Usha Srinivasan, a Guru beyond compare
- Deepa Mahadevan, Fremont, CA
September 22, 2006
creative, artistic and passionate - that was the combination with which
Usha Miss (as all her students knew her) won all our hearts. Dance
was the medium through which Usha Miss taught us about life.
"I think therefore I am." Usha Miss gave us lots to think about. She sculpted the way we think. Nothing was given to us without reasoning. When we learnt something, we knew all of it. Usha Miss gave us clarity of thought. My dance students today range from 5 year olds to 40 year olds and every day I am reaffirmed in my belief that it is that clarity of thought and strong foundation that Usha Miss gave us that makes me the teacher I am. What else did Usha Miss teach us?
Aesthetics. Her sense of aesthetics was unparalleled. She was simple, but striking. There was so much dignity in her attire, in her bearing, that she commanded respect with her sheer presence. We dreamt of the day that we would grow up too, so that we could wear sarees like Usha Miss.
She was an extremely knowledgeable and well-informed person. Every time she stepped on to the stage to give an introduction about the following dance number, I have always learnt something I didnít know before. She was a storehouse of knowledge. She loved to challenge us to learn more. She would never start teaching an item without the adequate research. Nothing was taken for granted.
Usha Srinivasan was a senior disciple of K N Dandayudapani Pillai. She is the founder director of Hasta School of Bharatnatyam in Chennai. She breathed her last on the 8th of June 2006.
She had so much love and passion for dance that she offered to teach many children without charging a fee. Even the grand arangetram has been done for a few without the guru dakshina. She used to place everything at her disposal viz., her costumes, jewellery, dancing hall, classrooms and finance for the sole purpose of encouraging dance among her students.
A few days before she was diagnosed to be suffering from the killer disease Cancer (2004), she had taken up and completed her study in Saiva Siddhanta as an external student of the Annamalai University. To her, age was no barrier for knowledge development. To cap it all, she had also shouldered the great responsibility of her family business together with her husband S.Srinivasan, who has now been orphaned in the loss of his most priceless possession and beacon of light and courage.