Arun Lakshman/ Chennai
The transgender community has a natural flair for dance and music and to help them provide professional training in dance, a school exclusively for the transgender community has started functioning in Chennai.
The dance school is an initiative of the Sri Sathya Sai Orphanage Trust, Kerala, and Sahodaran Foundation an NGO working for LGBTQA+ rights.
According to the organizers, the dance school will initially teach Bharatanatyam and later other forms of dances. The formal inauguration was done on Tuesday, May 31 in which Chennai Mayor Priya participated.
Dr. C. Sunil Menon, founder of the Sahodaran foundation while speaking to IANS said, “ This will be an initiative for the transgender people to express their talents. The Sathya Sai Trust has already opened a similar dance academy exclusively for transgenders in Kerala some months ago. We are natural performers and born entertainers. We have natural performers and trained dancers like Dr. Narthaki Nataraj and Mallika Panicker and had made a name for the transgender community.”
The training conducted by the Sri Sathya Sai Orphanage Trust and Sahodran foundation is free of cost and already ten people from transgender community have joined the training which commenced on Sunday.
Dr. Sunil Menon told IANS that the dance training is done by Guru Shanmugham a trained dance teacher.
He also said that more than anything else the technical training in Bharatanatyam will lead to mental relaxation for the trans students who have enrolled in the programme.
K.N. Anandakumar founder and Chairman of Sri Sathya Sai orphanage Trust which has been doing yeoman service in Kerala in the social fields, while speaking to IANS said, “ We thought that the initiative would help the people from the transgender community learn the nuances of Bharatanatyam that would make them trained professional dancers. We have joined hands with the Sahodaran foundation and are working among the transgender community for the past several years.”
Sunil Menon said “Based on the interest of the students who are learning Bharatanatyam we will try and teach other dance forms as well in the days to come. The problem with the community is keeping time and maintaining discipline and it will take time for them to fall in the grove and into a routine.”
He said that to start with classes would be held once in a week and will be extended later with online classes also chipping in.