Social media has been aflutter over the past month, with several classical dancers posting photos of their noteworthy performances and moments on stage with the hashtag #natyamheals.
For Singapore-based Sathvikaa Shankar, it was a moment to recall the role dance played in her life. “While performing, it is very easy to forget your troubles of the day. Dance is a welcome break in everyday life, and it acts as a stressbuster for me. Following the birth of my child, I have been asked not to practice, and so the challenge means all the more to me now,” said Shankar.
But it is not all so serious, said 26-year-old Sarveshan Kumar, who said that he took part in the challenge on a whim. “I had free time, so I decided to post. With Instagram proving to be an effective tool, it’s nice to look back on the performances I’ve done, at a time when things were simpler. It helps me refocus on my future now,” he said.
For 24-year-old Shruthipriya, the challenge is an opportunity to relive her most favoured aspect of natyam – bhava, or the emotions experienced by the performer.
“The songs we perform are a composer’s interpretation of a character. I really want to do justice to the character, but I am performing the composer’s version of the character. Thus, it is important that I try to convey what the composer said accurately,” she said. However, this emotion is only relived by her, not the people on social media, unlike during a performance, where the audience can experience the emotions as well.
It is also a chance to remember the hard work behind their performances, said Shankar. However, Kumar explained that the pictures are not enough to describe what goes backstage and into a performance, as many performers are hesitant to share this with the public.