Mallika Sarabhai, a renowned danseuse-choreographer and Chancellor of Kerala Kalamandalam, envisions bridging the gap between traditional arts and contemporary relevance. Drawing inspiration from her experience at Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, she proposes bringing together performers of traditional arts to collaborate on new productions that appeal to modern audiences.
Mallika Sarabhai cites the example of Bhavai, a traditional folk theatre form in Gujarat, which was revitalized by Darpana by incorporating contemporary narratives. Mallika aims to replicate this approach at Kalamandalam by inviting theatre practitioners to work with performers and create short plays that address current social issues, such as women empowerment and gender stereotypes.
Mallika Sarabhai also emphasizes the importance of incorporating the body and collaborating with contemporary choreographers and theatre directors to explore the possibilities within Kathakali, a classical dance form. Mallika intends to open up admissions to Kalamandalam, encouraging students from diverse regions and backgrounds to learn traditional art forms and explore interdisciplinary subjects like anthropology and physiology of dance. She aspires to transform Kalamandalam into a dynamic institution that preserves tradition while providing a powerful language to express contemporary ideas.
Mallika plans to expose students to thought-provoking films, conduct workshops on various subjects, and foster experimentation among younger teachers. In her pursuit of inclusivity, she envisions a future where gender and caste are no barriers, even welcoming a female Thullal performer from outside Kerala. Mallika’s vision for Kalamandalam embraces change, challenges existing attitudes, and seeks to make traditional arts accessible and relevant in today’s world.