“What alphabets are to a language, adavus are to Bharatanatyam,” says young classical dance exponent Sruthi Jayan, while on a visit to the state recently for a performance.
A passionate, exuberant and an expressive artiste, Sruthi, who has been part and parcel of the Kalakshetra repertoire,is even more well-known through the organisation’s Kalakshetra Bani CD volumes released recently.
“They did many screenings and finally I got selected for the advertisements,” says Sruthi. Soon after the CD release, many offers from the movie industry came chasing her, but in the dancer’s words, she turned down each one of them owing to the fact that she didn’t like the idea of her focus on dance to have a shift.
“It is at this time we can tutor, explore and discover art to the maximum. I fear the glamourous world may kill my priority in talent,” says the dancer who was a thorough disciple of Kalamandalam Husna Bhanu, Anita Jones and Methil Devika.
The artiste also had a series of opportunities to work with accomplished dance maestros like Leela Samson and Bragha Bessel. Dancing had been her passion and ambition, but Sruthi says the decreasing clan of rasikas is very disappointing.
“For anything to flourish, we need genuine encouragement. Most of the people don’t even prefer watching a classical dance performance unless it’s performed by a person of film fame. There are hardcore connoisseurs for this art form and it’s really disappointing when most of them who claim to enjoy classical arts don’t even know them. But ask them about a film artiste’s performance and they will be big-mouthed,” says Sruthi.
Ask her the qualities required to be a hardcore dancer and she has plenty to cite.
“Primarily it’s the passion itself. I was introduced to this arena by my parents. My father is a classical musician and he really wanted his daughter to be a pure artiste. Hence I grew up in an atmosphere where art engulfed everything else. At the age of three I began to attend dance classes. Even now I remember the first time I cried while practising ‘ara mandalam’. My dance teacher sent me back, asking me to come back a year later so that I can be more flexible to the dance lessons. But I was not someone who would withdraw so easily and my parents didn’t want me to either. Soon I could handle the lessons well and in no time dance became the most important thing in my life,” says Sruthi, who is also a thorough classical singer.
If there is something that can kill your passion, it’s the love for fame, she says. “Winning competitions is not the best achievement. Platforms like youth festivals can definitely boost you for the better, but make sure that the fame doesn’t trap you head to toe. Finally, what matters is your dedication and not the number of awards,” she winds up.