Music and Dance are the two core forms of the arts. While music reverberates through vocals and instruments expressed through harmonic frequencies, dance emotes through facial expressions, foot work and the physical moves of the body. Dance and music together are the supreme art forms gifted to the humans, but only few can master these two. Chandrika Srinivas is one such multi-talented personality, proficient in both in Carnatic music and the Bharatanatyam dance form.
Hailing from Bangalore, Chandrika was born to Venkoba Rao and Shyamala. While at the age of ten, Chandrika started learning Carnatic music. Though a graduate in commerce, she chose to dance and music as her profession. Chandrika graduated her Masters in ‘music and dance’ in the years 1996 and 2000 respectively.
When her mother was impressed by the ballet performance of Prabath Kalavidharu, she wanted Chandrika to learn dance. Though initially, her idea of being a dancer was encouraged by her mother, but her father encouraged learning only music. She convinced her father to learn music and dance simultaneously.
Chandrika learned music under the Guru R.K. Srikantan and decided to learn the sacred dance form Bharatanatyam simultaneously from the venerated Guru Narmadha and later from Guru Kum. Bhanumathi. Chandrika’s dance ‘Arangetram’ was on 16th April 1997. She performed in many prestigious festivals both in India and abroad.
Her desire towards music made her become proficiently trained in Carnatic music vocal, violin, Veena, and Mrudangam even today. Being a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney and conducting many workshops, she also appeared in examinations conducted by Australian Music Education Board for Western Classical Music in Violin.
Many compositions from music vocal inspired her to choreograph as well. “Bhavayami Raghuramam” was the one of them, where she performed it for nearly 100 shows. She has choreographed many musically challenged compositions of great composers in Carnatic music. Apart from dance and music, the multi-talented Chandrika has passion towards paintings, pencil sketches, modern and traditional Tanjore paintings.
In the year 2000, Chandrika founded “Naadha-Nrithya “school in Australia to promote Indian performing arts. It laid a platform to bring out the students with high standards who can perform music vocals and/or Bharatanatyam in their Arangetrams and concerts. She started institutes in San Diego, California where she teaches Carnatic music vocal, Bharatanatyam, violin, veena and traditional Indian painting. Six of her students made Arangetram and are performing in prestigious festivals conducted in Chennai, and Bangalore. Following the footsteps of the mother, Chandrika’s daughter is also learning Bharatanatyam and is ready to join the tradition.
Speaking about the fusion in music and dance, Chandrika opines that fusion might spoil the purity of the tradition. In view of the dance festivals, Chandrika says that “It is the best opportunity to the dancers to show their talents but specific time should be given to them as warm-up takes 6 to 8 minutes on stage”.
On her future career in the upcoming years, she says that, “It’s a touching question. I have a great desire to become an excellent standard performer in vocal, violin, veena Bharatanatyam and also a very good painter”, says Chandrika confidently.
Chandrika Srinivas attained a Vidwath (a highest certificate given by the Department of Arts and Culture from Government of Karnataka, India) for both Music and Dance. She also conducted ‘Nattuvangam’ for many dance performances where she received best reviews for music and dance from famous newspapers.
She performed in many prestigious festivals not only in India but also in Singapore, Australia and US. Some of the festivals like R K Srikantan Trust, Bangalore Gayana Smaja, Karnataka Ganakala Parishath, Sri Jaya Ramaseva Mandali-Fort High School, The Indian Council of Cultural Relations, Pallavothsava, Indian Institute of World Culture, Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan-Bangalore, Ananya, Nungambakkam Cultural Academy- Chennai, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Vipanchee, Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan – Chennai, Kapali Fine Arts, Brahma Gana Sabha, Sri Parthasarathy Sabha, Tapas Academy of Music and Dance, Sri Ramabhaktha Jana Sabha, Sri Tyaga Gana Brahma Sabha, Neelakantasivan Trust, Ramani Academy of Flute, Aasthika Samaja, AIMA, Sriraagam Fine Arts, Papanasham Sivan Karnataka Sangeetha Sabha, Mylapore Fine Arts, Natarajothsav, Cuttack Music and Dance Festival, Sri Rama Gana Sabha- Trichy, Edapally Nritha Aswadhaka Sabha, Ramaiah Pillai Centenary Celebrations, Naadhabrahmam, Shanthala Arts Academy.
Despite being a mother, and a home maker, her passion for dance and music never ended. Sheer dedication and perseverance makes her to stand towering before everyone. The word “relax” is never known to her as she is always a learner.
Despite leaving her birth country, she never forgot her roots of Indian culture, tradition and passion. She used all the elements to mould herself into a skilled teacher. Chandrika always strives for promotion of traditional dance and music not only in India but also worldwide standing as a ‘Ray of hope’ for the Indian art forms.