Social Media, Success, Insecurities and Inspiration
Two young dancers, Nitya Sriram from Singapore and Nivedha Harish from Chennai, participated in the #iamayoungdancer series this month. Read on to get a sense of what all they talked about…
The two dancers – Nitya Sriram and Nivedha Harish kicked off the conversation with the idea of competition that prevails in the world of dance right now. Nivedha, a young Bharatanatyam dancer, musician and a Harikatha practitioner and performer felt that, although there might be healthy competition amongst dancers, there is a constant sense of insecurity, angst, every now and then for dancers paving their way into the world of dance. “I’d say,” Nivedha said, “the only way to get around this is to be confident about oneself and trust your guru and the art form, at large.”
Along the same lines, Nitya moved on to discuss the notion of what constitutes as success for young dancers. “With so much content floating around freely on social media and with a steep number of dancers in the playing field and with programs and avenues, aplenty, how does one even attempt to find an answer to this question,” she wondered. “I suppose the only way forward is to be aware of this and negotiate it to lessen one’s own sense of insecurity.”
There’s also a positive side to this notion of competition, the duo agreed. “The good thing about it,” Nivedha said, “is that it allows dancers from different backgrounds, banis and parts of the world come together to create work.” Incidentally, the two dancers have also recently bagged the opportunity to work on ARISI: Rice, a production by Apsaras Arts.
Speaking of social media, both dancers agreed that that social media in itself has reached a point of saturation on so many levels. “I do think that young minds are being carried away easily with this kind of content,” Nivedha said, “And often this can lead to a sense of dilution and reduction in the attention span amongst the audience, especially with the young audience.” This apart as Nitya added, garnering an audience for in-person performances has become very hard. “Audiences seem to prefer to watch a performance from the comfort of their homes. This can never be like watching a performance live.”
The dancers also went on to discuss the onset of dance on film and spoke of how dance can be captured on camera and how this trend has caught on with many artistes. “A whole host of dancers have played around with this idea, thanks to the lockdown and the privilege of time.” They discussed Yavanika, a dance on film by Priyadarsini Govind and seemed in awe of how Priyadarsini had managed to pour so much thought and imagination into the making of the film.
Yet another interesting topic of conversation was about the body (of dancers) and the insecurities that often surround that subject. While Nivedha said she often finds a solution to this problem by believing in hard work and her own efforts, Nitya suggested that the fact of the matter is that dance is a very visual medium. She said that as young dancers, one could bring about a change by being more welcoming and less judgmental and accepting all body types.
The dancers also discussed injuries for dancers and agreed that yoga certainly helps with overall well-being for dancers, The duo also agreed that it is imperative to focus and take care of one’s mental health in addition to physical well-being.
The discussion ended with the dancers stressing the importance of holistic development for a young dancer, which involves watching performances and reflecting on them, reading, and learning from different gurus. Amen to that!