Artistes await Commonwealth Games with bated breath

Artistes await Commonwealth Games with bated breath

Over a cuppa

Artistes await Commonwealth Games with bated breath

Doubts about the readiness of the infrastructure has cast clouds over the conduct of the multi-discipline event.

Athletes and organisers may be a worried about the event going through smoothly. But artistes, who are to perform at the inaugural ceremony, enthralling the audience both inside the main stadium and millions on the telly are going through their rehearsals are working hard.

Kanaka Sudhakar is a noted Bharatanatyam dancer who has personally trained over 500 students in this ancient art form, has been busy training her wards for the big event.
Initiated into dance in Colombo and Chennai, Kanaka has made the National Capital as her “Karm Bhumi”. A woman of many parts, she established Nritya Bharti, an institute of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi in 1985 and  founded SUNAINA - Society for Upliftment of National Arts of India in 1994. She runs a school for underprivileged children.

A woman of many talents, Kanaka, a qualified pharmacist, has worked on the therapeutic and beneficial effects of Indian classical dances on child development. Author of a book - ‘Indian classical Dances - The Therapeutic Advantages’ - Kanaka founded a new system “Yogic Aerobics-a system based on classical movements.” Her latest initiative is to build “an ideal education system” in which spiritual , cultural and academic training run parallel to each other.

Kanaka’s students will perform  Bharatanatyam to the tune set by music composer A R Rahman in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. Kanaka spoke to Deepak Kumar Upreti of Deccan Herald in New Delhi.


Will Bharatanatyam be showcased in next month’s Commonwealth Games (CWG)?

Yes. A bouquet of Indian classical dances would be presented in the opening ceremony on October 3. Children drawn from five schools will perform.

Will your students be on the stage at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium?

Yes. Four of my students Tripti Kalra, Rashmi Mohan, Renuka Iyer and Sandhya Hari- all them either graduates or post-graduates in Bharatanatyam will perform the theme “Tree of Knowledge” - the tune for which is set by Rahman.

How many dance forms are to entertain the audience and the sportspersons in the CWG opening ceremony ?

Except Kathakali all the Indian classical dances - Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Mohiniyattam and Manipuri will be presented. Our dance item will last for 18 to 20 minutes.

How are artistes preparing for the event? 

They are currently doing rehearsals in the Army Parade Ground. From Thursday, we are rehearsing at the JLN stadium- the venue for the opening ceremony.  On September 29, there will be a dress rehearsal before the CWG delegates.

Why do parents want their children to learn classical dance, particularly Bharatanatyam?

Well, it is not exactly that. There are more teachers in Bharatanatyam than the other dance forms. And Bharatanatyam is a dance form that is very flexible to all languages and themes with a lot of variety in movements and expressions.

What are the therapeutic uses of dance in curing ailments? What is your experience as a dancer who also happens to be a pharmacist ?

Indian classical dances act as a muscular trigger to stimulate the working of
other organ systems like the heart, lungs and brain. Due to this interdependence and their acupressure and yogic benefits, Indian classical dances act help in preventing many diseases. Even if there is an problem, say blood pressure or diabetes, the symptoms can be relieved up to a large extent. When I see patients who come to take medicines at the pharmacy counter, I see what wrong living has done to their bodies. A 30-year old looks 50. On the other hand an active classical dancer of 50 looks 30!

Do classical dances help children to be in better control of themselves and be better human beings?

Yes of course- a classical dancer, of say 18 years, with a passionate love for performing is very confident, well-groomed, well-adjusted person, able to juggle between studies, work and dance and still topping the table in all respects. She is also a very disciplined person with respect for her Guru and elders. A very controlled person indeed.

Is there a dancer in all of us, or does it have to be in one’s DNA ?

I think there is a dancer in all of us. I have seen many students belonging to families who have not been passionate about classical dances performing beautifully from the beginning.

What about taking classical dancing to smaller cities and townships (?

What a wonderful idea! I think that is a perfect way of mass propagation of art and actually uplifting the art form to greater heights.

Has the government given genuine  encouragement to dance? Do you think it should be made compulsory at the school level itself?

Well the Government of India , Ministry of culture, State academies are doing their bit to encourage dance by organising performances and festivals and  workshops. But serious steps should be taken to introduce dance in schools to help every child reap it's benefits.

What is your next goal? You seek to bring harmony in dance and education?

 My goal is to create a centre in which education and culture go hand in hand.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox