SIVASHANI Pather, who was dancing before she learned to walk, recently graduated from the Indian dance style of Bharata Natym from the Natyakshetram Temple of Dance.
The 16-year-old of Lovemore Heights is following in the footsteps of her sister Prishantini, who graduated from Bharata Natym in 2008.
The Grade 11 Theodor Herzl pupil performed her arangetram (debut dance) at the Opera House on January 12 in front of family, friends and other guests.
Sivashani is a Kumari, which is the highest level of Bharata Natym.
The dance style consists of many hand gestures and foot movements that form part of telling a traditional tale about Indian goddesses.
“The dance tells different stories,” said Sivashani. “You use a lot of facial expressions. The slower you dance, the more expressions you use.”
Sivashani used to play several sports at school, but she pulled out because she couldn’t risk any injury and her training became too intense.
She practises four times a week and when preparing for her graduation dance she intensified her training.
“It is strenuous. It tires you out mentally and physically.”
The dancer’s arangetram at the Opera House lasted two hours with just one break halfway through. She performed by herself with a live band on stage. It involved a lot of training with the musicians
She has been dancing for 12 years and has stuck to the style of Bharata Natym.
“I started dancing before I could walk, but I started training when I was four. I love dancing. I can’t imagine my life without it.”