Dancer Kay Poursine will perform South Indian’s Bharata Natyam dance form on Wed., Feb. 27, at 8 p.m. in the Concert Hall in Wilson Hall, Washington and Lee University. This event is presented by the W&L Department of Religion and open to the public at no charge.
Bharata Natyam is among the oldest of classical Indian dance forms. It developed from ritualistic dances performed in the past as offerings to the deities of Hindu temples, and in a more sophisticated form in the courts by solo female dancers.
Poursine, an educator as well as a dancer, has been called one of the greatest living performers of Bharata Natyam. She learned this dance form in the United States and India from the late, legendary Guru T. Balasaraswati. Poursine also studied music with Balasaraswati’s brothers. After receiving her master’s degree from Wesleyan University, she continued studying, performing and teaching in the U.S., India and around the world.
What differentiates Bharata Natyam from other dance forms is its use of drama, poetry and song. The dance movements all convey a meaning and are performed in precise harmony with carnatic music (classical music from South India).
Poursine, from New Orleans, has conducted numerous college and university lectures, master classes and workshops for dance and drama students. She said, “I’ve loved teaching. I think every student takes away something special in this great art. It is important to broaden the students’ understanding of how other people in the world express their emotions about life.”
In addition to her teaching experience, Poursine has contributed to scholarly performing arts journals, including “T. Balasaraswati’s style of Abhinaya,” in The Madras Music Academy Journal (India); “Hasta as Discourse on Dance,” in The Dance Research Journal, Sanskriti; and “The Lotus in Classical Indian Dance,” in Golden Lotus Magazine (Taiwan).
This event is sponsored by the Stanford L. Schewel Fund.