How young people in Delhi are successfully pursuing Indian classical dance studies and succeeding

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On April 7, 17-year-old Radha Sahdev will take the stage for her Bharatanatyam arangetram (stage debut at the end of formal training) and embark on a new journey as a classical dancer. A science student in her final year of school, she is just another teenager from Delhi. But what sets her apart is her ardent love for the dance form, which she pursues alongside a busy study schedule that includes school hours, homework and tuition.

The strong bond that young people like Sahdev share with their gurus, the camaraderie with friends and the passion for dancing is what makes them different. Yet, like others their age, they come to life, quite artistically. “I have been learning ballet since I was four years old. I love dancing because it has given me so much recognition – in and out of school,” Sahdev says, adding, “I don’t think I would have made it. [to follow my passion] so far if it wasn’t for my mother’s support. The science student, disciple of Pooja Kapoor, intends to make a career out of architecture and calls dance her “passion”.

Sawmya Narayanan’s Arangetram will be in August this year.

August will see another Delhi teenager, Sawmya Narayanan – a disciple of Padma Shri Geeta Chandran – perform her Bharatanatyam arangetram. “I get up at 5:30 a.m. every morning to rehearse Carnatic music for an hour, then I go to school. After school, I finish my schoolwork and attend dance classes late at night. Then I come back to finish my homework and study after dinner,” says the 16-year-old humanities student, who plans to pursue a career in Bharatanatyam or Carnatic music.

The same goes for Megha Mohan Das, 19, a disciple of Padma Shri Kanaka Srinivasan. Das performed his arangetram last March. “I’ve been learning the Vazhuvoor bani style of Bharatanatyam since I was 11. I want to keep learning, so I can carry this legacy forward because I don’t want people to forget it,” Das says.

Despite busy schedules, these young people are grateful for the discipline and passion dance has instilled in their lives. “It is rare that my course is canceled. But when that happens, I get a free hour. Otherwise, my schedule is packed, but I keep dancing because of the discipline it has brought into my life,” says Sahdev.

Megha Mohan Das recently performed her Arangetram.

The support of their friends made their journey easier. “Time management is a bit difficult. But my friends appreciate my passion and we plan our outings so that I don’t miss my rehearsals,” Narayanan shares, attributing to her teacher the reason why she really loves dancing: “My guru helps me like a friend. .

“I am closer to my guru than to any other teacher. In fact, she is like a mentor to me and I can discuss everything with her, including my studies and my career choices,” says Das, who is studying journalism and wants to pursue a doctorate in dance.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Henna Rakheja writes about the city, art and culture, for the daily Entertainment & Lifestyle supplement, HT City.
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