How Chennai’s Samarpana helps the underprivileged through Classical dance

At Samarpana trust’s Art for a Cause, child prodigy Soorya Gayathri and dance duo Renjith-Vijna are among those who will perform

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that talent aside, being a professional artiste is easier when you come from an economically well-off background. “To perform at big sabhas, it costs ₹20,000 just to book an orchestra, then there are the costs of costumes, lighting and video,” says Gayathri S, a digital marketer, and dancer. “I can afford to be a dancer because I am earning through another full-time job,” she says.

To help recognise economically underprivileged talent and bring them to the mainstream, Gayathri set up Samarpana six months ago. Ahead of a fund-raising performance at The Music Academy, she says, “It is tough for people coming from lesser privileged backgrounds to sustain their life just through dancing, even to get the stage to perform. But as artistes, it is important for them to showcase their talent, so Samarpana is an initiative to reach out to them, give remunerations and encourage them to perform.”

At the fundraiser, Art for a Cause, this weekend, she has invited duo Renjith and Vijna, child prodigy Soorya Gayathri — the 14-year-old Carnatic YouTube sensation, and performers from Sridevi Nrithyalaya. The proceeds from this performance will go to RASA. The NGO that helps children and adults with special needs is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

“We chose to partner with RASA for this because for 30 years, they have been helping people with special needs through natyashastra,” she says, adding, “The students from RASA will also be performing this weekend.” Elders from old age homes and kids from orphanages have been invited to watch the event, free of cost. Each audience member gets to take home a sapling to plant.

How Chennai’s Samarpana helps the underprivileged through Classical dance

Apart from fundraising events like these, Samarpana also picks families in remote districts of Tamil Nadu and helps them with financial, educational and medical needs. “So far we have adopted 10 families, and we help them with English, maths and computer classes,” she says.

Though the organisation has not had dance classes for the underprivileged as of yet, they plan to do so in the future. “Right now, we have collaborated with an NGO to rent out the mini hall space at Narada Gana Sabha for deserving artistes that we have identified, conduct programmes for them and offer remuneration.”

Through Samarpana, Gayathri not only hopes to give them a platform, but also promote the Classical dance form among mainstream audiences. “We curate a chamber concert series, in which a dancer performs to an intimate gathering. The dancer doesn’t follow conventional format, instead she performs on themes that are close to her heart, in a way that can be easily understood by the layman,” she says.

In the previous chamber concert, dancer Karuna Sagari had performed to Tamil Sangam poetry. “The ultimate aim of the event, along with fundraising, is nudging the public a little bit towards offering themselves to society and Nature,” says Gayathri.

Art for a Cause will be held at The Music Academy, TTK Road, on February 9, from 5 pm to 9 pm. Tickets on Contact 8248351859.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 7:09:21 PM |

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