Padma Bhushan Smt. Kalanidhi Narayanan. The detailed lessons in Abhinaya has helped Shyamala to enter with all her heart into the depth of Mohiniyattom. She is a disciple of Smt. Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma, the doyen of Mohiniyattom and her daughter Smt. Sreedevi Rajan.

Shyamala has influenced many people and has been a teacher for many others like Simone Brero who have gone onto start their own dance schools in other parts of the world. Various bollywood celebrities like Karishma Kapur have also been influenced by the various dance forms taught by Dharani school of Perfoming Arts.

Shyamala has been performing all over India and abroad and has been participating in seminars, workshops and lecture demonstrations.

The entire 'Lasya' (grace) in Mohiniyattom has captivated this graceful dancer. She is able to execute the slow and undulating movements of this dance form with ease and the Abhinaya that is predominant in this style comes to her naturally.


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