Srekala Bharath, a beautiful and busy classical dancer started dancing at the age of seven. After her arangetram at 10 under the tutelage of her guru K.J.Sarasa, she practiced intensely to acquire proficiency in vibrant Vazhuvoor style of Bharatanatyam.
Since 1979 she has been performing and conducting dance workshops in India & Abroad. Some of her notable solo and ballet thematic presentations are Kodhai Potriya Kannan, Swati Smriti, Annamayya Bhakti Manjari and Tyagaraja Vaibhavam.
Srekala has received numerous awards and titles such as " Nadanamamani" from Karthik Fine Arts, " Shiva Sakthi Natya Chintamani" from the Omkar Ashram of Pondicherry, "Bharatha Ratnam" from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Colombo, "Kalaimamani" by the Government of Tamil Nadu and the list extends. Srekala strongly believes that her guru’s guidance and her deep dedication are behind her success.
Srekala is now the secretary of ABHAI – Association of Bharatanatyam artistes of India.
A casual chat with this versatile dancer:
Q : How did you get into dance at the age of 7? Had you recognized your interest then?
A : No, it was solely due to my parents. It was their initiative. They inculcated the interest. Once I started, I enjoyed it so much.
Q : Who was your inspiration?
A : Alarmel Valli.
Q : Had you planned to be a full time professional dancer?
A : Not really. I was doing my B.A economics, when I got married to Bharat. After my son was born, I also finished my diploma in Travel and Tourism and wanted to work. My
inlaw is an artiste (vocalist) and because of her encouragement I continued with dance.
Q : Normally Indian women slowdown after the marriage. How did you manage to come this far?
A: As I told you, my break came after my marriage. I should thank my husband and in-laws for their constant encouragement and support.
Q : Does Srekala have an exclusive style?
A : I strongly believe that the fundamental element of Bharatanatyam should not be altered at any cost. in Of course, in certain adavus Srekala’s style is prevalent in hand gestures & facial expressions, strictly adhering to tradition.
Q : What is your favourite character and theme of all your programs?
A : Of course, I enjoy every bit of my program. If you want me to be very specific, I like doing Andal character in Kodai Potriya Kannan.
Tell us about your dance school.
Thejas is the name of our home and I gave the same name to my dance school. I have around 30 students and every one is a ‘laddoo’ to me. They are all so sweet. I have done salangai pooja to a French student & an arangetram of a 7yr old highly talented student.
Q : Being such a graceful artiste, you must have been flooded with offers from cine industires. Aren’t you interested?
A : I got at least 6 offers from major film producing companies including Kavithalaya.But, it is not my cup of tea.
Srekala concludes with her ‘broad and honest smile’ – the smile that makes her 20 years younger!