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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

‘Pursue your passion for dance with patience’

punjab Updated: May 04, 2018 23:00 IST
Subhashree Nanda
Subhashree Nanda
Hindustan Times
Rahul and Seema Gupta performing Bharatnatyam with their students in Panchkula
Rahul and Seema Gupta performing Bharatnatyam with their students in Panchkula(Sant Arora/HT)
         

For classical dancer and dance instructor, Rahul Gupta, success and society’s acceptance did not come easily. From being a laughing stock for his classmates, to being mocked and bullied by people for what they deemed to be “girly interests,” he faced it all and came out a winner.

“I come from a conservative family, where no one encourages a male to learn dance. And as a young boy, when I first showed interest in this dance form, I was frowned upon. But for a child, it was difficult to understand as to why a boy can’t wear ghungroo and learn a classical dance form,” he says.

“They say that behind every successful man is a woman. But I was much luckier, as I have two women whom I owe my success to — my mother, Saroj, and my wife, Seema. While one gave me the courage to pursue my dreams, the other dances by my side, in perfect coordination,” says Rahul.

DANCE RUNS IN THEIR VEINS

Seema Gupta, is also a professional dancer, and excels in many dance forms including contemporary, Zumba, Salsa, Hip-hop, etc. She is a graduate in Bharatnatyam and is trained in Kalamandalam style.

Their seven-year-old son, Bharat Gupta, is showing great interest in Bharatnatyam. “Every day, he wakes up at 5am and works on his dance skills before going to school,” says Seema.

PASSING ON THE GIFT

The dancing duo runs a dance academy in Chandigarh by the name Kalalayam Dance Academy. “We have over 70 students coming to our academy in the evening. And in the morning, we teach dance to around 800 children at over 15 tricity schools,” the couple says. “We teach classical, contemporary as well as folk dance,” they add.

They have performed on many national and international platforms. They have also been to other countries for dance workshops. Their students have had exposure of international stage at Sydney, Hong Kong, the US, Middle East, Doha, Qatar, Dubai, etc. The duo is set to visit Europe in July, for a cultural programme.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

“Luckily, this has changed a great deal now. There’s more acceptance for male dancers due to better media exposure. It’s still predominantly a woman’s world, but men are gradually showing their mettle,” says Rahul.

From their personal experience, they say, “Talented and passionate youngsters, interested in different dance forms, should pursue this passion with great patience and perseverance. They should believe in themselves and most importantly show respect for dance.”

The duo adds that this is one of those domains, were respect and appreciation come gradually.