Navia is not only a brilliant performer, but an intrepid choreographer and explorer of art and life. She uses the ancient art of Bharatanatyam to burrow into the nature of love, desire and the infinite and to throw light on the mysteries of the human heart. This often leads her down grey and uncharted terrains. A recent production, ‘Agni’, is one such provocative work that investigates the multifaceted manifestations of fire – as a sacred element of creation, as the raw emotional fire of human rage and as a destructive, but ultimately cathartic state of being which can be transcended. A classicalist through and through, Navia, however, imbues her performances with the elements of theatre, conceptual movement and Yoga. She stays true to the path of the Margam –the prescribed order that Bharatanatyam follows – which stands at the core of her practice. But she is a fearless and keen experimenter with the boundaries of its expansive framework. Her creative, conceptual choreography, takes the audience right to the visceral heart of the piece, taking classical dance beyond the moorings of geography, age and time. Tempering innovation with mindfulness, her productions often bring together the best talents from assorted creative disciplines, including dancers from classical and contemporary disciplines, writers, poets to musicians and philosophers. Navia’s choreography breaks the moulds that comparmentalise dance into ‘classical’ and ‘contemporary’. Having mastered the ins and outs of Bharatanatyam, Navia infuses the traditional syntax with freshness, openness and sensitivity. Unafraid to express herself in new and courageous ways, her performances contemporise age-old characters and legends, and infuse ancient storylines with unique, personal and boundary-pushing perspectives.  A recent production, ‘The Quest Unsaid’, for instance, features the protagonist as not just a warrior from the Mahabharata, but a character emblematic of abandonment, who reflects our existential struggle to figure out who we truly are, where we belong, and the politics of identity. Navia looks beyond staple myths and legends, and finds inspiration in little-known, little-heard stories.   A character from the Mahabharata that few know about, a seventh century love poem which may not be known to wider audiences – this is the kind of timeless material that piques her interest. Her productions are also informed by contemporary happenings and her own life experiences. “When an artist embarks on a theme, it usually stems out of her life experiences. These experiences layer the choreography, and as she journeys through the piece, the process itself becomes exhilarating. Performance is just a reflection of that journey.” A profoundly sensitive artist and performer, Navia processes and assimilates the world around her through the language of dance, transmuting her own journey as an artist into the poetic syntax of Bharatanatyam. Rooted in its history, origin and culture, Bharathanatyam is not a tether that holds Navia back, but a wellspring from which she grows.