Souprayen Cavery Logambal - Bharatanatyam Dancer
Souprayen Cavery Logambal. That is her full name. Yes, she is a Tamil and she is a Bharatnatyam dancer. Hails from the Reunion Island, France, and is a doctoral student back home..
For six months, Cavery has lived in Adyar, a sishya under the Dhananjayans. Recently, she had her arangetram at the Sri Varasiddhi Vinayakar Temple in Besant Nagar. And it was the biggest event for the petite girl who will fly back to Reunion soon. In this conversation with KutcheriBuzz, Cavery, who is at home in French, and struggles in Tamil and English, talks about her work and on the arts in the island where she comes from.
You must be thrilled now that you have performed your arangetram?
Yes of course. I may not have done the best one expects of a dancer but this certainly is the first step. And I am thrilled that it could take place here in Madras. Because it couldn’t have taken place back in Reunion where we do not have musicians and people to conduct an arangetram. My parents who were also here for the event were overjoyed when they saw me on stage.
Did you manage to learn a lot in dance?
I did. You know how good it is to learn under the Dhananjayans. For someone who does not know Tamil and little English, it requires a great effort to understand the meaning of the lyrics in order to express them on stage. And only long, persistent training helps. I met the Dhananjayans when they performed a Mahabharata dance-drama in Reunion. After that I came here on two occasions but they were short periods of training. This time, I have been learning since last December.
Can you devote so much time? Do families encourage girls to learn dance back home?
My parents allowed me because my doctoral studies allows for free time. They wouldn’t have if I was a student. And my husband has also encouraged me. Yes, there are more and more youth getting interested in music and dance. But the opportunities to train and perform are limited.
So what is the scenario in Reunion?
Now there are at least three leading classical dance teachers who learnt dance here in Madras. Some 200 girls and a few boys learn dance at different centres across the island. Then there is the formal course by the Conservatoire too. I have been training for more than 10 years now. I studied under Leela Armoudon ( a disciple of Dhananjayans) and have graduated from the Conservatoire, getting a gold medal. But we lack musicians. Only recently, a person called Dominique has started classes in classical music after he completed his course in Madras. My sister now learns the mridangam!
How vibrant is the Indian cultural activity in Reunion?
The dance and music events for our community revolves around the temples and community associations. And the formal events are held at Tamil New Year and Deepavali. That’s all. Then there are the folk arts but the film-like shows are most dominant.
Would greater interaction between artistes from here and Reunion help?
Yes it will. Already, from time to time, dancers visit Reunion and teach and perform. That helps us to learn something new. The gurus there also invite some artistes. But it is costly for us to travel to Madras and study here for a long time.
And have you toured this place during your stay in this city?
I did. I attended the dance festival in Chidambaram and was at the dances during the December season here. Years ago, my family and I toured the state and went to all the major temples. There are many families from Reunion who come here to visit the temples in this state. Our roots are from here but people of our generation know very little. My father’s great grandmother was the last to know Tamil.