“I consciously try to take away that wall and connect with (the audience) completely,” she said. “The Natya Shastra talks of how the purpose of performing arts is to create a response in the audience, the viewer – when you feel it, you feed it back to me and we create together.”
Sriraman moved to the United States from India in 1994 to pursue her MBA, with a master’s degree in mathematics and science already under her belt. She spent a decade in a successful career as a management consultant with an HR management firm before the birth of her son in 2004 inspired her to give up the days of long hours and travel in order to more seriously pursue her lifelong passion of Indian dance. She landed an intensive apprenticeship with Smt. Priyadarsini Govind, an award-winning Bharatanatyum dancer whom she had admired greatly in her early teens and 20s.
“She was always my inspiration growing up,” Sriraman said of Govind, whom she first met while living in Atlanta in 2004. Govind had traveled there to give a workshop; the two “hit it off as people” and set up an apprenticeship that has had Sriraman traveling to India about once a year to study with Govind.
One of Sriraman’s greatest joys as a dancer lies in teaching others, and she reaches around 30 – 40 students each Sunday at the Shree School of Dance, which she founded soon after moving to Lexington. While there are many historical and technical aspects that can be passed down from one generation to the next, she admits that there are some aspects of dance – which she lightly termed “soul-thetics,” in reference to the expression of something deep inside oneself – that dancers must find in themselves.
“That cannot be choreographed. And you can’t teach that either,” she said. “You can talk about the end product and where the impulse will lie, but the process between that impulse and end product is a very personal journey.”