Art, Spirituality & World Peace within Femininity - a talk by world renowned Indian Classical Dancer, Vijayalakshmi
The most beautiful and powerful aspect of art and being an artiste is that it is inclusive & universal. Art has no boundaries or divisions, it is all-encompassing. All the divisions we see in the world, geographical, political, economic, cultural, are man made, for this is not the way Nature operates. And it is significant to note that Nature functions on the principals of inter-connectedness, unfortunately discredited by man today. We need to turn to Nature’s laws which also finds Oneness, harmony, non-discrimination and co-operation, a parallel with the inherent nature of art – both underlining this point of oneness of humanity. Nature, especially in ancient spiritual traditions, including Indian wisdom traditions, is synonymous with divinity. She is revered as the Universal Mother, who is the Source of all that is manifested in Creation and who nurtures her baby unconditionally.
Vijayalakshmi is an acclaimed exponent of Mohiniyattam, the graceful classical dance form from southern India. Daughter and disciple of Guru Bharati Shivaji, Vijayalakshmi has endeavored to take Mohiniyattam to higher levels by constantly exploring unchartered territories and expanding traditional boundaries through innovative choreographies inspired from a pan-Indian and global perspective. A recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Sangeet Natak Academy, Vijayalakshmi has carved a distinct niche for herself and has played a significant role in the rejuvenation of this ancient art form.
Her prominent productions include Unniarcha, inspired from Kalaripayattu, the Indian martial art form; Swan Lake, inspired from the great Russian composer Tchaikovsky’s music; and Paryapti, which draws upon the rich cultural ethos and musical traditions of Bengal. Vijayalakshmi has performed at some of the most prestigious venues in India and around the globe including the Bolshoi Theatre, Edinburgh International Festival, Lincoln Centre, Savannah Georgia International Music Festival, World Sacred Music Festival Los Angeles, and Norton Simon Museum Los Angeles. She has a Masters and Bachelors in English Literature from Lady Shriram College, Delhi University and has co-authored a book on Mohiniyattam. She is the Founder and Director of The Mohiniyattam Institute, based in Los Angeles, and the Artistic-Director of the Center for Mohiniyattam in New Delhi, India.
Her unique interpretation of the dance form resonates with contemporary universal relevance, destroying stereotypes to delve deeply into femininity and beyond. To her, it’s not just a traditional sacred dance form, that evolved in the temples of south India, but reflects her own journey and understanding of femininity as a woman. Besides teaching in Los Angeles, she has also been pursuing speaking engagements and developing new stage productions. She speaks on a wide range of issues such as Femininity and its role in society, Art, spirituality and World Peace. Recent lectures took place at UCLA, CSU Long Beach, Loyola Marymount University, Oxnard College, the LA Indian dance community and for non-profits engaged with women’s causes as well as International Film festivals.