“I’m a 20 year old Bharatanatyam dancer from Chennai and after all these years with this beautiful art form, I’ve made up my mind about things which have stemmed from very deeply etched experiences. For one, I have decided to choose the unconventional way of taking my art to the world!
With recent times, I see that the core of what Bharatanatyam once stood for is starting to slowly dissolve into something else. I think what I’m most happy with is the way I’ve been able to understand and learn to become more attuned to my body needs and the extent to which I can push it to perform. This has been an experiment in itself. A lot of the performances and content out there involves heavy Nritta and a showcase of gymnastic abilities, much of which I don’t relate to. I now act from a place of complete acceptance on what is and is not possible for me to practice and explore.
The way I see it, Bharatanatyam teaches one to be graceful towards all aspects of life and I see grace building into every part of my mental and physical conduct.
As a young and enterprising dancer, I’ve been subject to my fair share of body shaming. I think we’d all agree that dancers have no qualms walking up to a another dancer and telling them how to dress, how they don’t look attractive enough, that they should be waxing or doing their eyebrows – and it really has no end. As one can imagine, these systematic societal contructs that are built are rocking the foundation and the confidence of an artist.
Add to this drama the most famed Sabha culture. I would vouch for the fact that the amount of money a Bharatanatyam artist spends for his or her career here is an exorbitant affair. You would find all the supportive roles played for a dance performance to happen making money, and the dancer having to spend heavily from their pocket, especially on the Sabha slot. And in most cases, we would be performing to an almost empty audience. Being in this spectrum has brought in a lot of understanding about the hidden politics of the fine arts world.
As the future looms large for me, I believe that I will continue to explore this art as a solo independent artist and also someone who stands for those being affected by judgement and stereotypes that exist in the industry. Art doesn’t differentiate and neither should we. Art will continue to move us all and create impact in its own way but I envision a world where we grow to look past these prejudices and appreciate art for what it really is.”