'Few understand classical arts'

Even after two ankle surgeries during four years of strenuous training in Bharatanatyam, C S Veena did not give up. “My doctor had asked me to discontinue the practice and everybody else wanted me to switch to academic, but I pushed myself because I wanted to do something,” recalls Veena,  who graduated from Kalakshetra Foundation (academy for Bharatanatyam dance and Gandharvaveda music) in Chennai.

She then began to mentor students as part of her Kala Sampada foundation in
Bengaluru besides performing in various concerts across the country. “The journey of 15 years has been to discover what dance means to me.

For the past five years, I have my institute which started with just five students. Today, we have more than 150 students trained in Bharatanatyam, classical vocals and even yoga. It gives a holistic development for a student and that is why, these three streams have been chosen very consciously,” says the 40-year-old.

Enchanted by the stage owing to her mother, she decided to divert and pursue dance. “As my mother was from Kannada theatre, I used to see her dress up and perform on stage. I absolutely loved it and that is how I was getting introduced to theatre as a young kid. Somehow my inclination was more towards dance than theatre. That is how it all began,” Veena tells Metrolife.

Emphasising that delving deep into philosophy can make one understand classical art forms, Veena mentions, “Does the applause of the audience motivate or is there an energy that pulls one towards dance? That is where the philosophical insight comes to highlight that dance is not for oneself. The joy of creating something for the supreme is much beyond applause or appreciation. That is the whole beauty of our Indian art, especially classical art.”

Though she says that the younger generation is taking up the classical dance forms, she mentions that only few understand the nuances of classical art forms. “Every art form has to have the next generation taking it up. It is good to see so many youngsters taking it up as a profession. It shows that this dance form is vibrant. But not everyone can sit through one-and-a-half hour long recitals. In fact, only a few understand classical arts and that is why, there is a gap,” she says.

Highlighting the need for art appreciation courses to create a better understanding, she avers, “You need to be initiated to appreciate. A large movement to educate the audience is required. Not all events see a houseful crowd. To get people to watch your performances is a big challenge in itself. While technology including Youtube videos can help one to understand the nitty-gritties, art appreciation courses need to be in place to reach a wider audience.”

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