The Tamil Students Initiative held their inaugural International Women’s Day Brunch showcasing up-and-coming female performers at The Cottons in Shoreditch on 19th March 2023. The exclusively female event looked to celebrate and empower women. Featured acts included Mathura, Vinika Vara, Vyshna, Thanu and Kingston Tamil Society.
The event was hosted by Shangavi - a talented model and dancer. Shangavi has participated in both Kings of Gaana and Mega Maalai 2023, as well as recently leading her first Bharathanatyam dance workshop with Queen Mary's Tamil society.
The first performer of the night, Thanuja, is an up-and-coming dancer specializing in gaana, hip-hop and afro dance styles. She is best known for her solo dance battle in ‘Encore’ by LSE Tamil Society and iDanceStudioUK, garnering over 13,000 likes on Instagram. Thanuja’s performance at the TSI brunch featured a fusion of Tamil and Western music and her choreography pulled inspiration from a variety of dance styles. In an interview with Tamil Guardian, Thanuja explained that she was inspired by Bharatanatyam from a young age which taught her how to be more expressive before reaching out of her comfort zone and challenging herself with new dance forms.
Next to perform was singer Mathura - best known for featuring on the song ‘Anbe’ with singer Sujan and producer Jerone B. Speaking to Tamil Guardian, Mathura mentioned she was driven by her parents, family and friends’ praise and support to pursue her singing talent from a young age. Mathura progressed from singing covers on TikTok to performing on stage at Mega Maalai 2023 - Europe’s biggest student-led charity showcase of Tamil culture, dance and music. In her performance for the TSI Women’s Brunch, Mathura sang a medley of Tamil and Western Songs, as well as her section from ‘Anbe.’
The girls dance troupe from Kingston Tamil Society performed next, showcasing a classical Bharathanatyam piece.
Newcomer Vinika Vara was welcomed to her first stage performance and sang a medley of Tamil and Western songs. Being both a talented dancer and singer, Vinika is best known for her instagram and TikTok covers. Vinika discovered her talents by performing at family parties. She joined Jeya Raveendran’s dance academy before performing at Mega Maalai at the age of 15.
Last to perform was Vyshna, a talented dancer trained in Bharatanatyam since the age of four. In an interview with Tamil Guardian, Vyshna expressed her passion for Bharathantyam as a way of learning about her religion through dance. Choregreographing Bharatanatyam performances from the age of 15, Vyshna is dedicated to respecting the art form and ensuring that the essence of traditional Bharatanatyam is maintained throughout her dances. In the future, Vyshna plans on continuing to pursue her talents and experimenting with styles outside of her comfort zone.
With female empowerment being at the center of this event, the photographer, Mathusa, also had an inspiring story behind the pursuit of her passion. Mathusa started her photography journey whilst traveling, which sparked her interest in taking photos to capture intimate moments. Talking to Tamil Guardian, Mathusa said her passion for photography is driven by her entire childhood being preserved in photo albums her parents kept which stemmed from her father’s interest in photography. Mathusa said ‘I want to try something new, invent techniques, and push the boundaries of what can be achieved.’
The TSI events team expressed their pride in the success of the brunch and hope that the women who attended felt inspired and determined to pursue their talents despite any obstacles in their way.