Gifted with fluid grace, an innate sense of rhythm and a vibrant sense of expression, Navia Natarajan has been dancing to the beat of Bharathanatyam since the surprisingly young age of three. Entranced by the movements of this South Indian classical dance form as a little girl, Navia has followed her calling with single-minded vision, rigorous training and above all, a passion for the craft. Today, she is an accomplished danseuse in the Vazhavoor tradition of Bharathanatyam, and has been enthralling audiences around the world, from the United States and Europe to the Middle East, with an impressive repertoire of performances.Navia's love affair with dance began in the culturally vibrant city of Chennai where she was formally initiated into the world of Bharathanatyam at the age of seven, under the keen tutelage of her first guru Radhika Kalyani. Navia took to the complicated and stylized movements of Bharathanatyam like a fish to water, and was ready for her solo debut performance or 'Arangetram' as a precociously talented ten-year-old.The next leg of Navia's artistic journey led her to accomplished danseuse Padmini Ramachandran in Bangalore, with whom she widened her dance vocabulary, from mastering complex 'Varnams' to learning the nuances of emoting, all the while balancing a demanding education in Microbiology. A career as a research scientist followed, but the call of dance was too loud
to ignore when she moved to the United States. Sequestering herself in her studio in California, Navia spent long hours exploring her craft, discovering new dimensions and adding on layers to her performances. Here she has started the Navia Dance Academy to train young dancers in the art of Bharathanatyam. Apart from touring the US, Navia returns to India for three months every year to perform as well as continue her learning under Guru A Lakshman of Chennai and Abhinaya exponent Bragha G Bessell. Appreciated by critics and audiences for the poise, grace and maturity of expression she brings to her performances, for Navia herself, Bharathanatyam is a form of communion - dance allows her to connect with herself, to feel the Infinite, briefly touch a moment of eternity and most of all, connect with an audience and leave them moved and elevated. Navia's forte lies in the depth of her performances, as she literally merges and becomes one with the characters or 'Nayikas' she portrays, whether she is depicting a lover's beauty through 'Sringara' or the longing of a mother through 'Vaatsalya'. Navia stays loyal to the traditional framework of dance, but believes in contemporizing themes in her performances. What began as a childhood fascination has matured into lifelong quest for Navia to seek the essence of Bharathanatyam as embodied in the play of Bhava, Raga and Thala.