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02 Oct 2022, Edition - 2637, Sunday

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As a feminist I always look for ways to empower women – Shreya Kallingal

Harsha V.H


Age is just a number. Shreya Kallingal, the 20-year-old choreographer and costume designer of Indian classical dance performance ‘Ashtanayikas in Shakespeare’, proves just that.

Performed by Shreya and her team, Ashtanayikas features complex female characters from Shakespeare’s plays focusing on their importance and the strength they showed even in distress. The performance was given on the eve of the Queen’s birthday celebrations hosted by British Council in Coimbatore.

When asked how she came up with such a concept, Shreya said, “Being a feminist I always look for ways to empower women and show them as strong rather than fragile. So this being my first ever production, you can see feminism combined with my love for literature, acting and dance.”

Shreya started learning Bharatanatyam when she was eight years old from her guru Vidhushi Mrudula Rai. She is also trained in other traditional dance forms such as Odissi, Mohiniyattam, Kuchipudi and martial arts like Kalaripayattu. Shreya counts Dr. Padma Subramanyam and Mallika Sarabhai among those who inspire her.

Shreya did her high school from New York as part of a Rotary Youth exchange program. During her stay there, she was exposed to Western dance forms, especially contemporary dance, and now she is more into contemporary dance as it gives her the freedom to mix all dance forms.

Currently Shreya is pursuing her Honours degree in Law at Chennai and getting trained in contemporary style with Aparna Nagesh. She is also pursuing a bachelors in Bharatanatyam with SASTRA University and is part of the High Kicks all girls dance ensemble.

Talking about her future plans she says, “I would like to practice law, and along with that follow my passion and come up with four or five productions. I don’t want to make my passion my work; that actually works out phenomenally for some people but somehow I don’t think it’s for me.”

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