Classical Indian dance artists run out of work ahead of Independence Day

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In the run up to Independence Day (15th August) many events and concerts were held every year. However due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has all been cancelled this year. Classical dance artists, who would have ample performances during this time, have run out of work owing.

Mrinalini, a Delhi based Kathak artist, says, “This time of the year used to be a pretty busy period for performing artists with several performances lined up leading to the celebration. Everything has certainly taken a hit in 2020 and not just with Independence Day but in general the performing arts community has deviated from traditional live performance setups.”

Adding that she has taken up the virtual space to connect with the audience, she says, “Not many, but I have two special performances. One is a video that I’m shooting for MyGov and another is for my alma mater - students, teachers and friends at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya.”

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Every year around Independence Day, the city is occupied with various shows and events. Artists used to gear up to take the stage and perform on patriotic themes

“I used to have at least two to three performances in the pipeline during this time but have not been approached by anyone as of now this year. Few virtual performances were performed by me but nothing specific for Independence Day,” says Shruti Kotnala, Delhi based kathak artist.

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Many have taken to virtual performances wherever it has been possible, however the scope of getting paid for these performances is tough.

Samadreeta Chanda, a Delhi based Kathak dancer, says, “I have been performing every year as we used to get shows from various organisers. This time, even if we are being approached for certain virtual performances then payment is becoming a problem. We have been asked to either perform for free or settle for less pay.”

Adding that survival is difficult in virtual mode, she says, “Presently, I am just conducting workshops during this entire week to keep up the spirit of Indian classical dancing alive among people.”

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