Chennai danseuse helps charity through her dance school

By Swedha Radhakrishnan Published on Jul 28, 2018 05:04 PM IST

Chennai: “Being with children gives me happiness. It is also a way to de-stress myself,” says Geetha Saraswathi (71), a Bharatanatyam dancer.

This long time resident of Vijaya Nagar at Velacheri in the city runs a dance school called ‘Geethalayam’ in the locality. Geetha has been doing charity work with the money she gets through her school.

Speaking to News Today, she says, “I started learning Bharatanatyam from 1954 in Thanjavur. I have done several stage performances and worked with drama troupes like TKS Brothers and AVM Rajan. My first stage performance in Chennai was at N S Krishnan daughter’s marriage which was presided over by MGR. I used to perform with Vishati group during Navarathri till 1971.”

She adds, “It was in 1971 that I started my dance school Geethalayam. It was coordinated by my daughter Srividya Narendran, a vocalist. Today I have around 150 students of different age groups - from 5 to 45 years. The money that I get from the school is donated to charitable trusts in the city.”

Geethalayam has moulded several students. Many of them have done stage performances. She says, “I am happy to see that people in their late 30s and 40s are interested in learning dance. Several of them suffer from health problems like diabetes and are trying to bring a balance through Bharatanatyam. Nowadays, people are addicted to social media and hardly have time for other things.”

The dance school avoids recorded music in classes. “We teach students only through live music. During stage performances we play violin, which gives more life to the performance.”

Geetha Saraswathi can be reached at 9962151320.

AWARDS & ACCOLADES

Geetha Saraswathi has received many awards. She won the Abinaya award from Nirithya Kala Mahanadu in 1964. Recently, she received the MS Subbulakshmi’s centenary award.