Interview with Preeti Vasudevan by Shahlo Khonkeldieva

Preeti Vasudevan.jpeg

Preeti Vasudevan is an Indian classical dancer in the genre of Bharatanatyam. Bharatanatyam is an ancient, and perhaps the most evolved form of Indian classical dance. Vasudevan was born in Madras in the Southern region of India. She took an interest in dancing when she was around four years old. When asked about her motivation to become a dancer, she says, “I always loved dancing and moving. I had a lot of energy, if any music came out I started dancing.” Vasudevan explains that her mother was supportive regarding her interest in dancing. She recalls how she would accompany her mother and grandmother when going out to watch dance performances.

Vasudevan took dancing classes for about five years and matured into a professional dancer who mostly delivers personal stories to her audience. She tells stories about identity because it’s a common language. The stories derive from many aspects, “I have traveled and lived in different parts of the world. And identity has become a big part of my journey. The stories reflect who I am and where I have come from.” According to Vasudevan, they use different methods to present complex dance movements in a simplified way when delivering stories. For instance, through the classical Indian dance, she creates new vocabularies of her own and uses her hands to tell stories. In addition, before the performance the audience is usually given a synopsis of their performance or a brief preview.

Just as Vasudevan is a great motivator to other choreographers, there are things that inspire her to initiate new projects too. She shares, “I always like creating a new movement. If there's a sort of a topic that moves me then I go ahead and get started with it. It’s how I am affected by my surroundings and interact with society and be impacted by them.”

When it comes to time management her productions are sometimes dependent on deadlines and other times they are not. As specified by Vasudevan, the projects are not controllable nor flexible to set a specific date. It takes about two years for each production to be completed. The completion of productions allows her to present her works around Europe, India and in the United States. After every tour the most important thing she learns and reestablishes is discipline. Vasudevan believes that being disciplined is the key to achieving a goal. “If not you won’t last in a tour”, she says. “I started touring around 14 years old. My first tour was in India. After receiving a one-year scholarship, I moved to Japan to study and teach dancing.”

  On how she achievied her status in the world of dance, “Honesty”, Vasudevan said. “It’s about being honest to yourself, to see where you are. Just be realistic about yourself. You are in a strong position when you are honest with yourself. And that’s how you grow”. When Vasudevan was asked how she felt about her achievements her response was, “There's always another mountain to try to climb to. It has been a process of building a stamina and very nice way of getting knowledge. Overall, I feel quite strong about what I have done so far. It comes from a very solid ground and there’s a lot more to do”.

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