My Top 10 Female Inspirations

By Anaya Bolar.

Draupadi: This legendary princess from great epic The Mahabharata has so many qualities that have inspired me. Draupadi was a fierce and strong character who questioned everything. She never allowed any form of injustice to slide. She was a fearless character who charged forward with her head held high and without any apologies.

Rosa Parks: For seven years, I attended an all-girls school. We followed a house system, each named after inspirational women throughout history. Mine was named after this woman who started a revolution. Rosa Parks was tired of giving in and accepting racist treatment, so stood up for what was right and what she believed in.

Audrey Hepburn: I had once read about the life of Audrey Hepburn and was simply moved to tears. As a young child she was affected by the war, but continued to pursue her dreams in the arts. The actress was someone who had so much love in her heart that she used her fame and influence to improve lives of children who were struggling.

Evelyn Glennie: She is a famous multiple awardwinning percussionist, despite having lost her hearing by the age of 12. Her story taught me that nothing can get in the way of your passion. The acclaimed musician found ways to hear without the use of her ears, signifying that there is always a way to achieve. As well as this, she is also someone who was influenced and inspired by her family and culture.

Lady Gaga: Growing up, I was very different to other children. At some point I thought that it was a bad thing, but then hearing Lady Gaga talk about her art and how she conveys her emotions and turns them into something iconic, changed everything. By embracing her honest self, she also taught me about the many layers of beauty in a
person, which comes from being true to yourself.

Rukmini Vijayakumar: A graceful bharatanatyam exponent. Recently when I started seeing her work, I became more inspired to be braver about experimenting with movement. Previously, I would always be very hesitant to want to explore choreography, but after watching her content and attending her workshop, I got to understand the
process more. It really inspired me.

Mae West: An incredibly talented actress in the 1930s. The characters she portrayed were timeless, liberated and hilarious. A woman ahead of her time, she was well-known for her controversy, but she was fearless and her audiences adored that. She did not let anything or anyone hinder her art.

Malavika Sarukkai: As a child, my mother and I attended a double bill show where Smt Malavika Sarukkai was opening. After watching her show, I developed an even deeper appreciation for bharatanatyam. I was inspired to work harder and dance better in order to achieve my own version of the grace and beauty I observed on that stage.

Priyadharshini Govind: Back when I was 14, I attended a course called Dance Intense Toronto. We got to learn from some of the most amazing dancers in their field. For bharatanatyam, we got to work with Smt Priyadharshini Govind and one lesson that especially stuck out for me was – we should find ways to bring our own personalities into our dance. That is what I strive to do with my dance.

My mother, Chitraleka Bolar: Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have my mother as my dance teacher. She taught me many things about life. She gave me culture, dance and a love for the arts. She continues to inspire me with her hard work and immense kindness. She taught me patience (you need a lot of patience, especially to teach your own daughter). She passed onto me the passion for gathering and sharing knowledge with
future generations.

  • Anaya Bolar has been trained in bharatanatyam since the age of five and her many achievements include being a category finalist on BBC Young Dancer. Instagram @anayavasudha_dance & Facebook: Anaya Vasudha Dance.