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Young Yushika Baid makes a fine debut on stage making Bharatnatyam Guru Geeta Chandran proud

Bharatanatyam dancer Yushika Baid, made her stage debut over the weekend at New Delhi's Chinmaya Mission Auditorium by performing seven pieces

Making her renowned Guru Geeta Chandran immensely proud, a young Bharatanatyam student Yushika Baid came up with an extraordinary performance at her Arangetram or debut onstage at New Delhi’s Chinmaya Mission Auditorium during the weekend.

Pursuing Mathematics as her major from Delhi University’s St. Stephen’s College, Baid has been learning Bharatanatyam from Chandran since the age of seven. “It was my mother who encouraged me to take up Bharatanatyam. And now it has become an integral part of my life,” she told India Narrative.

The maiden solo stage performance was for two hours and Baid danced seven pieces. She started with Pushpanjali, offering flowers to the deity, followed by the Alarippu which means a flowering bud, moving from simple to intricate and larger body movements. Then came the jatiswaram in Kanada raga, in adi talam followed with Varnam “Vanajksha ninne namiti” in Behag raga which talks about the glory of Lord Krishna.

After a costume change, Baid did two padams. The first Idathu Padam in Raga Khamas was about Lord Shiva and the other Indendu Vacchitivira in Surutti raga was about Lord Krishna and laced with sarcasm, humour and anger. Her final piece was a Thillana in Rageshwari raga.

Talking about her debut, Baid revealed to India Narrative that she was nervous. “I had butterflies in my stomach, wondering how I will perform in front of a large audience and with live music as accompaniment with so much expected from me. It is then I remembered Akka’s (Guru Geeta Chandran) advice – dance with spirit as ultimately what you feel and enjoy gets translated into performance and reaches to the audience. With that mantra, I simply danced and enjoyed myself.”

She added that will continue to adhere to this advice whenever faced with challenges in the future.

When asked about her experience of learning from Akka, she said: “She is more than a Guru as she is a mentor and elder sister in the truest sense. She not only teaches dance but also about life, values, day-to-day conduct, and how to speak and act. Going beyond art, she guides students like her own child, in all walks of life.”

Praising her Guru’s teaching, she said that before instructing on any dance piece, she at first makes the pupil understand the meaning of each word and sentence which is usually either in Tamil, Telugu or Sanskrit and imbues them with the essence and spirit of the episode or story. “She makes us familiar with the stories and mythologies connected with the piece. As our homework, she makes us read about Indian mythologies, including Amar Chitra Katha comics,” she said.

Baid was accompanied by Chandran on Nattuvangam, K. Venkateshwaran (vocals), Manohar Balatchandirane (mridangam), G. Raghavendra Prasath (violin), and Varun Rajasekharan (ghatam).

Baid has multi-faceted interests besides dancing. She is fond of mathematics and intends to pursue actuarial science after graduation, while she learns Hindustani classical music. On being asked as to how she manages all this, she informed IN, “it involves time management and balancing all the activities. But I have my priorities, too , and have missed several birthday parties to attend my music and dance classes. Even during my examinations, I do practice, even if for a short duration.”

Like any other millennial, Baid loves to go out to movies and malls. “Letting your hair down at times is good for all other serious pursuits,” she said.

Also read: Renowned Bharatanatyam dancer Geeta Chandran receives first IIMCAA Lifetime Achievement Award