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Posted on Friday, June 24, 2011

Dance is a demanding career, and you can never say there is an end to training in dance. It is a continuous learning process, finds Geetha Rao

You have seen them on stage, captivating everyone with their dance movements, as they tell a compelling story with their facial expressions. However, the path to a career in dance is not easy and begins young.

Poornima Ashok from Nrityanjali says, “You must start with a very good guru who will inspire you to the art and not to the dance. Initially the guru becomes the idol. You must begin at the right age 7 or 8. When you are 16-17, a teenager, you understand the sentiment of the poem accompanying the dance. The next phase is between 18-25 when you discover the beauty of dance and experiment with it. This is when you have evolved, you have your own ideas and your individuality is seen in your dance, you’ll see the dancer within dancing and not the guru, as it is till now.’’

What does it take to be a dancer? Mayuri Upadhya, Indian contemporary dancer says,” A lot of courage to take the ups and downs, since it’s emotionally challenging. You also need talent. This is what decides whether you take it up as a career or as a hobby.’’

To be a professional dancer, you need to spend time and effort, meeting people, attending festivals. “As a dancer, you must keep fit, look good, it helps to have a good face with good skin, fine bones,’’ says Poornima.

To make it your career, you must be good at any one aspect, advises Mayuri. “It could be as a choreographer, teacher, performer. Or it could be a mix of two aspects.’’

Also, one must understand that there is no direct path to a career in dance. The training never ends.

Also, as you mature as a dancer and grow in knowledge and stature, the body cannot always keep up. “Dance for the sake of dance, it cannot be your bread and butter, but there are some dancers who do very well. Corporate shows can pay around Rs 25, 000 per show,’’ offers Poornima.

According to Mayuri, start with a lot of training. “Take up all opportunities that come your way. Don’t get too choosy. Each project is different. Be open to experimenting, and be prepared to invest a lot in your training.’’

She sums up: “Dance is only one part. How you package yourself, how you network, how you document your work, how you present yourself — all these matter.’’


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