A group of corporate women from the Millennium City recently staged their debut Kathak performance at the Epicentre, Gurgaon at a dance show titled Navagraha. In order to beat the daily pressures of work, and family obligations, these women have taken to Kathak as a way to unwind and de-stress themselves. The group comprises of nine women who come from different professional backgrounds.
When asked about how the ladies came together to learn Kathak, Minoo Phakey, general manager marketing at Dabur, says, “Our teacher Rachna Yadav also teaches my daughter. I asked her to start an adult group for those of us who wanted to learn. She found women who shared a similar interest and we started learning at her kathak studio. This is a chance for all of us to live our dream and chase our passion for Kathak.”
The debut performance, Arangetram, was based on the concept of nine planets as per Indian astronomy. Yadav shares, “The theme of this performance was Navagraha or the nine planets. I have divided all my students into nine groups. Each group had a planet assigned to them that was suitable for them depending on their age or skill. Minoo ji’s group represents Venus since the planet is of beauty.”
The group has been practising tirelessly for the last two months. Reshmi Basu, who is a consultant at Accenture, says, “Getting back to Kathak wasn’t easy. We had stiff shoulders, stiff legs and cramps. It took us 4 months to settle down. We gave up our Sundays just so we could stabilise our feet. Sometimes I wondered if I could do this but when I woke up every morning, I thought of Kathak and all these lovely women, and I was okay.”
It helped the group that most of them had learnt Kathak earlier at some point in their lives. “I am coming back to it after almost seven years. I think Kathak is very profound as a dance form. Not only is it good exercise but Kathak also brings out the beauty of our culture. It’s a good way to go back to the basics,” says Disha Saxena, owner of a cafe in Gurgaon.
However, there is a downside as well. Sapna Mehta Kedia, consultant at World Bank, says, “I have a son who is 3 years old. It gets hard when I get home late and he asks me why I’m late. It tears me apart sometimes but my husband’s support is what keeps me going.”
Other women in the group include Rina Kanchan, a consultant at TCS, designer Swati Kapoor and cosmetologist Rekha Suman.