Children enjoyed 'Kathakali' for the first time
“I never imagined that I would ever be able to understand Kathakali, let alone enjoy it!” A very excited Indraja was commenting to us, after watching a live performance of the traditional Kerala art form for 2 ½ hours straight!
The children of ATMA Gurukulam had an exciting and energising retreat at the ATMA Youth Camp, ‘Turning Point’, for 4 days during the December holidays. The camp was organised from 26th – 30th December 2018 at the Saraswathi Vidya Nikethan School at Chengamanadu, a flood-affected village, and was primarily aimed at supporting young students in flood-hit areas to overcome their trauma and build resilience. A 3-day dance festival was also organised during these days at the venue, to help the local people to relax and ease back into normal life.
The children of ATMA Gurukulam were given the opportunity to participate in the camp and the dance festival. There were sessions by expert trainers in areas like leadership, self-empowerment, goal setting and relationship building. The children also had Yoga training, games and group discussions.
The best part of the camp were the art workshops and performances. The children had the opportunity to interact with Dr Rajashree Warrier, eminent Bharatanatyam artiste, singer and writer. After watching her performance the previous day, with the accompaniment of live orchestra, the children were very excited to learn from her about the various nuances of the art form, and also about her personal journey as an artiste.
The same day, the children were also given an elaborate lecture- demonstration on Kathakali by a group of eminent artistes. For most of them, it was their first experience of this traditional art form of Kerala. That evening, the artistes gave a live full-fledged performance of Kathakali. The children were enthralled with the grace and beauty of the art, the exquisite music and the elaborate expressions. Being able to understand and enjoy something that they always thought was beyond their grasp – this gave the children a sense of great achievement and euphoria. They also greatly enjoyed the last day’s performance by Bharatnatyam artiste Ms Uma Govind.
The camp was a source of great joy and relaxation for the children – especially as many of them would go back to school in January right into the fray of board exam preparations.
On the one hand, the camp offered them great insights into self-development and achievement. On the other hand, it gave them a first-hand experience of Classical Art – its beauty, its elegance, and its ability to lift one’s soul into a realm of peace. It was their first experience of mature appreciation – a quality that will definitely help them evolve into sensitive and creative individuals.
Interaction with an eminent artiste