Kamini Manikam, daughter of an established Bharathanatyam exponent, Indira Manikyam, is very much on her journey towards the highest platforms that can be reached by a performing artiste specialising in Bharathanatyam with great choreographic talents. Presently Kamini carries out her researches in the dance form at the fifty two year old Tanjai Kamala Indira Dance School operating in the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.
The founder of Wowga Creativarium, Kamini aims at the promotion of the arts as an aspect of edutainment besides pushing through the arts the essence of compassionate living. Some of the most popular productions of Kamini include a 2014 show titled, Lipstick: Celebrating Life As One. The first series of this presentation focused on domestic violence, while the second one that followed the next year focused on gender equality and sexual assault.
Apart from her selection of dance, particularly Bharathanatyam, as the medium to create an increased awareness on such issues, the young danseuse is also on a quest to realise an ideal link between the traditional style of Bharathanatyam and the style of the younger generation. As far as Kamini is concerned, Bharathanatyam was to be made relevant besides something that the new generation could relate to; although without changing a single traditional move of the dance. She substantiates her view by pointing out the flexibility of Bharathanatyam as being possible to accord with the beat box or a Michael Jackson tune.
This initiative of Kamini has obviously stemmed from her perspective that she belonged to a generation that sandwiches artistes. As she relates her generates to that of her mother’s, which was quite traditional in nature, the need to know a way to sustain the dance form in its forward path becomes crucial. At the same time she is also required to be realistic in her approach as the exodus from the world of Bharathanatyam to that of contemporary dance was big in the present times.
Kamini is also very much concerned on the recent people turn outs as regards to Bharathanatyam stage performances. This she blames on the mindset as more and more people wanted to visit the cinemas and malls when it came to leisure in the recent times. She is also disillusioned that schools as well seldom took out children for performing arts performances. This is exactly where the dancer cum researcher calls for the cultivation of a fresh element of love for the arts in the mindset of the young generation.
Kamini, who had in 2013 received the entertainment category, World Tamil Federation Malaysian Global Award, has been recently named one of the Women Icons of Malaysia 2018 recipients. This award recognises the contributions as well as accomplishments of women in their respective fields. In 2015 she had also claimed the Veterinary Pharmaceutical Category’s MIEC Young Indian Entrepreneur’s Award. Besides, her school that was established by her mother in 1966 had entered into the Malaysian Book of Records in 2016 as the oldest dance school in Malaysia.
Just in her thirties, Kamini who deems Bharathanatyam her life’s mission rather than just another passion, is presently busy with her new production that is still in the early stages of planning. A Bharathanatyam-based dance drama titled Beauty and the Beast, this work is expected to be unique as coming with a Malaysian twist.