Rima’s dance journey began as early as when she was 4 years old. Little did she know that these first little dance steps she took would set the rhythm and course of her life in the years to come.
She did her arangetram in Bharatanatyam and Mohiniyattam under Kalamandalam Ranganayaki in Thrissur,Kerala. But before long, a second evolutionary stage in her dance career was to appear when she moved to Bangalore for higher studies. She had the opportunity of meeting Mayuri Upadhya and Madhuri Upadhya , reputed choreographers and founders of Nritarutya Dance company, who introduced her to world of contemporary dance.
Her 4 year stint with Nritarutya saw her performing, training and choreographing a wide array of world dance styles that also included various martial art genres.
This short but eventful journey took her to the third evolutionary stage of her life as a dancer. It led to the thought of wanting to create a space of her own in her homeland of Kerala; a space in which to experiment and explore her individual perceptions.
And this was how Mamangam came to be.
Mamangam was the offspring of an idea that took root in Rimas’s mind in her early dancing days.
The name was inspired by the legacy of a great ‘festival of thought and culture’ that used to be held in Kerala during the reign of the Kulashekaras. Dating back to the 14th century, it was a ‘summit of ideas’ that was held every 12 years for 28 days on the banks of one of Kerala’s most celebtated rivers – the Bharathapuzha – which features prominently in its history and mythology.
This unique festival witnessed a great confluence of artists, pilgrims, merchants, athletes, scholars and experts from around the world who came to discuss and share developments and innovations in the fields of art, architecture, agriculture, athletics, economy and culture. It was a testimony to the intellectual openness and democracy of the times, making for cultural cross pollination and knowledge sharing of a high order.
This historical event offered the spark for a re-visioning of the practice, performance and understanding of dance forms inspired both by the traditional and the modern, the native and the global. It gave birth to Mamangam!.
Mamangam was conceived by Rima as more than just a center for the learning and propagation of various dance forms. It is meant to be a space that brings together and unites like minded people in a shared love for art, and dance in particular. It is a place that nurtures your talent while letting you explore and claim your personhood in the process. For isn’t this is the highest purpose of art ?
Mamangam’s agenda is a simple one and reveals the heart of its mission. They are reflected in the following tenets.