Something about her
- Lakshmi Girish

April 6, 2017

Dance to empower was what the show on Mohiniattam and contemporary form did, on one Sunday evening in a quiet studio in Bangalore. The poster said the show was "For Her" which was quite intriguing due to the subject matter... women empowerment through dance. The performance was in Lshva founded by dancer Rukmini Vijayakumar and had something different about the way it was crafted up. The studio gave the feel of watching live Kathakali performances in temples during good old days where one sits on the grass mostly, only here it was an enclosed space with tiled floor.

We were welcomed by the contemporary performer Diniz Sanchez from Portugal dressed in layers of black veil and a black fluffy skirt (the Tu Tu) with bright coloured bangles in one hand. He sang a song of her....a widow associated with all the stigmas of the society portrayed in the black veil. We watched it more out of curiosity and must say that it was a lot of deviation from the normal contemporary style of dancing.

Then came the performer and she appeared as if she had just stepped out of a Ravi Varma masterpiece. So captivating was her presence in that small studio that one forgot all the discomforts of having to sit on the floor with no back rest. Shruthi KP was made for Mohiniattam and the costume and jewellery only accentuated it. Taamara Foundation was her dream and she was raising funds for it. From what she said about her performances for the evening something indicated that the last part would be something that would be remarkable, the "mookuthi" or the nose ring!! Did not in the least fathom how an insignificant nose ring can empower a woman! Though my background of dance helped, my friends who are just dance lovers understood every bit of it and could feel the intensity, power and the inner strength of the last piece. The only times where there is even a lump in my throat is for the few emotional scenes of Big B on the screen, while watching a live Kathakali performance evokes a feeling of awe. The mookuthi piece was so beautifully portrayed that even after we left the place, intense emotions engulfed the not so expressive soul of mine. The nose ring led her to discover herself and her might. The lighter side was I felt I should pierce my nose and wear a nose ring just to feel the strength and the power.

Though the last piece completely stole the show, the pieces on Krishna leela and the Kurathi dance dedicated to Devi were equally captivating. What was captivating in the song "polika polika" was the flow of emotions and the expressions not any less than watching a character in a movie or play. Something about Shruthi and the way she brought in those emotions was quite different. She was living the character or characters on stage, and thatís what made the difference. She definitely made her Guru Nirmala Panicker to whom she paid homage, feel proud and happy.

Shruthi also showcased the talents of her dedicated students. The technical cholkettu, jathiswaram and the navarasanjali done by her students Jyothi, Parvathy and Divya, was a trip down memory lane to the dance school in Kerala. On the whole after the performance, a stronger discovery of inner self had me wanting to get back to dance as soon as possible.