Another window opens for dancers

Mridula Anand, Bharatanatyam dancer, is lending a helping hand to young and talented dancers, who are not so lucky enough to get platforms to showcase their talent, through ‘Limited Space Limitless Hope’. She premieres this every Friday and Monday. Natyahasini speaks to Mridula Anand on her new initiative and its execution.

The Bharatanatyam dance exponent expresses that most dance platforms reach out to a limited set of artists who are able to showcase their performance in beautiful backdrops, accompanied by good music and excellent videography. “However, this is a small number of dancers who are invited repeatedly for events or discussions. A greater majority of dancers neither get the space or the platform to perform. They often have limited spaces, basic videography, and a lack of manicured stages. This is the majority. ‘Limited Spaces Limitless Hope’ tries to provide a platform to these artists as they practice and keep alive their art form in less than optimum circumstances.  This is but a small step for the narrative to change,” says the Silambam founder.

Explaining about the inaugural episode, which premiered on May 14, had two artists – Aditri and Praveena, and whether this will be the concept of ‘Limited Space Limitless Hope’, Mridula says that it is a short mini-series. “Each episode has a person from different professions and sectors noting how art has touched or enriched their life. This, I felt, was important as art should connect to everyone. Also, artists are facing a very difficult time,” she says. The dancer feels that inspirational quotes from the ancient text Thirukural touches upon adversity and facing difficulty. “This is also appropriate to all artists struggling now. Hence these two components have been included,” Mridula justifies.

Criterion for the deserved: She states that the criterion is often the challenge the dancers face – without platforms to perform and left out of the usual dialogues. “Given it’s a short mini-series, we are able to reach a few. Hopefully, this will open up more dancers to connect and help,” the dance expert says, quickly adding that dancers across India would be performing. “The region, language, and dance form are just markers for the classical arts – not dividers,” the dancer asserts.

Mridula says that premiering every Friday and Monday is the challenge in ensuring everyone who contributed has a chance to showcase what they have thought out and performed. She agrees that It involves continuous work and dedication on their part. “A small price to pay, if we want to promote arts,” she says. 

On balancing so many things, the accomplished dancer & teacher running Silambam in Hyderabad and the US, says that the love of art keeps her energetic and fuels a constant need to think, collaborate and curate. “I also teach the many facets of art such as intellectual property, public policy and technology in arts in various educational institutions. When you are very interested in something, you will automatically find the time for it (or make the time for it!),” she says with a smile. 

The dance exponent points out what one needs is more encouragement from other artists. “If you see an artist, try new things, drop a line, a like or a share. That helps them curate more. It is critical we move away from liking, commenting and sharing on posts of only a certain set of dancers’ time and again and reach out and encourage others. After all, we might have limited spaces, but we have limitless hope,” says Mridula. 

If anyone has missed the premiere, the performances are available for viewing: FB: RMT Samskruti Page, YT: bit.ly/MridulaAnand, Insta: mridu106. “Subscribing to these channels will provide more information and encourage the artists,” she says.

Dance practitioner Hari Mangalampalli says that the idea of RMT Samskruti is commendable in terms of space constraints for dancers in this pandemic times. “For a dancer, space is the most important necessity than all other things. And if that space has been taken away and limited to something lesser than that surely works otherwise on the mind and slowly diminishes the motivation and enthusiasm to even practice for self-joy,” says the Bharatanatyam dancer.

Another dance teacher, Neha has a word of praise for RMT Samskruti. “It never comes to our minds about constrained space for dancing or practicing and the joy and happiness to head towards the free space we enjoyed always when we were at our guru’s institute or the proscenium stage has suddenly shut for us since the pandemic caused havoc has cocooned us to limited space. But in due course of time, we have realised and understood that a limited space can give us solace and make us think about limitless ideas,” says Neha.

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