"Classical Dancing is a Gift From Lord Shiva" - Anupamaramakanth Rao

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1. Tell us more about your background and journey.

Life is beautiful only when we have health challenges around us. I am proud to present this truly challenging journey of mine, which has changed my life and molded me into the best.

Born into a traditional brahmin family in Bangalore, we were encouraged with very good education and extracurricular activities. As an active learner and an eager participant, I would never miss out on any opportunity of learning something new and participation, including dance.

I secured a job in the State bank of India. My husband was my backbone, who supported me in this regard. However, the journey was definitely not easy with postings, taking care of my baby girl, and traveling daily for 2 hours and many more.

2. When did you first decide you wanted to pursue dancing and how did you start?

Dancing came as an accident for me. Although it was a passion, I had never dreamt of dancing or performing post-marriage, and too after having a kid. Life gives us serious challenges at some point in time and I was not an exception to it. 

Although very capable, I could not make it happen in my career as well as other areas where I had plenty of opportunities, purely because of the family obligations I had. I just had to let opportunities flow in front of my eyes. 

Because of this, at one point in time, I was in total depression. I used to get this feeling that I was under using the powers given by destiny. The impact of this depression was so bad, that I lost hope, I lost the confidence of achieving something, I became obese and almost sick. 

My husband who noticed all this over a period of time forced me and took me for medical help, and by god's grace, the doctor said, it is only obesity. Anything more could be dangerous.

On the way back, we just passed through a dance academy, who were professionals and were renowned Bharatnatyam dancers in Mysore. I had even liked their performance at the Mysore palace, during Dasara. 

I just told my husband that I wanted to join the academy, so that, at least it would help me fight my bad situation then. Never even thinking twice, he agreed and just gave me the amount to enroll myself. I still remember that day of 8th June 2014 so well. This is how it all started.

And starting at a later age of life is definitely more challenging. People mock at you and tend to break your confidence. But, with the guidance and moral support of good gurus, hard work and dedication, cooperation from family, I could excel in this field. 

I truly realized that I was blessed with a bundle of talent only then and age is not a barrier for learning anything new. Today, nearly after 6 years of learning, when I turn back, I feel that was the stepping stone for my achievements.

3. Who is your favorite dancer and why?

I admire all the good dancers. Many yesteryear classical dancers who have turned movie stars, like Vijayanthimala Bali are too good and I admire them a lot for their energy, style as well as excellent expressions.

4. Can you throw some light on opportunities one gets as a dancer?

Setting high standards for the art itself is an invitation, which creates plenty of opportunities. The only thing is, you should know is, to choose the right ones.

5. Is formal training required or can one train themselves purely on the basis of talent? 

Formal training which comes from a well-qualified guru is very essential to understand the basics as well as the technicalities of the art, especially classical dance. Only then, the talent can be beautifully executed, with right facial expressions, body movements, footwork, and rhythm.

6. What piece of advice would you like to give to future and aspiring artists? 

Classical dance is a gift of lord shiva and shakti to mankind. You can feel the divine through this energetic form of art. Just get into it and feel the difference. Follow your dreams with hard work and dedication, because there is no shortcut to success.

7.Which was your best performance to date and why?

In 2016, we performed at Mysore palace for Navaratri. The next morning, I could see a big picture of mine in a leading daily newspaper, which I never even expected. And, it was followed by other newspapers too. I really felt that was the best performance for a lifetime.

Although there have been many satisfying performances, it means a lot when it comes to the audience and when people love you for your performance. And this was the best medicine I got, for fighting depression.

-Anupamaramakanth Rao, Mrs. India Karnataka best classical performer 2019
-Interviewed by Khushi Badarinath

- Edited by Shilpy Sharan

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