Dance continues to be a path I seek at every turn of my life. To many, reconciling an ancient art form driven solely by spiritual quest seems a contradiction in a world driven by achievements and success. Every time I ascend the stage to perform I am transported to a plane where the performer, the audience, and the dance converge on a mystical realm. On this realm, time stands still and whatever was relevant several thousands of years ago, is as enthralling at the very moment. It becomes the defining experience where the performer and audience not just understand culture but become a part of it. This is the magical addiction that ensures the immortality of an art form such as Bharathanatyam.
".... she danced, the hall thundered with claps. She brought with her to the stage classical traditions of Bharatanatyam that gave relevance and meaning to the art form in its current age" says a critic from the Indian Express. "Dancing storyteller", is how the critics and audience describe Savitha, the Bharathanatyam artist who has virtually constructed a renaissance of the ancient art form. Savitha's abilities of delivering original story lines with her impeccable artistry and technique have made her a household name in the art world of Bharathanatyam. Her productions have held every viewer captive by helping them clearly understand why Bharathanatyam is one of the crown jewels of Indian Classical Dance.
As a solo dancer, Savitha is a pioneer in using the medium of Bharathanatyam to create new presentations that allow the viewer to be connected with it every step of the way. She is known for enthralling audiences with performances that embody perfection in form and expression, an intelligent fusion that comes from years of rigorous training, dedicated practice, and passion. Savitha's dance narrates stories authored by her husband and writer AK Srikanth, and this duo has struck a chord with audiences across the world in being able to convey deeply philosophical thought with striking simplicity, elan, and elegance. While this has garnered new and uninitiated audiences for Bharathanatyam and Savitha, the connoisseurs have appreciated Savitha's initiative in using the age old tradition of Bharathanatyam in a novel and compelling manner. A deeply visceral, emotional, and transformative experience is how many audiences recount their feelings at Savitha's performances.
Savitha has been featured in interviews and articles as a trendsetter in the field of Bharathanatyam. These articles have appeared in every leading national and regional publication in India. She is heralded as a classicist who is not afraid to break tradition, in that, while her performances do not compromise on the aesthetics of the art form, Savitha is able to stretch the very boundaries of Bharathanatyam with her innovative use of the medium.
Savitha continues the centuries old tradition of passing on this art form to the next generation by identifying and training students who have the dedication and passion for it. She regularly engages with dance students, teachers, and aficionados across the world through her structured workshops. She is also perpetuating the art by directing local talent at the venues of her workshops to perform in productions conceived as opening acts to her own performances. Her earlier production - 'Music Within' was directed by her as a stunning group choreography in 2014. A new presentation titled 'In God's Country' will hit the stage in early 2015. Savitha is the Artistic Director of Sai Shree Arts and lives in Mumbai.
The dance journey of this illustrious artist commenced at the age of six under the guidance of Guru Mahalingam Pillai of the Raja Rajeshwari Dance Academy in Mumbai. Her debut performance was at the age of nine at the Asthika Samajam, Mumbai to an audience of over a thousand. She continued her artistic endeavor under the tutelage of world renowned gurus Padmabhushan VP Dhananjayan, Shanta Dhananjayan, and Padmashree Adyar K. Laxman in Chennai. The Cultural Ministry of the Government of India recognized the spark of excellence in the young ten year old and supported her with scholarships to pursue her training for the next decade. The effortlessness and grace that are a hallmark of Savitha's performances emanate from a disciplined practice of Yoga. She has received specialized training in abhinaya (facial expressions) from workshops and classes conducted by Smt. Kalanidhi Narayan
Savitha's performances have featured at highly prestigious venues across India, China, the Middle East, Australia, Africa, South East Asia, Europe, Canada, and the United States. She has choreographed and directed several dance theatre productions including 'The Prophet', 'YUDH', 'Soul Cages', and 'Music Within'. Her latest dance theatre production - 'Chains: Love Stories of Shadows' premieres in January 2015. She has been featured in the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Vancouver Gait to the Spirit Festival, DanceFest India in New York and was cast as the lead dancer in the motion picture production titled ‘Ananda Tandavam’ choreographed by her guru – Adyar K. Laxman. Savitha's performance has been featured in a 2011 BBC Documentary titled 'Sex, Death, and the Gods', a film about the history of temple dancers in South India. With a YouTube Channel viewership of over 2.5 million, Savitha continues to reach out to her digital fans all across the world.