Hailing from a family with deep interest in the arts, Bharatanatyam dancer Priya Murali is a rare combination of a dancer, teacher and choreographer. Her extensive research in the field of aesthetics and rasa theory as part of her M.Phil dissertation, has won praise. She has won many awards and titles from prestigious institutions and is a senior disciple of Padmasri Sudharani Raghupathy, founder of Shree Bharathalaya. She is known for her excellence in abhinaya which she does with refreshing spontaneous grace and ease of performance.
Priya is the founder director of Shree Silambam Academy of Fine Arts, a subsidiary of her parent institution Shree Bharathalaya. She has numerous performances to her credit, inside and outside India. She is enthused when she talks about training students at College University, New York, with her expertise in Indian contemporary dance forms like kalari, taichi and the bhutto dance of Japan.
Priya Murali's dedication to art is reflected in her support for bringing out a handbook on Bharathanatyam titled Laghu Bharatham and in presenting a programme called Bharathi, which has run more than thirty shows, both in India and abroad. She is a torch bearer for the younger generation in the field of Bharathanatyam.
Immense satisfaction: “I have been with this premier institution of fine arts, Shree Bharathalaya, for over four decades. I have derived immense satisfaction, primarily because my alma mater has produced valuable resource materials in the world of fine arts. Considerable research is undertaken in my alma mater. This forms the basis for refinement in my participation, says Priya. Her unquestioning reverence for the traditional gurukula system is visible.
On gurukula system: “Genuine art is about showcasing the transcendental experience, revealing the elevating emotions (bhava). This is possible only in the typical gurukula system and not by adopting the modern mechanism in dance pedagogy. The modern guru-sishya relationship is at the moment an uncomfortable blend of the traditional gurukula system”.“My aim in life is to take this great art form to the community at large and make it more meaningful,” she says. She says that the audience base will broaden only if we educate them.