In episode 40 of ADOR LOVESHOTS, relish this conversation between Udit Shah - CEO of Ador Dating App and Mahima Harish - Indian Classical Dancer.
Please share a brief about you and your journey as a professional dancer and your life experience as a part of the same.
I started dancing when I was around 10 years old. For the longest time, I didn't pursue it as my profession. I did my bachelors in journalism but then I realized my love for dance. So I went ahead and pursued my masters in Bharatanatyam, after which I started dancing professionally and took it up as my career. Then, I started teaching and now I have an institute of about 80 to 90 students. I wouldn't trade this for anything else. It's been extremely fulfilling and maybe what was in store for me. This is something that I'll continue to do despite its ups and downs.
Dancing requires lots of dedication, persistence and patience; how do you manage to follow your hobby along with your daily routine?
Yes, dancing does require a lot of dedication, persistence and patience. I have an advantage of my daily routine revolving around my dancing activities. Whether it is practising, taking classes, training, researching or studying. So, my entire day revolves around it. Even my meal time depends on how much I am going to be dancing, what time I'll be dancing, etc. So, I make sure I plan my day according to when I dance, what is my practice and teaching schedule. So that way I can manage it.
If you had a chance to spend 1 hour with one professional dancer, who he/she will be?
It is a difficult question but I would go with Vyjayanthimala ma'am. I would ask her how she is doing it for so many decades and still doing it so beautifully without compromising her quality.
Why traditional dance forms like Kathak and Bharatnatyam are utmost importance for youth to learn in their initial years?
It is nice to see a lot of today's youth coming back to classical dance forms. When I was a teenager, the trend was to follow western dance forms. Classical dance forms were considered to be dull. Young people should start coming back to our roots because a lot of classical dance forms still need to be re-constructed and practised. Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniyattam are all very popular but there are a lot of not-so-popular dance forms that need attention. The youth, the energetic people of our generation need to put their energy and attention into this so that a lot more dance forms can be practised that are unfortunately getting lost.
What are the easiest ways for the youth to learn the basics of dancing from the comfort of their home i.e. online?
Ever since the pandemic hit, a lot of people have shifted to the online mode of learning which is nice because a lot of people are getting access to classes, and teachers and it has also become a lot more affordable than it was before. The easiest way is to attend the classes. Online classes are not as motivating as offline classes. It can get boring at certain times. Students have to attend more classes without giving reasons to themselves. A lot of teachers give really helpful class recordings so use them in your free time to practice and you can go a long way. I have a lot of students who started learning online and there are some students whom I haven't even met yet but they are very beautiful dancers. Learning online can be helpful if you dedicate yourself to it.
What are your tips for women who wish to balance their passion and daily routine?
The biggest tip that I would give is to plan your day so you know how much time to dedicate to art and then you will have some time left. Otherwise, you'll just go along with your day thinking you can practice but you'll be physically and mentally exhausted and hence will not be able to practice. So plan your day. See if you can allot time to dance during you first half of the day and then continue with the rest of the day. I've seen women working in IT who practice, perform, take classes and work. Thus, it is possible if you plan.
Your Top 3 favourite dancer in India?
Difficult to choose but my top 3 favourite dancers in India are Parshwanath Upadhye Anna, Praveen Sir, Shankar Anna and Shruti Akka and many more.
Fun and Rapid Fire Round on ADOR LOVESHOTS.
Udit Shah: If you had to choose between dancing in front of a 10,000 audience or dancing with any Bollywood star - what would you choose?
Mahima Harish: I would go dancing in front of a 10,000 audience.
Udit Shah: Your favourite dance form?
Mahima Harish: Bharatanatyam.
Udit Shah: Your favourite dancer in your favourite dance form?
Mahima Harish: As I mentioned earlier.
Udit Shah: Your favourite dance step?
Mahima Harish: Kuditta Metta Adavu.
Udit Shah: How a month without dancing would look like for you?
Mahima Harish: Dull I have gone months without dancing before due to injuries.