We are aware that mukthi means liberation of the soul – liberation from the cycle of birth and death. We also know that bhakthi means devotion to the supreme spirit. If there is a steadfast bhakti, mukthi is bound to follow. Equally, we are aware that the path of a dancer is paved by bhakthi.
It would not be an exaggeration on my part to say that Singapore-based dancer Gayatri Sriram (a student of Minal Prabhu, an alumnus of Kalakshetra), who presented ‘Mukthi Margam’ for the Brahma Gana Sabha, reflected her devotion to the various deities.
The true reflection of the exactness, which is what the Kalakshetra style demands, was very evident, when the artiste revealed her individual perspective and freshness with complete involvement.
The main focus of the presentation was absolute surrender to Lord Krishna. Beginning with Surya Kauthuvam in praise of Lord Surya, who is the giver of light and embodiment of the holy trinity, she took up Sringara Lola Muralidhara, a varnam in Ragamalika. She moved with poise and grace, demonstrating her deep involvement in the recital. In Tilang Raga Ashtapathi, she wove geometric patterns.
Be it Thillana (Kanda Tripuda and Adi Talam) in Raga Suddha Danyasi , based on the concept of war and peace within the self or a Meera bhajan, she revealed her commitment and zeal, indicating that she is creating a niche for herself with deep involvement and introspection. It was apparent on that day that the dance was an extension of her identity.
An art form that she completely identifies with, and performing with dedication and involvement, she proved the dictum of Agnes De Mille – ‘to dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.’
The dancer, who is the founder of Srutilaya, a dance academy at Singapore for imparting ancient art forms, has also launched another institution called Samarpana for platform thinking artistes. She is an alumnus of the Singapore International Federation and a grant holder from the International Arts Council of Singapore.