Classical Indian

By Mina Mohit

Raji Valluri specializes in classical Bharatnatyam, a devotional dance, which focuses on discipline, emotion and storytelling.

Having done this for 40 years, she says she finds it hard to sit still because she’s “always dancing in her mind.”

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Most of Bharatnatyam’s dances are devoted to gods and goddesses in Hindu mythology and each sequence is performed to depict a tale.

It’s not a let-loose kind of a dance, but rather structured and systematic.

“There are 108 dance transitions and 52 hand gestures along with separate rhythm and footwork,” explained Valluri.

The experienced dancer has kept her cassette-tapes from her amateur days and now plays them for instructing the next generation of classical Indian dancers.

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