Passionate about Bharatanatyam, London based Chiinthu Sarvananthan has taken on the mammoth task of breaking the stigma around dancing as an adult.
We caught up with Chiinthu – a Bharatanayam dancer, choreographer, and by day, a data protection lawyer – for a quick chat about her upcoming show Annam, that takes place this Saturday (5th Nov) at Millfield Theatre in North London.
“As many kids in my generation, my mum sent me to dance classes as a way for me to make Tamil friends, learn culture and probably have some peace at home for a few hours! I actually enjoyed learning the art form and went on to do my arangetram in 2011 – where people think the dance journey ends. But for me, my dance journey actually started here!
As I grew older I realised my dance classes were getting smaller – a lot of my dance-friends were quitting dance because of commitments like uni, work, etc. Two of the major reasons for stopping dance was because 1) they didn’t have time to commit to rehearsals and 2) social pressures and stigma around dancing as an adult. This was more of an issue for my Sri Lankan friends than my Indian friends.
I‘ve been organising no-strings-attached ‘Bharatanatyam Jam Sessions’ since 2017 which aims to connect dancers from different schools to share, explore and enjoy Bharatanatyam without the pressure of commitment and stigma. As a celebration we managed to showcase our dance drama, SkandaPuranam in 2018 with 30 dancers and recorded music by 12 musicians! Now, post-COVID our jam sessions have once again encouraged us to come together as a team of 24 adult dancers and 6 musicians to showcase Annam – a celebration of friendship through dance.
Annam started off as a project with 5 dancers and the idea of doing a small performance at a temple. It soon grew wings and we became a team of 24 dancers, with a 6-member orchestra and we booked Millfield Theatre to showcase our event! To string our classical repertoire together, and to entertain our non-classical audience, we weaved a narrative through our classical items to create a one-act show.”
There’s still time to get tickets for Annam!
Venue: Millfield Theatre, Silver Street, N18 1PJ
Date: Saturday 5th November 2022
Time: 18:30 (doors open at 18:00)
Ticket price: From £10 in advance