Chennai-born Swapnasundari is a leading bharatanatyam dancer and choreographer. Renowned for physical eloquence and deft improvisational skill, she explores poetic and divine themes with a playful touch and also possesses superb skills as a vocalist. Her style draws from the Vilasini Natyam courtesan repertoire of the Telugu devadasis, focusing on graceful limb movements and detailed facial expressions.
She is also a leading exponent of kuchipudi, a dance-drama tradition from Andhra Pradesh, having authored several books on it and founded the Kuchipudi Dance Centre in Delhi. Seemingly tireless in her pursuit of new choreographic knowledge, she describes her inner drive: “I am hungry for learning. I feel a latent urge to explore the unfamiliar. I am excited by whatever I pursue at any point of time and like to test my potential for meeting the challenge offered by each new idiom”.
Today Swapnasundari sings, teaches, and writes, as well as dancing around the world. She is eager to examine her art forms as ‘impure’ traditions, saying that “every so-called ‘authentic’ tradition that we see today is the product of reinvention and recasting by succeeding generations of exponents”.
"Whenever I have sensed stagnation in the external environment, I have sought to build an artistically rich inner world. I frequently evaluate my relationship with the external world and my internal world and I try to achieve a balance, in order to maintain harmony with both these worlds. This is a difficult exercise but necessary for a meaningful life."
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