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Balancing profession and passion

Photo: K.R. Deepak

Yamini Venkata Laxmi Saripalli

The rich cultural heritage of our country has many wondrous aspects. Fortunately some individuals have an eye for the beautiful, and their inner quest leads them to derive value from every experience.

Yamini Venkata Laxmi Saripalli, 27, was pursuing a career in medicine in the US and had little inkling that she would ever find herself evincing interest in the aesthetic world of classical dance. She was unconsciously searching for a form that suited not only her aesthetics but also her temperament and physique. It was then that she was introduced to the world of fine arts when she saw a mesmerising Kuchipudi dance performance of her guru Vempati China Satyam in 1994.

"The divinity in the perfection and discipline of my guru made a deep impact on my life. I was so fascinated by his performance that I immediately decided to learn the dance form," Yamini, who was here in India for a short stay recently, told THE HINDU Metro Plus.

Since then Yamini assiduously maintained her Kuchipudi, between academic assignments. She had her initial training under Sujatha Vinjamuri. If she gave Yamini an in-depth training in the traditional format, Vempati led her through "a path of realisation into the rich realms of the dance form".

She participated in the four-month tour her guru made to the US in 1998.

"It is marvellous that we are able to preserve and propagate such an ancient art form across the world," she said.

According to her, dance is a universal mode of communication. The non-Indians have been quite receptive to Indian art and culture. "Sadly, in India people are so overwhelmed by the Western culture that they fail to understand the beauty of the rich cultural heritage of our country."

Yamini's approach to Kuchipudi is an expression of an inward journey towards a higher goal in life. "The sense of discipline and perseverance that this dance form have instilled within me help me in my medical profession as well."

Having performed at home and abroad, she is now devoting herself to learning Carnatic music along with her regular dance practices. "I learnt from my guru that music and Sanskrit are the basis for any dance form," she recalled. This gave her ample opportunities to express herself in dance through a deep, involved technique and clarity in interpretation.

Yamini manages to strike the perfect balance between her profession and her passion with perfect ease and grace. "When I was in the medical school, I used to wake up at 4.30 a.m. for my dance practice."

Reiterating that there could be no end to learning, she said: "It's a lifetime process."

NIVEDITA GANGULY

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