A spacious room features a large window offering a view of an Uplands yard which is also reflected in the opposite floor mirror. Drums and other percussion instruments fill the void beneath a piano tucked into the corner, while books and CDs soften the edges and corners of the room. Vibrant artwork inspires from the walls.
In the open space of what she calls her dance room, Dr. Sydney Price-Sparling shares her passion.
Specifically, she teaches the art form known as Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance that will be on display June 28 and 29 at the Victoria Hindu Temple.
The career physician spent her early years as a classically trained ballet dancer.
“I’ve never stopped dancing. Dance and medicine have always been a symbiotic relationship,” she said.
She attributes her teaching to her guru, Rajamani, with whom she first connected in the early 1970s. Prior to his death in 2003, they kept in touch, each travelling between countries.
At their first meeting, Price-Sparling was visiting India (helping out a friend during her impending childbirth) and wanted to dance while she was there.
“He said, ‘You’ll look after them. You’ll look after the community’ and I have,” she said of one of his final visits to Canada.
She teaches in her Uplands home, calling her studio Kala Mandir (temple of the arts) and describes the classic dance as rich in esthetics and infused with knowledge of the world.
“I know I learn more from teaching than I ever gave anybody,” she said.
“It’s really a gift to be able to shape and give some positive direction to young people today. I really want to encourage the leaders of tomorrow.”
Victoria Hindu Temple will highlight dance as well as food and other aspects of the culture during an open house June 28 and 29 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the temple in Saanichton, 1934 Cultra Ave.
“This gives (the students) a chance to present what they’ve learned. I’ve really been struck by their thirst and energy,” Price-Sparling said. “I think this is an opportunity to really open and flower and understand one another.”
Visit victoriahindutemple.com for details.