Arangetram paying homage to the rhythm of Bharatanatyam
Sutra Foundation presents ‘A Bouquet of Love’, a nurtured celebration of a dancer’s evolution
THE anchoring feature of most Indian classical dances lies in its performer. More so, when you get to know the story behind the dancer and the intention behind the dance.
“Dancing is all about enjoying yourself and not caring about who is looking at you,” said Kirthana Sukumaran.
The 17-year-old’s passion for the art form she cherishes began when her parents enrolled her in Sutra Dance Theatre when she was just 8 years old.
When met for the interview, she could be seen intensely practicing with the production team ahead of her solo show called ‘A Bouquet of Love’ at Panggung Bandaraya.
Tonight will be Kirthana’s arengetram, in which she would flaunt all her training in Bharatanatyam for the consumption of a live audience. While she started with Odissi, it is clear that transitioning between the two dance forms is of no issue for the ardent dancer.
She noted that dancing Indian classical interpretations is a great passion of hers, “because I can dance as a devotee or the divine itself.”
“What I have grown to appreciate over the years is the opportunity to learn Master Ramli’s (Datuk Ramli Ibrahim) choreography and immerse myself in his way of teaching, which I truly enjoy,” said the dancer.
“Sutra is like a family, and the kinship extends to all of my fellow dancers, especially the seniors who have helped me a lot in preparing for the big solo show – the cheers, tips, and advice that I get is priceless,” she added.
On what practices have been helpful to help maintain her stamina to carry a solo performance: “The more experienced dancers of Sutra have been boosting me up with a lot of herbal supplements to maintain my wellness.
“I’m not necessarily that healthy but I think it all boils down to mindset. As mentioned, I dance for God. Sometimes as a way to ensure I sustain throughout, I pray for the divine to come to help me in my dance.
“I think if you genuinely love to dance, you can instantaneously cope with the demands, provided there is determination and practice,” highlighted Kirthana, emphasising that interest plays a huge role indeed, “and without it, some dancers do slack off.”
Outside of the production, the teenage dancer helps train younger dancers in hopes of fulfilling her dream as a full-time dance teacher one day.
Kirthana is one of the students who benefits from Sutra’s Outreach Programme which helps foster dance and the arts directly in the community.
Although the star of the production is the dancer, the binding element that would make Kirthana’s two-night performance worthwhile is the fact that it is indeed a family affair.
Her 13-year-old sister, Mardhinee Sukumaran will take on the role of a live narrator, making the moment more memorable for the dancer.
“I am so proud of her because she was able to memorise the script in just two days,” said Kirthana.
*Taking place on August 5-6 at Panggung Bandaraya, ‘A Bouquet of Love’ is Sutra’s return to the South Indian classical dance known as Bharatanatyam, which features mainly the dance compositions of the late Guru Adyar K Lakshman.
source – The Vibes