Sankari Mridha- A digital profile
Sanjeevini Dutta investigates what we can learn about a dancer from their digital presence?
As a dancer myself, I know that one can discern the quality and strength of a dancer, even from a single image: the depth of the araimandi (half sitting in a turnout position), the angle and tension of an arm, the subtlety of expression in the eyes and on the mouth. Sankari Mridha, whom I have seen live in Nina Rajarani Dance Company’s Sevens (The Place Theatre 2 April 2022) had struck me as a fine and strong dancer. The standard of all four dancers in the production was of high quality and it would have been difficult to pick out any one as being outstanding. Their technical standard looked universally high.
With the question in mind of how a dancer can be gauged by their digital profile, I had a look into Insta postings of still images and Reels uploaded by Sankari Mridha, bharatanatyam artist. Amongst the uploads are images taken in performance with Nina Rajarani Dance Company, some by the well-known photographer Simon Richardson; there are self-choreographed pieces to popular Hindi film songs; formal bharatanatyam routines of nritta and abhinaya; pictures of her students and clips of their performances and more social images with friends.
Some stood out for me: dancing in her back garden improvising on a Krishna bhajan sung in Carnatic style, the dancer displays musicality and minimalist abhinaya. The choice of song is particularly pleasing as the melody has a sweetness and is performed over the festival of Janamastmi (Lord Krishna birthday) which gives it a particular poignancy. There are several duets with dance partner Vinod Nair performed at different temples and community venues. The duo are well coordinated and have a mutual respect and understanding.
One can also appreciate the dancer’s dedication in passing on her dance style to the next generation. There are several images of smiling students in costume and make up either before or just after their performance. I understand that Sankari holds regular bharatanatyam dance classes in Croydon as well as assisting Nina Rajarani in her Harrow school.
The fact that fitness and body conditioning is important to the dancer can be seen in her postings on park runs and splits on park benches. The importance of maintaining strength, stamina and flexibility is critical for any dancer and the fact that Shankari takes this aspect very seriously can only work in her favour.
Lastly, there are a couple of still images of arresting beauty. The image of the dancer striking the dancing Shiva- Nataraja pose on a beach at sunset, caught the eye as did the lines, “The standing shall fall, but the moving ever shall stay”.