Mangaluru, June 1,2017: A report received spells out ’Nrityaangan. Mangaluru’ interestingly creating an indelible mark on the cultural canvas in and around Mangaluru. Embarking on a new journey - ’Jnana Vaahini’. This is a novel attempt by ’Nrityaangan’ to spread the awareness about the Indian classical art forms to young children and the underprivileged. Founder-director Radhika Shetty, who is a reputed Bharatanatyam performer herself is the brain behind this generpus effort.
An initiative that began in the later half of 2016, Jnana Vaahini comprises of a lecture-demonstration session by a performer associated with the programme at one of the local schools or orphanages. The session usually lasts 45-60 minutes and addresses children in the age group of 11- 14 years. Most of the sessions begin with a round of questions related to the Indian classical arts as an attempt to assess the awareness of the students in this area. The students responses to the questions usually set the scene for further interaction. This is followed by a couple of dance performances including depicting popular stories from the epics. Students are encouraged to convey their understanding of the performances. There is also an attempt to convey the message that dance is a form of expression and can convey any story, not just mythological stories. Modern concepts such as the Swachh Bharat mission, etc are also depicted using dance. The session concludes with more questions and answers; this time the audience has the opportunity to quiz the performer.
After completing the Jnana Vaahini sessions successfully at 3 schools in Mangaluru city, Nrityaangan, true to its mission, recently presented two sessions in Udupi: first session was held at the Govt. Children ’s home for Girls, Nittur, Udupi and the second one was held at the Spandana Care home for the mentally challenged, Santhekatte, Udupi. Iktara, a group of volunteer students from Udupi, partnered Nrityaangan in organising these two sessions. The girls at the government-run Children’s home in Nittur were very enthusiastic about the performance and the session, actively interacting with the performer throughout the session. Aged between 6 and 15 years, the group of about 30 were keen to learn more about the Indian dances and requested if such sessions were conducted on a regular basis by different performers, which was very encouraging for the artiste as well as the volunteering organisation.
The inmates of the Spandana care home were treated to a couple of dance performances followed by a quiz where the artiste depicted different animals and birds using dance postures and expressions, as the audience guessed. “The child-like enthusiasm of the inmates was so heartening that it made the whole experience worthwhile and satisfying”, exclaimed Radhika Shetty, after the performance.
Nrityaangan looks forward to take Jnana Vaahini programme to more schools in and around Mangaluru over the next academic year that starts in June. The programme is currently run with a shoestring budget and funded internally. Nrityaangan is actively looking to partner with like-minded sponsors, whether individuals or organisations who may want to associate with them for nurturing this series; this beautiful initiative to spread the awareness of the arts among the younger generation.