(July 10, 2022) Many of the Indian classical dance forms have a legacy of over five thousand years. Their emotive power and graceful moves have always managed to mesmerise the audience, not just in India but also abroad. Unfortunately, in the past, these dance forms, and their exponents, went through a period of regression due to the changing socio-political scenarios of the nation. However, over the years many Indian dancers have worked tirelessly to put these forms back on stage. Today, many young Indians are not only training in various Indian classical dances, but also taking it to the international platform, and garnering much-deserved praise for it. Global Indian puts the spotlight on young artists, who are taking Indian classical dances to new heights.
Remona Evette Pereira
She was only three years old when Remona Evette Pereira’s mother first took her to a Bharatanatyam class. Although she wasn’t sure if her daughter would enjoy it, Ramona fell in love with the sound of ghungroos quite instantly. Such was her passion that Ramona went on to learn several other classical, semi-classical, and western dance forms – including Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Yakshagana.
In the last thirteen years, Ramona has done countless stage shows and bagged hundreds of trophies and mementos in innumerable competitions. The Mangaluru resident recently won the coveted Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2022 for her outstanding contributions in the field of art and culture. While giving her the award, during a virtual session, PM Modi said that young people like Ramona are the way forward for the country. During her interaction with the Prime Minister, Ramona shared that she owed a lot to her mother and family.
Currently pursuing her first year of pre-university studies at Nanthoor Padua PU College, Ramona is training under eminent classical dancer and guru, Shrividya Muralidhar. The youngster, who comes from an economically weaker family, wants to keep performing on national and international stages and spread the richness of Indian classical art.
Soon after the eminent Odissi exponent Minati Mishra finished her performance during the 2013 Odissi International to thunderous applause, the stage was taken over by a three-year-old. A beautifully-dressed Shrinika Purohit, mesmerised the audience, receiving a standing ovation. After Shrinika’s performance, Minati Mishra exclaimed that the child was “God’s gift to Odissi.”
Today, 10-year-old Bengaluru-based Shrinika has performed on various prestigious stages, including the India International Dance Festival and International Odissi Festival organized by eminent journalist and art critic Shyamahari Chakra. Not just in India, the young danseuse has done several shows in Singapore, Japan, and the USA, where she is more popularly known as the “wonder kid of Odissi”. Although she wants to continue dancing and perform on various other stages, the young kid aspires to become a scientist when she grows up.
- Follow Shrinika Purohit on Instagram
She’s fifteen and already making headlines. Vriti Gujral, an eighth-grader from New Delhi, is a Kathak dancer, who has won the hearts of many maestros. Although her journey as a dancer started when she was only six, it took a major turn in 2016, during the auditions for World Cultural Festival. Over 37,000 artists performed in Delhi during this festival, however, it was Vriti who grabbed the attention of Padma Vibhushan Pt. Birju Maharaj. She was invited to give a solo performance at the Vasantosav festival. Many great maestros of the Kathak fraternity noticed Vriti’s seven-minute-long solo performance and the young dancer was later asked to perform on several national and international stages.
Her perfection of mudras and facial expressions earned Vriti a scholarship from the Centre of Cultural Resource and Training (CCRT), India. In 2020, the youngster received the Global Child Prodigy Award, for her exceptional dancing talent in Kathak. Dreaming of becoming a professional dancer, just like her idol Pt. Birju Maharaj, Vriti wants to take Kathak to a level where today’s generation can not only enjoy it but also aspire for it.
In an industry dominated by women, Gaurav Bhatti is an emerging Kathak artist, who recently won the first Dr. Sunil Kothari Award for his graceful dancing style. A kathak dancer with the Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company – The Drishtikon Foundation, Gaurav’s tryst with dancing started as a teenager. However, for several years, the Punjab born artist couldn’t share his aspirations to become a professional dancer with his family.
Encouraged by his parents to pursue a career in science, Gaurav took up a course in visible arts in Canada. It was here that he started training under Saveeta Sharma in Ottawa, and later with gurus Lata Bakalkar in Mumbai and Aditi Mangaldas in Delhi. While he has given several stage performances, Gaurav aspires to keep innovating and discovering new methods of expression in kathak.