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Kay Poursine

I was born in New Orleans, the daughter of Augustine Poursine, the descendent of a French Creole family with deep roots in the city’s history. Traveling extensively with my family in Japan, Europe, and the United States, I studied ballet in Japan at age 6, continued in the United States and Germany. While studying ballet in Sendai Japan, I saw a performance of classical Thai dancing. Though mesmerized by the elaborate Thai hand gestures, I continued my training in ballet but was never satisfied until I saw some years later a concert of Bharata Natyam, the classical dance from South India. I was fortunate to find a supreme artist in the style- T. Balasaraswati. I studied with the great dancer first at Mills College in Oakland, California, then in subsequent summer residencies on the West Coast. Balasaraswati invited me to Madras (Chennai) for private classes, after which I received an M.A. from Wesleyan University where I also studied music with Balasaraswati’s brothers T. Viswanathan and T. Ranganathan. Later, I studied and performed in India with the support of three Smithsonian senior fellowships under the auspices of the American Institute for Indian Studies. Since Balasaraswati’s death in 1984, I have dedicated herself to preserving and exploring this great living dance tradition through my performances in the United States and abroad. "Hasta as Discourse on Music: T. Balasaraswati and her Art" is published by Dance Research Journal Fall 1991. I've held teaching positions at Wesleyan University and Denison University. I've conducted short residencies and master classes at Fairfield University, CT,Universiteit van Amsterdam, Holland, the Madras Music Academy, India,University of Oregon, Lewis and Clark University, Carnegie Mellon University, PA, Trinity College, and University of Utah.