We had the good fortune of connecting with Sathya Shivakumar and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sathya, what are you inspired by?
I find inspiration in anything that fosters a deeper connection with ourselves. Often, we’re driven by our minds and senses to seek external sources for contentment and satisfaction, overlooking valuable ways to connect within. Art, as we know, serves as a conduit to reach our inner core and unleash creativity. Bharathanatyam, a dance form, serves as a true platform for integrating our body and mind, facilitating a connection to the divinity within. Engaging deeply in portraying characters and executing rhythmic movements, we gradually transcend into a meditative state. The outer world fades away when immersed in the art, offering a source of inspiration to explore how this dance form can be a powerful tool for inner connection.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The Himalayan School of Traditional Dance, founded by Mohanji, stands as a profound platform committed to sharing the enriching traditional dance forms of Bharath globally. With a foundation in the belief that dance harmonizes the body and mind, paving the way for spiritual unfoldment, our current emphasis is on Bharathanatyam and Kathak. Guided by Artistic Directors Radha Subramanian and Arti Paranjape, I am honored to contribute as a global member, striving to propel this mission forward by creating content that artfully illuminates the intricate nuances and subtle connection between dance and divinity.

Embarking on this journey isn’t without its challenges. We continually innovate, leveraging technology to disseminate the art form. The evolution of communication has brought the world closer, enabling us to reach a global audience. However, teaching dance online poses unique challenges, requiring us to tailor courses for understanding. The shift from physical to online classes, prompted by the COVID situation, presented an opportunity to explore new avenues.

In navigating this terrain, “shout-out interviews” emerge as a valuable tool to connect with interested individuals and shine a spotlight on the beauty of this art form.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Embarking on a journey through India, I’d warmly invite you to experience the magic of temple cities, a doorway to a profound connection with oneself. My recent sojourn led me to the immaculate city of Indore, celebrated as India’s cleanest city, and the sacred realms of Ujjain and Omkareshwar along the meandering Narmada River—an ideal escape for those yearning for rejuvenation.

Begin your odyssey in Indore, where the senses are awakened by the culinary symphony of Indori poha. A scenic three-hour drive unfolds the ancient city of Ujjain, home to the majestic Mahakaleshwar Temple. Wander through the recently inaugurated corridor, adorned with awe-inspiring murals and sculptures narrating the timeless tales of Adiyogi Shiva. For dance aficionados, Ujjain offers a rendezvous with the soulful expressions of Bharathanatyam, especially the intricate Karanas.

Journeying from Indore to Omkareshwar, surrender to the tranquility along the Narmada’s banks. Embark on a spiritual circumambulation of the Omkareshwar hills, where ancient temples dot the sacred Parikrama path. Feel the connection with the serene hills and the flowing river, perhaps culminating your visit with a purifying boat ride, relishing the joy of feeding creatures of water, earth, and air.

I am confident that these enchanting places will weave a tapestry of profound enrichment and connection with your soul.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I find immense inspiration in Mohanji, not just as a widely recognized humanitarian but as my spiritual guide and more. His teachings resonate deeply with me, especially his emphasis on ahimsa, or non-violence, as the foundational principle for all actions. It strikes a chord within my being.

Mohanji’s simple yet profound guidance, like feeding beings of water, earth, and air, resonates as a way to not only lighten oneself but also illuminate the world around us. His belief in the uniqueness of each individual, with the power to contribute through their distinct strengths, profoundly influences my perspective.

It’s under the guiding light of Mohanji that the Himalayan School of Traditional Dances, Yoga, and martial arts has come into being, dedicated to preserving and spreading the traditional practices of Bharath. These Himalayan schools, inspired by his vision, are serving as a conduit for many worldwide to connect with the true spirit of Bharath. Mohanji’s teachings are not just words; they are the driving force behind the essence of our school.

Website: https://himalayanschool.com/dance/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hstddance/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSTD.dance

Youtube: https://youtube.com/c/HimalayanSchoolofTraditionalDance

Other: https://himalayanschooloftraditionaldance.wordpress.com/ https://hstddancediaries.wordpress.com/

Image Credits
Sharada Shivakumar, Tea Klincov

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