Sustrai conquers the floor with elan

Members of Sustrai during the recording of an online dance performance in Kozhikode.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Can a wheelchair-bound person burn up the dance floor?

Believe it, here is a team of girls from the city who devote their time and energy to fulfill this noble cause. Their passion is to make differently abled men and women to be part of the professional dancers’ team after proper training and build their confidence to enjoy the pleasure of art through public performances.

‘Sustrai’ is the name they have given to their unique initiative through which they proclaim that they are really ‘thieves’ who want to steal the show with some fresh steps in the art.

It was in 2019 that three girls — M. Ambili, Haritha Haridas, and Soorya Gokul — decided to join hands for the novel concept. A three-day carnival of multi-entertainment events organised in 2019 at the Institute of Palliative Medicine in Kozhikode for mobilising funds for palliative care patients ignited their thoughts of proceeding with the idea.

Soon after the fest, they came up with three experimental performances, including two online events, which gave opening for many differently abled persons to be part of professional dance performances. Remya Ganesh, a differently abled girl from Kozhikode, was the first who teamed up with Sustrai’s maiden performance.

“The dream of any differently abled person is to move the body the way their mind commands. At Sustrai, we welcome them as our team members and train them to explore their talent the way they can and take part in theme-based performances. This is truly a kind of art therapy which bolsters their confidence level,” says Ambili, a professional dancer and one of the prime movers of the initiative. A postgraduate in social work, Ambili also feels that the project really fits her dream of doing something innovative for the ignored sections.

The team members, including Haritha Haridas, a lawyer by profession, and Soorya Gokul, an engineering student, hope to take the project forward by adding more creative elements to it and increasing the number of participants. An exclusive coaching centre for differently abled dancers is their dream with the support of like-minded people. In the long run, they also believe that financially backward dancers can make it a platform for finding sustainable income.

These professional danseuses who are also trained in different art forms say they have been eagerly waiting for the end of the pandemic situation, as it has been spoiling their public performance plans. “Now, we address the void by choreographing online performances with our special team members. As on-stage programmes are more exciting, we are waiting for an improvement of the COVID-19 situation,” they say.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 12:16:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/sustrai-conquers-the-floor-with-elan/article37145169.ece

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