Interview: Spotlight On... Srishti Yuva Culture

Monday 8 February 2010 by Sarah Smith

Srishti Yuva Culture was founded in 2006 by Nina Rajarani MBE with senior members of her dance school, in response to the need for training and performance opportunities in a professional setting to prepare senior students for a professional career. The company performs the South Indian Classical dance style Bharatanatyam.

Four of these semi-professional young dancers have been performing as one of three touring youth dance companies for the Jam Free performances during February and March 2010. All four have been dancing since they were young and have been training together for at least 5 years. Srishti, the Nina Rajarani Dance School is based in Hatch End at Harrow Arts Centre and rehearsals take place every Saturday. The mornings are spent working on routines and then in the afternoon the youth group comes together to rehearse for performances and to practice more specifically, aspects such as technique and rhythm. Recent performances include Freshen Up a Fairytale at the Southbank Centre, the selection platform for U.Dance London in December 2009.

London Youth Dance caught up with young dancers Devkee, Tohral, Tulasi and Bhakti while they were preparing for a performance at Jackson’s Lane in Haringey.

Srishti Yuva Culture performing at the Southbank Centre in Freshen Up a Fairytale, December 2009.
What was your first memory of dance?
At school we used to learn dance and perform for festivals at our temple, that kind of community feeling and doing things on a special day.

Who or what inspires you?
Our dance teacher… I get a lot of spiritual inspiration. A lot of the dances have spiritual topics, so it’s like an internal thing as well, that really inspires you from God. You get your gifts from God and a lot of the dances are about these stories.

If you won the lottery how would you spend the money?
Travelling around the world… and it would pay for our dance graduation of course as that’s quite expensive. It’s the first time you perform solo a complete repertoire and it can cost a lot
of money for the tuition, the costumes, which are all very intricate, to pay for the live musicians, plus hiring the hall, photography, all the brochures. My father said I could have a wedding or dance graduation and I actually chose graduation… maybe a small wedding one day!

Srishti Yuva Culture prepare for a performance at Jackson's Lane as part fo Jam Free.

Is the glass half full or half empty?
Half full.

What 3 things could you not live without?
Dance, air and water.

If you could visit anywhere in the world where would it be?
India, South India as I’ve never been.

Theatre or cinema?
Theatre. It’s more exciting when you can see their real faces and you feel closer to the action because it’s live.

Favourite non-dance pastime?
Shopping… and delivering babies, I’m training to be a midwife and have got six months left. Although I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s my favourite pastime but it is an amazing thing.

If you could have one superpower what would it be?
Flying, it would save you so much time when travelling.

Are you enjoying the Jam Free Touring performance?
Yes it’s really nice to see all the other groups performing, they’re all so different, but each in their own style they really excel… and I don’t really get to see Street and Contemporary dancing that much. The community feeling is great, it’s nice to feel that we’re all united in dance it’s the movement that matters. It’s great that younger groups get to watch the whole performance and feel encouraged to dance.

What’s next?
We will be performing at Move It ’10 in March and the Sadler’s Wells Jam Free show of course. The Srishti touring company is going to be touring around the UK and so we are hoping to join them and perform opening acts for some of their shows. We have been taught by members of the professional company, the senior dancers, it’s great to work with people form different countries who are experts in their own fields and can be very inspirational.

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