'Dance is everything to me, it is my life'

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  • Published 12.09.12

When veteran dancer Vyjayanthimala Bali performed Bharatnatyam in the city last week her ageless grace left the audience in awe. During her conversation with The Telegraph, the 76-year-old yesteryear actress shared her views on life and art.

This was your first performance in Odisha and you got a standing ovation from the audience. How does it feel?

I am delighted to have performed here for such a wonderful audience and don’t know how to express my happiness. Performing at the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival is a matter of pride and I am glad to have been here. I wish to make many more journeys to Odisha.

The festival was dedicated to the doyen of Odissi, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. Could you share some of your memories of him?

I had got an opportunity to meet Guruji at an event in Mumbai. He was such a humble person despite being a legendary artiste. He had invited me to perform in Odisha but somehow the idea could not be fruitful. But I am glad his wish was fulfilled now with his blessings.

What is the secret of your vibrant dance performance even at this age?

I don’t think of age at all. I don’t bother about this particular number and keep my math safe for the count of beats and taalas. (Laughs) I have left it to others to think of my age, while I am busy dancing and enjoying life. Dance is everything to me, it is my life. This feeling gives me the energy to perform.

What is your opinion about dance in films today?

Film dance and classical dance are completely different worlds and cannot be compared. When I entered the industry I was the first dancer to introduce classical moves in film songs. The audience appreciated that. But that trend has slowly changed. However, I am happy that classical dance has its own following in every corner across our country.

You turned a grandmother recently. How has it changed your life?

My son Suchindra’s few months old baby is the greatest joy in my life. Raising a cute baby at home is the greatest pleasure for a woman. Talking about grandchildren, it was wonderful to meet the granddaughters of Raghunathji (musician Raghunath Panigrahi) and Guruji (Kelucharan Mohapatra).