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The Harmony in Motion – Journey of Shijith Nambiar and Parvathy Menon in Bharatnatyam

The journey into the world of Bharatnatyam began unconventionally for a young lad from Payyanur when he chose to sing a film song during an interview for admission at the esteemed Kalakshetra cultural institution. Despite this unexpected choice, Shijith Nambiar secured his place at the academy and embarked on what was to become a life-transforming voyage into the classical Indian dance form. Not only did this institute shape his career, but here, he also met his kindred spirit, Parvathy Menon. Together, this couple would carve a distinctive niche in the dance community, slowly yet confidently making their impression.

Shijith’s initiation into the arts was nurtured from an early age by his father. Despite widespread participation in cultural events during his school and college years, he faced ridicule for his passion for dance. Determined to support his son, his father took Shijith to Chennai, seeking better opportunities and exposure. However, the journey was fraught with challenges, as male dancers often found it harder to break into the spotlight. Shijith felt disheartened initially by this reality, but his inherent talent and relentless dedication soon won him the recognition he deserved.

Following his graduation from Kalakshetra, Shijith realigned his focus towards discovering a personal interpretation within the classical framework. “I began to choreograph compositions for my solo performances. It gave me immense satisfaction and joy,” he shares, reflecting on his drive to find his unique space and expression within the art. His admiration for the works of G. Narendra, another prominent figure in the dance world, led him to memorable opportunities, including embodying the role of Kovalan in Narendra’s production of ‘Silapadhikaram.’

His collaborations extended to other illustrious figures, including working with the Dhananjayans and Leela Samson. These experiences not only enriched his repertoire but also influenced his nuanced approach to dance.

Shijith’s solo career flourished but took a complementary turn when he and Parvathy began performing together. For Parvathy, who was largely associated with group performances as part of the Kalakshetra repertory, adapting to Shijith’s ideas came naturally. But for Shijith, who had tasted the freedom of solo performances, adjusting to the dynamics of a duo was initially challenging. Over time, they found their rhythm and began sharing the stage with a comfortable synergy.

Together, Shijith and Parvathy have devised a method to approach their choreographic endeavors, dividing tasks with precision. Aspects like ideation, music, lighting, and costume design are predominantly Shijith’s domain. Their mutual training at Kalakshetra empowers them to handle various facets of production with finesse.

Shijith elaborates on their choreographic process, highlighting that while initially focused on synchronized movements, their artistic evolution has led them to emphasize the seamless integration of each other’s creative inputs. Constant analysis and improvisation keep their performances fresh and engaging.

As the couple advances in their careers, the pressures of performance have receded into the background. It’s the joy and fulfillment of the process and presentation that now hold precedence. They have also invested their energy into cultivating ‘Sakhi,’ an innovative space dedicated to fostering creativity among artists in a holistic environment. This venture aims to provide emerging performers with a supportive community where they can fearlessly explore and innovate.

The tale of Shijith Nambiar and Parvathy Menon is not just one of individual triumph but also a testament to the power of collaboration, where two artists unify their talents to create a legacy that transcends the boundaries of traditional Bharatnatyam. It’s a journey that has only just begun, full of promise, for the dance floor and beyond.