BENGALURU: Art has the ability to break barriers irrespective of ethnicity and nationality. And with their upcoming dance and music festival Beyond Borders, Natyaranjini Centre for Dance Excellence, a Singapore-based Indian dance school is attempting the same.
The event will feature Bharatanatyam performances by Meera Balasubramanian and Krithika Ramachadran, Indians who are currently based in Singapore and Malaysia, respectively. “Some years ago, Bharatanatyam dominated the Indian classical dance in Singapore. But recently, Kathak and Odissi have been taking precedence too,” says Chennai-born dancer Balasubramanian, who runs Kalpavriksha Fine Arts in Singapore.
Indian dance forms remain popular in Malaysia too, says 21-year-old Ramachadran, who was born and raised in the country, and has been learning Bharatanatyam since she was five. “The local audience is responsive towards Indian culture. They, in fact, play an important role in helping us sustain this art form here by giving us constructive feedback after each performance,” Ramachadran says.
According to MS Srilakshmi, founder of Natyaranjini Centre for Dance Excellence, Singapore, there are diverse communities – Indians, Japanese, Taiwanese, Malay and Chinese – each of whom is given a platform to explore different cultures. “During the Singapore National Day celebrations, I rendered a performance which was a combination of a Chinese classical dance and Bharatanatyam.
It was appreciated by the audience and local ministers. Cultural platforms like Kannada Sangha provide a great space to showcase talent as well as collaborate with other artistes,” says Srilakshmi, who moved to Singapore from Bengaluru in 2004. In Singapore, she conducts workshops for kids from Japanese, Taiwanese and Chinese communities. “I teach mudras like lion and deer pose, which they can relate to and use analogies instead of difficult Sanskrit terms,” she explains.
Beyond Borders will be held on July 9-10 at Seva Sadan auditorium, Malleswaram. Ganakalabhushana Vid Dr R K Padmanabha, an eminent artiste from Karnataka will be honoured with a lifetime achievement award.