Touching the sky

DAZZLING DANCER

For most students, an extra-curricular activity is just another part of life. But dance means the world to Rupini, a PU student of Surana College who is a bharatanatyam performer.

The young achiever, who is visually challenged, speaks about how dance has helped her overcome her handicap and changed her outlook towards life.

“I’ve been learning dance for ten years and performing for eight years. And life has been a blessing from the time I’ve been dancing,” says the young student. Despite being visually impaired, Rupini says that this has not got in the way of her performances. “In fact, dance has helped me realise my capacities and pushed me beyond my boundaries. It has helped me become a confident individual and appreciate myself,” she says.

Rupini’s talent has taken her to many places in the country and even abroad like the United States. “I have performed in different places like Mumbai, Chennai, Kerala and all over Karnataka. In each place, I was appreciated and encouraged. None of them were stingy with words. Everyone would talk about my confidence and style of dance,” she says. 

Rupini also got the chance to perform in front of an Indian audience in 30 states in the US and says that the crowd there was the most encouraging and accepted her talent with open arms.

Rupini has learnt dance from three different gurus and can portray abhinaya at its best. “I’ve performed different pieces in semi-classical style and can also do folk forms like kolata (from Karnataka) and bhangra (from Punjab),” she says. Rupini has finished her junior-level examination in dance and is now preparing for the senior-level examination. “I know different tillanas now,” she says. 

People shower her with gifts and donations. “Many donate generously towards my education. People have been really kind to me,” she says. Rupini says that people have always encouraged her to nurture her talent and also give her feedback. 

“Some people would come and tell me that I have to perfect some of my mudras and body language during a performance and I’ve been working on them,” says the dancer.

When she started learning bharatanatyam, one of the few difficulties that she faced was to learn and perfect the art of ‘half sitting’. “My legs would ache but one gets used to it,” she says with a smile. Also certain poses like the Natraj were also a challenge but she overcame them with time. Her favourite mudra is kapitha. “This mudra represents all the goddesses,” she says.

For this young dancer, dance is a continuous stage of learning. “I want to do my masters in dance,” says Rupini and adds that her mother has been an inspiration for her. “It’s only because of my mother’s continuous support that I have reached where I am today,” she says. 

Rupini also says that the parents of handicapped students should encourage them to perform well in their areas of interest. 

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