Artists Information
Malini Srinivasan

Malini Srinivasan is a third-generation Bharatanatyam dancer, teacher and choreographer. Malini is the disciple of world-renowned artist Sri C.V. Chandrasekhar. She began studying Bharatanatyam at a young age with her mother and grandmother, and performed her Arangetram (debut) under the guidance of Meena Raman. Malini lived in Chennai from 1999-2004 to pursue her study of dance and its allied art forms such as Nattuvangam, Carnatic vocal music, Kalaripayattu, Yoga, Sanskrit and Tamil. 

A critically-acclaimed soloist, Malini has presented solo Bharatanatyam to various audiences in the U.S., India and Europe. She has also performed with groups including the Padmini Chettur Group, Ragamala, Rajika Puri and Dancers and Thresh. 

Malini has choreographed solo and group Bharatanatyam pieces, including Ode to Love’s Arrows and Tejas-Luminous. She was awarded the Dance in Queens Residency (2009) the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center Residency (2010), and the Queens Council on the Arts Individual Artist Grant (2010). Based in Queens, NY, Malini is a Lecturer at the Asian & Asian-American Studies Department at SUNY Stony Brook, on the dance faculty of the Young Indian Culture Group, and a Teaching Artist with City Lore.

 

Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form that developed in the south of India, in the area now known as Tamil Nadu. Its roots reach back to the Natya Shastra, the text on ancient Indian drama dated in 2 BC. The Devadasis, or temple servants, were the traditional practitioners of this dance form and handed it down through the ages.

Bharatanatyam's key features are its nrtta (pure movement or technique) and its abhinaya (mime or expression). The nrtta of Bharatanatyam is notable for its complex rhythmic footwork that includes strikes, extensions, jumps and leaps, plus the intricate patterns made by the hands and arms, all stemming from an extended, dynamic torso. The dancer's whole body becomes geometry in motion. The abhinaya of traditional Bharatanatyam revolves around a heroine in a state of anticipation of union with her beloved. As this woman is also a metaphor for the human being waiting for union with the Unseen, it can be interpreted in either a religious or secular framework. The combinations and subtleties of these movements and themes, their close connections with Carnatic music and the vast realm of Indian mythology, give Bharatanatyam a rare union of complexity and accessibility which are key to art of great beauty.