Dancer
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Nandika Nath Mukherjee

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It was my mother who envisioned a dancer in me. She was an excellent singer and my father used to play Tabla. This daily household euphoria of this art casted a spell on me when I was just 4 years old. She noticed me dancing Bihu (folk dance of Assam) at the same age. Sooner than expected I had quite a few fans from my family and relatives. Honestly, it moved me to dance more as a kid. My formal dance training started in Kathak at the age of 10 under the guidance of Shri Sankar Ghatak and finished my “Sangeet Bhushan” with Distinction from Pracheen Kala Kendra. He also introduced me to Rabindra Nritya (a dance form which is performed with the lyrical compositions of Guru Rabindra Nath Tagore) in which I completed my diploma. I was also fortunate to learn Uday Shankar creative dance style for a year. Along side of this dance treat, I was learning Hindustani Classical Vocal as my father thought I have a descent voice too. This helped me to acquire Senior Diploma in Hindustani Vocal from Allahabad University. Even today, I often travel back to my blissed memory lane of my childhood full-of-action days. I remember after my school exams, I used to prepare for my dance and vocal exams. It was a lot of hard work at my age and somewhere deep inside I was happy about it. I moved to Bangalore after my class 12 to focus in studies. I was an average grader, and, thanks to my friends who helped me to study and attain my degree. I was quite active in cultural activities during my college days. I was following a normal roadmap and started with a job after my higher studies. Needless to say, my focus shifted to career and after a while I realised that I was not happy what I was doing; there was definitely a vacuum. One day with courage pumped in my heart, I decided to withdraw my corporate career as a banker to follow my passion of dance. That was also the time when I met love of my life. Though I decided to follow my passion but I needed a morale push. It was him who stood with me like a pillar and kept motivating me tirelessly. Finally I restarted my dance learning and enrolled for 1 year Diploma course in Attakkalari (Bangalore) but unfortunately after learning for 3 months, I had to relocate to Gurgaon and leave the course midway. I was disheartened but was determined that there will be a way. Luckily I got scholarship to learn professionally at Danceworx and that was the first time I got introduced to western dance forms where I learned Jazz and social dancing for 2 years. I always loved Bangalore and finally had a chance to come back. I got selected in Swingers Dance Company (Bangalore) which was affiliated to Broadway Dance Centre, New York as one of the company dancers where I learned Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, Contemporary and Hip-Hop. Within a year I became one of the Instructors and Choreographers of the Company - Bangalore branch. It was an ecstasy for me! With the grace of God, my dance career got a momentum. Apart from working in company, I started working with some of the top international schools of India. I loved working with kids; they learn so much from their uncalculated outlook and innocence. If we can keep our minds fluid like them, consciously and subconsciously we can amplify our creative horizons which is a big add for any artist. I loved my life performing, teaching and choregraphing in big dance productions. I started getting opportunities to choreograph in a few short films. I was also offered to act in films and I thought to take up a few projects. I always believed new experiences makes your life rich in a broader perspective; though acting was never my calling. Luckily, one of the projects was screened in a Hollywood Film Festival and I was so happy about it. I was totally engrossed in my dance career, learning, teaching, performing and choreographing. By then, I was married to my love and many people questioned on why to dance after marriage! Many people thought it is a struggle of shifting a career from corporate to dance. They also suggested that corporate career would have been better. It never crossed my mind. In fact I never felt it was a struggle as I was enjoying my wonderful journey. Money is important but it is hardly a reason of happiness and I believed it throughout my life. May be because of that it was not a struggle for me even though I earned less in the initial days compare to my corporate career. Since my childhood I was exposed to different forms of dance and movements; my approach to dance is quite free. I can’t imagine restricting myself to only one form. Though I am a firm believer that strong foundation is equally important for both Indian and western dance forms; it builds you stronger for the journey. Exposure to different dance forms has given flexibility to my mind to explore movements from within, using the dance skills I acquired from learning. Hence, contemporary dance is one of my favourites. While being with Swingers Dance Company, gradually I started missing something in dance. I realised I was missing Kathak and other Indian dance forms. I wanted to move differently and wanted to explore that. Though learning is a continuous process but I felt all my learning since childhood are piling up inside me. I wanted to share it with the learners and world. As a part of my initial preparation, I also completed Teachers Training Certification in Yoga from Yoga Alliance. I started connecting these dots and founded DANCEA - a dance company. It is been three years I started DANCEA to impart best knowledge of dance to the learners. DANCEA got recognised quite soon after its start. It was spotted by an International TV channel and selected a few of my choreographies to telecast in their channel. We were also invited to perform in National Dance Festivals. I was overwhelmed with the kind of opportunities and work we were doing. My time was flying with a lot of exciting work, but unfortunately I had some set backs with health for which I had to take a break. Nevertheless, I did not loose the spirit of dance and I restarted with teaching and hoping this journey will have many more excitement in store. Before concluding, I thank my mother who was the first in the world to see a dancer in me. My deepest regret to loose her earlier before establishing my own dance school; wish she could see my DANCEA. I am sure she is in a better place now and watching me dancing. I am so thankful to my father who always supported my decisions and I am sure he is happy to see what I am doing. Last but not the least, I want to specially thank one person who always believed in me is my husband. Without him I could not have danced this long and so far! …………………………………………………………………………………
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