Samskriti to showcase traditional Indian music and dance for multi-ethnic Singapore audience: Meera Balasubramanian

Highlighting the richness of Indian culture in Singapore, youth-focussed non-profit arts organisation Kalpavriksha Fine Arts (KFA) has organised a festival ‘Samskriti – Connecting Hearts Through Arts’.

‘Samskriti’ is the latest event showcasing KFA’s commitment to connect with the Indian community in Singapore
‘Samskriti’ is the latest event showcasing KFA’s commitment to connect with the Indian community in Singapore. Photo courtesy: KFA

The goal of the event is to showcase the rich and diverse cultural heritage of India through traditional art forms, an official statement read. It will be held from August 4 to 6 at the School of the Arts (SOTA) in Singapore.

KFA was founded in 2016 by Meera Balasubramanian, Sruti Pegatraju and Shruthi Ramesh with the aspiration of bringing the youth’s perspective to the Indian dance scene in Singapore.

The trio each have accumulated over 25 years of experience in practising, performing and teaching traditional dance and have been trained in Bharatanatyam in India and Singapore, having performed extensively in many countries.

"Through the universal language of art, Samskriti aims to transcend language barriers and unite people from different cultures and backgrounds, celebrating India's rich cultural heritage through various art forms such as music, dance, literature, and more.  We bring together artists,  performers, designers, and other behind-the-scenes professionals to create something truly special that celebrates our culture,” said Meera Balasubramanian.

She added that the festival would demonstrate the power of collaboration and the transformative potential of the arts.

Meera Balasubramanian
Meera Balasubramanian, co-founder of Kalpavriksha Fine Arts, is one of the main organisers of Samskriti. Photo courtesy: KFA

The festival's programmes are divided to fall under three categories – People, Places, and Practices, with one performance emphasising each theme.

On August 4 at the SOTA Drama Theatre, the 90-minute show Mallari, falling under the Practices category, will delve into the evolution of Nadaswaram across four eras – Bhakti, Royal, Popular Media and Contemporary. It will blend the captivating allure of Nadaswaram music with the artistry of South Indian dance forms Bharatanatyam and Mohiniattam, reported the local diaspora publication ‘Tabla’.

The performance highlights the shared history and tradition between the two art forms and is a platform for young artists from the KFA and other prominent dance schools in Singapore to showcase their talents.

The Bharatanatyam will be performed by Kalpraviksha students led by Meera Balasubramanian and Omkar Arts students led by Sreedevi Sivarajasinga. The Medasvi School of Dance students, led by Haritha Haridas, will be performing the Mohiniattam, ‘Tabla’ reported.

‘Kasi – The Infinite’, a 90-minute Bharatanatyam production on August 5 at the SOTA Drama Theatre, will explore the physical and metaphysical aspects of life through intricate choreography and dance storytelling. Falling under the Places category, the performance highlights Kasi or Varanasi, a spiritual city in India and its profound influence on Indian culture. 

Choreographed by Meera, ‘Kasi – The Infinite’ will feature an ensemble of eight young and talented dancers from Singapore. It will also have a special segment – an ode to the Benares gharana – by Kathak exponent Jyotika Joshi, a member of the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society faculty.

On August 6, the final day of the festival, Isai Darbar, a two-hour Carnatic music concert, will showcase the talent and artistry of young prodigy Abhishek Raghuram in the People category at the SOTA Music Concert Hall. Embodying the spirit of India's rich musical heritage, the performance aims to captivate the audience with the intricacies of the music and the artist's passion.

Photo courtesy: KFA
Young prodigy Abhishek Raghuram will headline Isai Darbar, a two-hour Carnatic music concert, on the final day of Samskriti. Photo courtesy: KFA

‘Samskriti’ is the latest event showcasing KFA’s commitment to connect with the Indian community in Singapore, particularly the younger generation. Its stated aim is to preserve Indian culture and promote traditional art forms among the youth.