When they talk, their fingers move, eyebrows quiver, heads sway and feet shift restlessly. Recipients of prestigious awards, they are India’s most celebrated classical dancers, and they also happen to be Delhi’s best dance teachers. But is classical dancing cool?
Kathak danseuse Shovana Narayan said, “You young people may enjoy the mall-multiplex dazzle, but there is a latent subconscious in many to know one’s own culture.”
Anjana Ghosal, a student who learned kathak from Vaswati Misra, finds it fascinating that though classical dance forms work within defined parameters, they give one the freedom to create, innovate and experiment. Divya Morghode, a B.Com student enrolled in a kathak class, added, “Classical dance helps live life and confront problems.”
Kuchipudi maestro Raja Reddy said it makes one calm, focused and at peace with oneself. Kaushalya, his dancer wife, shared a beauty tip. “A regular dance practice keeps the skin glowing,” she said. Bharatanatyam dancer Geeta Chandran said, “The day my students come to the dance class, they eat, study, and sleep better.”
Learning the ropes
The monthly fee for dance classes ranges from Rs 200 to Rs 1, 500. The chance to study under them must be exploited in a city where the mind is often stressed. The reputation of the artists need not intimidate amateurs from approaching them. “Not all aspire to be professionals,” Narayan agreed. “If nothing else, they’d become a keener audience.”