The interplay of movement and melody that evokes emotion, Indian classical dance is a remnant of the region's close knit ties to nature and femininity. The art form holds such power that even viewing a performance transports the spectator to another realm of mythology and spirituality. Representative of the vibrant culture of India, each classical dance places special focus on creating a visual tale embellished with music, jewellery and colourful attires.
In recent times these traditional art forms have been overshadowed by their contemporary counterparts, especially in mainstream media. Changing this narrative, a young performer Naomi Namboodiripad who regularly uploads reels has mastered multiple classical dance forms such as Mohiniyattam, Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi in addition to a western classical, Ballet. After training for over 15 years, her prowess is evident in the effortless grace that emulates through each movement.
Recently her own rendition of ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ went viral where she embodies each of the natures element showcased in the animated series through dance, explaining it further “Earth and water are Bharatanatyam, air is Mohiniyattam, and fire is Kuchipudi”. The iconic opening sequence uses different martial arts techniques symbolising the four fictional elemental tribes of earth. The classical tribute was a perfect coalition between similar synergies that use nature as a medium of wisdom.
The ecstatic fusion of techno beats and classical Indian mudras (symbolic gestures and movements) present a colourful interplay of Naomi’s two different backgrounds. One that is rooted in the love of native artistry and the other dependent on her sense of belonging in a western society. The interplay of these two cultural identities shines through her internet persona that is both loud and proud.
Naomi is making space for dialogue around South Asian and Indian dance forms at a global scale. She has the ability to skillfully adapt viral melodies to form a visual treat of dance and music.
To explore her art further, you can follow her here.
If you enjoyed reading this, we also suggest: