Updated: Oct 5, 2018
At the age of 2 I started mimicking dance steps when I see them on television. One day I saw someone doing Kuchipudi and what caught my eyes was the portion where the artiste was dancing on a plate. From the very next day I started stealing flat edged steel plates from the kitchen and started using it for my dance steps…of course I heard all this from my mother later in my life 😊
Seeing my passion and enthusiasm my mother wanted to put me under a dance teacher for formal training in classical dance. There was no one in my family who learnt or performed any form of dance, even though there were Carnatic musicians and violinists and that was the legacy of art I had. So, the next question was who will teach me. The dance teacher should be near my home and my parents saw a dance performance by kids in a temple in our neighborhood and found out that the teacher is nearby and runs full fledge regular dance classes where classical dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniyattam was taught. The next week a 3.5-year-old me was there in front of my first dance teacher – Smt. Kala Devi – Kala Chechi (Kala Akka/Kala Sister) as I called her. Seeing her new little student, she asked me if I have come to learn dance. My immediate answer was “Yes, I want to learn how to dance on the plate”. The teacher, her family and other senior students laughed out loud, and she consoled me saying before that we must learn many other things so that I can dance perfectly on the plate. With that agreement we started, and I was formally introduced to the world of Classical Dances.
I started with basics of Bharatanatyam and had my first stage performance at the very same temple near my home within the first year. Then on there had been so much of learning, practice and performances and I started to learn Mohiniyattam and subsequently started my first steps in Kuchipudi – which I was patiently waiting for almost 5 years by then. My childhood instincts were right, and I enjoyed learning and performing Kuchipudi more than anything else. I moved to my next Guru Sri Nanthencode Vinayachandran master who was my teacher’s Guru as well for advanced learning. Under his guidance also I continued to learn all 3 forms of dance but more passionate around Kuchipudi items and he introduced the theory part of dance to me. At the age of 10 I attended the CCRT junior scholarship review for Mohiniyattam and Kuchipudi and I was selected for the scholarship for Kuchipudi. I was very happy – I am going to get scholarship for learning dance till my age of 20 and specifically to learn Kuchipudi. I took part in various youth festivals and other competitions in Kerala and have received the “Kalathilakam” title multiple times. Apart from dance, I was a classical singer and took part in singing, recitation, fancy dress and group music in the competitions, which helped me attain maximum scores for the title.
After completing my 10th standard I decided to continue with only Kuchipudi as my academics was inviting more attention from me. I decided to pursue Kuchipudi furthermore, systematically and understanding the importance of following a Parampara (tradition) I joined Midhilalaya Dance Academy headed by Guru. V. Mythili, who was trained in Kuchipudi by the legend - Master Vempati Chinna Satyam. I brushed up all my basics aligning it to the tradition and continued learning and performing Kuchipudi in Kerala.
Later I got married to Kamani and subsequently relocated to Bangalore based on our IT profession. My daughter was born, and I took a break from performances and classes. When she started schooling, the thoughts of getting back on stage started within me and my hubby was encouraging me to learn from prominent Gurus and start teaching kids in the society we live. I started to search for Kuchipudi Gurus in Bangalore and landed in front of Guru Deepa Narayanan – Kuchipudi Parampara Foundation Bangalore. She followed the same tradition, was trained under Guru Manju Bhargavi who learnt from Master Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam.
I decided to become a dance teacher for kids. Ladies who were passionate about dancing and who could not learn or perform so far also came forward. So slowly picking up as a teacher now in and around where I live – Seegehalli, Kadugodi, Bangalore.
I have seen 4 different Gurus – each having a different style and method of teaching. The times have changed from when I started learning. Kids today look forward to you as a teacher cum
friend with whom they share any news that is important to them and you are bound to listen and give them your full attention. I want my classes to be disciplined, without spoiling the friendly atmosphere. Retaining the interest and passion in students is my responsibility.
Happily going on with my small world of little and big dancers, and looking forward for many long years of learning – both ways. Bless you my students and love you all!