Based in Abu Dhabi for the past 15 years,Priya Manoj is a dance teacher with abundance of talent. Devoting her entire life to classical dancing, she is now focusing on the influence of art on education and life.
Priya has recently been awarded ‘Dr Abdul Kalam Smrithi Award’ in Abu Dhabi and won Kalathilakam title among numerous others in inter-school competitions in Kerala.”I was always passionate about dancing and started at the age of six,” said the native from Malappuram district of Kerala.
The Dancing Belle- Exploring the Science of Dance
Priya is a trained dancer in Kalakshetra-style Bharatanatyam, Kalamandalam-style mohiniyattam and other classical dance forms.She has done intensive training under many gurus at Kerala Kalamandalam, including Padma Shri Kshemavathy and Kalakshetra Haripadman.
Priya wanted to share what she knew and loved, and in 2006 established Bharathanjali dance academy.
Currently, she is trying to acquire more knowledge on mirror neuron. It’s the basis of self-awareness. It plays key role in empathy and understanding.
She says,”For those who dance, their right side of the brain is active when they emote and see another person experiencing an emotion. So, when there are restrictions imposed it adversely affects a child. If a child draws well and if his parents confine him, then it alters his mind and affects studies and thought process.”
Dance is ‘science’ and Priya is trying to explore more areas of its impact on the human body.Coming out with a unique concept, more than 20 of her disciples will perform Navarasamayan – a journey through the ‘navarasas’ of Hindu deity Krishna.
Asserting the Mystical Touch
Speaking about her ardent passion for dance, Priya says,”I feel closer to god through my dance. Once I was doing ganga avtaran at an event and it rained. It was a magical moment.Dancing isn’t time pass. It’s part of our culture. Dancing is a habit.” Dr Unnikrishnan,a college professor from Ernakulam district is her guide.
Priya recalls her childhood, when she was a Grade 10 student,her parents had completely stopped her dance classes,which affected her studies.
She performed poorly in her exams and the same think happened in her final year at college.”Restrictions always hamper young minds and their creative thinking,” says Priya, and advices that parents must let children grow the way they want to.
Based in Abu Dhabi, Priya used to teach literature at a private school, but later quit her job in March 2016. She wanted to give more time and immerse herself in dance.
Priya is happily married to Manoj and mother to Mahesh. She gives training at Indian Social and Culture Centre Abu Dhabi, Kerala Social Centre and Malayalee Samajam. The performance will be held at the ISC on Friday evening.