They danced their way into nation's heart

WINNING MOMENT

Filled with gratitude, an elated Ragini Makkar from Indore stood smiling on the stage speechlessly when she and her group from Naadyog Academy were announced winners of India’s Got Talent 5 recently.

Holding the trophy, Ragini’s expressive face could only emote the feeling of happiness and relief that enveloped her after a closely-fought battle.

“I thank you and all those who voted for us and had faith in us,” says Ragini in a voice choked with emotion and eyes welling with tears of joy as she looked back at her journey in IGT Season 5.

“It was very tough to practise for 22 hours in a day! Whatever sleep we could get in the remaining two or three hours, the thought of what to choreograph for the next act, haunted us, even in sleep. Meanwhile, someone fell ill, another had a swelling in the foot and one of my student even lost her mother. Yet we did not let our focus shift from the goal,” says the inspiring lady whose motto in life has
always been “Zid karo,
duniya badlo!”

Hailing from a “Punjabi family, nobody in seven generations previous to me had learnt Kathak,” she says. “People used to comment on my passion for this dance form but I knew that art has no reservations. I decided to do something in Kathak which would urge people to stop insulting me without having knowledge about my art,” says Ragini who not just learnt the dance but also imparted
training to young girls who came to her.

Balancing her life as a homemaker and a teacher in her hometown Ragini manages to devote herself to her dance with ease. “I give the credit for this to my gurus who have taught me that one must have a vision along with a mission. They told me ‘If you have diligence, devotion, dedication and punctuality, then no one can stop you’.”

Gaining strength from what her gurus taught her, Ragini has come a long way and believes in experimenting with the traditional art form in order to attract the youth. “This is the reason why I merged my choreography with Jazz music. Ultimately, it is about narrating a story so that even a layman  can enjoy the art,” she says and aims higher. “I want to take Naadyog to international level now and want to show the world the power of our classical dance. I want to make people feel proud of us.”

If given a chance, she even aspires to “choreograph for Bollywood movies”, but as far as the prize money is concerned, her plans are to, “set up a residential gurukul for those who want to learn Kathak. It will be a first-of-its-kind in Madhya Pradesh and will ensure that no talented student suffers the way I did,” she says with conviction.

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