Saraswathi Bharathanatyam troupe of Russia steals the heart of Chennai


Natalia Frantsuzova, a Russia-based danseuse and teacher who has visited India fourteen times is very much on the shores of Chennai yet again with seven of her expert students to showcase their terpsichorean talents before the audience of the very motherland of Bharathanatyam. Natalia and her disciples performed Bharathanatyam on 25th March at Rani Seethai Hall here.

A trained Russian folk dancer, Natalaia has strangely named her dancing troupe after Sartaswathi Devi, the Hindu Goddess of Art and Literature. She has presently teamed up with her cousin and a Chennai Kalakshethra student, Alexander Kononov to teach aspirants in Russia Bharathanatyam. Presently Natalia-Alexander team is having seventy students as per reports.

Students of Natalia performed Bharathanatyam along with the members of Natyakshethra, a dreamchild of Chennai-based art lover M Senthilkumar who had established contact with Alexander through Facebook. All the seven girls who are here as Natalia's troupe members have been reportedly learning Bharathanatyam for the past five years. For fulfilling the requisite of dance attire, they purchase clothing material from India have those stitched in Russia by some expert dressmakers that have learned the art of making Indian dance attire.

Sixteen year old Milana Lebetskaya, a member of the troupe that have been learning the art with Natalia for the last five years have seen her idol in Indian classical dancer and film actress Hema Malini, while Ekaterina Toropova, accompanying her daughter and troupe member, Daria said that her daughter insisted on having enrolled in Tania's dance school after she was taken to watch their performance.

Natalia who had followed the steps of her cousin Alexander to the art of Bharathanatyam said that she had decided to name her troupe after Goddess Saraswathi after knowing it was name of the deity of arts. She outlined her admiration of the beauty of the dance form, its elegance and the beautiful costumes used by the dancers. She added she above all loved the culture of India.

The dancers revealed that they listened to the songs of Bollywood to develop their own movements. This was obviously well rewarded by the art society of Chennai as the halls were they performed were reasonably filled and the audience had roared in appreciation at the end of each item. According to P Thankappan, the secretary of the Indo-Russian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the troupe from Russia had made their own travel arrangements besides having paid for their own expenses.