Dance is meditation for Shallu Jindal, a form that gives her strength, energy, humility and the ability to connect with the internal and external world.
The Kuchipudi danseuse was here to perform at the Pracheen Kala Kendra’s ongoing Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan at Tagore Theatre. She presented an invocatory piece, Suprabhatam, a prayer of Lord Venktesh.
Dance has been an integral part of Jindal’s life since childhood, with Kathak being the first form she embraced. “But along the way, dance left me, and I was involved with my social projects, children, home, till one day about 14 years ago, I had a chance meeting with Raja-Radha Reddy in Tirupati, and I told him how much I admired his dance. He invited me to watch him perform in Delhi and a month later, asked me when I would become his disciple. This could only be a divine force taking me back to dance,” said Jindal.
Jindal agreed that Kathak and Kuchipudi are very different dance forms and there were many challenges to face, especially ang-abhinaya and saying so much with the eyes. “My footwork was strong, but I had to work hard to be able to have the physical and mental strength to be able to excel. I believe as a performer I will always be learning. It’s a vast ocean, and you have to get whatever you can from it. I will have to come back in my next birth and continue my practice to get to the pinnacle,” she said.
Performing in major dance festivals across India and abroad, Jindal said her dance gives her the positivity and energy to do her social projects and she is taking out time to popularise Kuchipudi in other parts of India and get the youth interested in the form. “You have to sustain their interest, and so while keeping the tradition of the dance intact, I am performing Kuchipudi to Meera Bai’s bhajans, Sufi and English poetry, as well as in the language of the region where I am performing,” said Jindal.
The Jindal Centre for Arts and Culture is a project close to her heart, which is her next venture that will start soon in Delhi and Angul, Odisha. The centre in Delhi will offer training and workshops in classical dance and other forms, while the Angul academy will provide training in performing and creative arts to students.
“I hope to teach as well and make a group and develop a curriculum for Kuchipudi,” said Jindal