Dance never discriminates

Surendra Pradhan

My father as a Mridanga player asked me which line of art I wanted to follow and I chose Odissi. From class 1st to 10th I was in Konark Natya Mandap where we learnt gotipua all days and odissi on sundays. The gracefulness and the pallavi aspect of Odissi attracts me due to its crescendo like music. I had heard about Guruji since my childhood. As the question started coming up towards the end of my college about what I wanted to do in life, I decided to come to rudrakshya knowing that the daily practice happens in the strictest form.

Performing on stage can be a perfect visual only if backed by unconditional practice and foundation. What I find unique about Guruji is that his style is independent yet fully grounded with nuances of odissi. Because of the friendly atmosphere I found here, it made learning all the more lucrative for me as there was no boundary of fear in the Guru - Shishya Relationship. From this Gurukul experience since my childhood, I always learnt from my gurus that no matter where we are in the world, we should follow the principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and treat everyone as family.

As I teach, I have realised that I in fact ‘learn to teach’. If I am not able to impart this art in a way that interests the younger generation or make any dancer look forward to learning, then there is no point. There always needs to be a balance between curiosity to learn and patience to learn and I try to practice and impart such a balance always. The feeling of family needs to propagate within the dance industry in order to represent all the work of different gurus, different styles as integrated. Dance never discriminates.

Whether one is from a wealthy background or no, everyone needs to follow a path and discipline to become a perfect dancer. With so many innovations taking place in the dance form we should always re-check the innovations with the rules that initially classified odissi as a classical dance. Lastly I would like to say that Practice is not a result of interest, interest is a result of practice. Digging a single deep hole would ultimately hold more water than a hundred small holes.

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