Indian Classical

In lockdown, young dancers of Shankarananda Kalakshetra create sketches of hope and choice

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Bharatanatyam dancer Ananda Shankar Jayant on the creative illustrations and sketches done by her students in a bid to overcome the present pandemic crisis

Idli or pizza? Sari or kurta? The choices we make depends on our mood and it also impacts our lives. “But when there is a crisis, do we crib or cope? asks Hyderabad-based renowned Bharatanatyam dancer Ananda Shankar Jayant, referring to the lockdown. In fact #Areyoucribbingorcoping will be a theme in their new initiative #MakeTheRightChoice.

The initiative was devised by Ananda with a team of students and dancers to engage in art meaningfully and spread hope and positivity. It has a series of visuals with creative illustrations and sketches done by her students, and these can be viewed on social media.

Bharatanatyam dancer-guru Ananda Shankar Jayant  
| Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

Ananda says, “This is to reiterate our necessity to make the right choice of how we handle this collective crisis, in our physical, social, emotional behaviour!” An earlier sketch depicted a little girl asking her father sitting at home to go out and fight Coronavirus. The father replies ‘I am doing exactly that honey’.

While the first two sketches came with ‘stay safe at home’ message, the next sketches will move to creative pursuits. “We have finished enough cooking and dusting and now the boredom will set in. The next prompt could be on singing on time.” The sketches made once in two days are sent to Ananda for feedback. “Most of my young students are creative and often came up with bright ideas. Why not use it to channelise them to a right cause.”

Their Instagram handle @natyarambha and their Facebook page were recently abuzz with photographs of dancers across the globe for #The5PMNamaskar online creative challenge. “We asked dancers across the world to choreograph, dance and post a one-minute jathi saying ‘namaskaram’ of gratitude. All through the Janata Curfew day, dancers across styles and people of different ages and from different cities and countries sent us many posts.”

Initiative by Shankarananda Kalakshetra

Initiative by Shankarananda Kalakshetra
| Photo Credit:
By arrangement

The aim was to inspire youngsters and artistes to enjoy their time creatively. “We wanted them to understand the magnitude of what is happening and without saying it obviously — be happy and cheerful, we just asked them to dance. That is what I have always done — dance in every kind of situation. Whenever you are down, just go and dance and tap in to your strength and the world moves to a better place.”

The team is also prompting artistes with #CreatePromptly on Instagram. “Some of my students are coming with new ideas and we are also crowdsourcing ideas for dance or non-dance related things.”

Ananda also points out they are offering Natyarambha, their Bharatanatyam practice app for free during lockdown.

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