The Kirans: Dancing together on stage as in life

Married for 25 years, Bharathanatyam dancers Kiran and Sandhya say they complete each other

Sandhya Kiran and Kiran Subramanyam.

The dance journey of Kiran and Sandhya Kiran as a couple began 30 years ago. Having performed in India and several countries abroad, the Kirans have been a part of festivals like Hampi Utsav, International Dance Alliance and many more.Graded artistes of Doordarshan, the duo are also recipients of several recognitions and awards like ‘Nritya Nipuna’, ‘Natyanjali Prashasthi’, ‘Karnataka Kalashree’, ‘Nritya Ratna’, ‘Kalaavathamsa’ and more.

They also head the dance institution ‘Rasika’ in Malleswaram, where they teach dance and also provide scholarships for deserving students.

In a candid chat with Rakshitha M N, the couple talk about their journey, dance academy and more.

Sandhya Kiran

What made you take up dance as a profession?
I started learning dance at an early age of nine. I was in a boarding school and Bharathanatyam was one of the co-curricular activities. That is how the interest developed. I had no plans of taking it up as a profession; it just happened. I have been dancing all my life now. It has been a lovely journey.

How is it to have a dancer as your life partner?
It feels great. As a couple, we have explored more of dancing than we could otherwise. We have created a unique space for ourselves by interpreting dance in ways no one has ever tried. Also, we are perfect opposites of each other, and hence, we complete each other.

A lot of dancers enter the industry at a young age, before even learning the art completely. What is your opinion on that?
The main drawback is that the dancers count their number of performances than the success rate. In my opinion, one should learn the art completely and focus on delivering it in its complete form.

Kiran Subramanyam

How has your journey as a dancer been?
I grew up surrounded by dancers and musicians. I was hesitant initially as there were not many male dancers. I was always told that I had pretty eyes and I think that somewhere encouraged me pursue dance. Another thing that motivated me was the Kamal Hassan film ‘Sagara Sangamam’. Kamal plays the role of a male Bharathanatyam dancer and it encouraged me big time. The journey has been full of ups and downs. Though there were some male dancers, none of them took it up as a profession. It was indeed a difficult choice to make but I’m glad I took to it.

About your dance academy ‘Rasika’.
‘Rasika’ is in its 29th year now. Started at a small place with about four to five students, we are now a family of 300. The school is for anyone who is passionate about dancing.

Any advice for young dancers?
Performing and practising should run parallelly. It is obvious that when one reaches a point in life, one sort of forgets one’s roots; and stops practising and learning. Be it a junior artiste or a senior artiste, one should never stop practising.

What is your take on talent hunting reality shows?
Reality shows get children very competitive and when they get competitive, their own focus shifts from learning to performing. The peer pressure is an add on. I have also counselled many students who have gone into depression because of these shows. In my opinion, parents should monitor their children’s mindsets if they enter these shows at a young age.

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