Like many arts practitioners, Odissi dancer Geethika Sree’s life drastically changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“Dance has always been a constant in my life. When I was three, my mom realised I had a natural calling for dance,” says Geethika, who is the principal dancer and administrator at Sutra Foundation (Sutra).
When the pandemic halted big social gatherings, not being able to teach classes or perform was not a good feeling for Geethika.
On the bright side, the lull brought upon by the pandemic led Sutra to begin archiving and organising their cultural treasures. This led to a treasure trove of forgotten photos and other items that would otherwise continue to languish in the storeroom.
Enter ArtsFAS, and Geethika was back in her element once again, immersed in dance.
With ArtsFAS’ support, Sutra Foundation’s project Rentak Bumi showcased Malaysia’s multi-cultural dance culture through live and virtual performances as well as webinars.
Six virtual performances of two segments each by Sutra Foundation and partners Di Dance and Dua Space Dance Theatre were held during the project. It culminated with a three-day scintillating live multi-cultural performance at the lush and sylvan surroundings of Amphi-Sutra.
Notably, in the span of 6 months Rentak Bumi provided job opportunities for over 200 individuals, all while promoting the art of traditional dance during one of the most challenging times for the sector.
Even before the pandemic, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for arts practitioners. “I hope that one day we would be able to solely rely on our art to pay our bills,” Geethika shares. In the meantime, she will continue doing what she loves and promoting traditional dance.