Abhinaya is an integral part of Bharatanatyam. Expression can be achieved through the use of facial expressions, specific lyrics and melodies and/or the use of various parts of the body. In a week-long residency, the students are taught specialized hand gestures coupled with body language. They learn to use these tools to first create geometrical and abstract shapes, then relate these to their surroundings and finally, weave stories both ancient and contemporary entirely through mime, without using props. The practice of abhinaya teaches us to observe the world around us – to pay close attention to the nature of all beings and therefore to become more empathetic. Teachers' input on what the class is currently learning plays a great role in shaping the week's lesson plan. The program will be offered by one artist.
Ramya S. Kapadia is a Durham-based Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer, instructor and a Carnatic vocalist (South Indian classical dance & music forms). Ramya believes that art can and should tell stories that move audiences to becoming better and more compassionate human beings. The collaborators in her works are artists, scientists, literary scholars and philosophers who all share her vision of creating a better world through art. As a former medical physicist and neuroscientist, Ramya is constantly seeking ways to merge the arts and the sciences. She has taught master classes to students across the globe over the last 10 years. In Durham through her school Natyarpana, she shares the rich traditions of Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam with the youth of the Triangle Area.