THE HINDU, Monday, September 9,1996

It was a dream come true for the Russian danseuse, Milane Severska. She stole the hearts of art afficionados who had thronged an auditorium in Kochi the other day to see her maiden Mohiniattam performance. Milane, who hails from St. Petersburg, began her voyage of discovery when she left her fatherland for the distant shores of Tamil Nadu to learn Indian dances. Her inspiration came from Raj Kapoor movies that are still popular in the erstwhile Soviet Union. She learned 'Indian dance' for six long years in her country but it turned out to be a pot-pourri of Kathaki and Bharatanatyam, and Mohiniattam and Kuchi-pudi. It took another guru to tell her that she was yet to perfect an Indian dance and Milane resolved that it was better learnt on Indian shores.

The Russian danseuse, Milane Severska.

Her job at the Vedic Cultural Society in St. Petersburg gave her enough opportunities to learn more about Indian dance even as she pursued her master's degree in economics and psychology. A chance meeting with the famed Dhananjayan couple in Madras proved to be a turning point and Milane decided to master Mohiniyattam. She stayed as a paying guest and also worked as a part-time piano teacher to supplement her income in alien land. Milane is also learning Vedic thought and literature even as she has cultivated an abiding interest in Indian mythology. She says that Indian dances essentially boil down to Bhakti and the artiste can attain true salvation when fully committed to the performance.