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    Friendly Fridays: Chapter 1- Nidhisha Varshney

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    October 17, 2014

    Being a content rich blog, Economy Decoded takes pride in its efforts to make the world a more knowledgeable ground! Presenting, ‘Friendly Fridays’ our mission.  A mission to build the talent map of the world. It works on the simple model of covering talented artists from across the globe, and yes you guessed it right, Every Friday. So these could be people in our immediate circle or those in our far fetched network. Their talent deserves appreciation and that’s why they are here!

    With globalization stepping in, opportunities for cultural exchange have increased tremendously. The love for ‘West’ has greatly affected our traditions and customs. In an era where our culture is often forgotten by its natives, we still see a fire that ignites in young souls. The fire to believe in one’s roots is one thing, but to be a part of it is another.

    One such soul is our first debutante on ‘Friendly Fridays’, Miss Nidhisha Varshney. A finance graduate from the University of Delhi, who left her job at a fancy Big Four to pursue her real passion in life. Having started her journey as a Kathak Dancer at the young age of 10, Nidhisha has a Visharad (Diploma) from The Pracheen Kendra Kala of Chandigarh. A classical Indian dance form, Kathak, traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathakars or storytellers.

    ED Team: Congratulations on that Beautiful Performance at the festival of Young Musicians and Dancers; it was a pleasure to watch you. Curious to know, what does Kathak mean to you?

    Nidhisha Varshney: Synonymous to bliss, Kathak is a way of life for me. Besides being my happy pill, gives me a way to connect with myself.

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    ED Team: Being in a country where a professional life at an MNC is what parents aspire for their children? Were there challenges you had to face to go against the norms?

    Nidhisha Varshney: It sure is difficult to manage work and dance together because both the fields require strong dedication and commitment but what makes it easier is the conviction that you got to do what you love. It is about the feeling of fulfilment and knowing you gave a hundred percent to the present day.

    ED Team: How is Kathak different from other Indian classical Dance forms?

    Nidhisha Varshney: Kathak is a classical dance that belongs to the northern region of India. The characteristics of this dance form are very different from other dance forms. The gestures and movements greatly differ from the above list. If you draw an analogy you can say they are different languages to read the same text. The classical seven forms such as Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi etc strengthen the diversity that we believe in.

    ED Team: What inspired you to take up Kathak?

    Nidhisha Varshney: Haha (Chuckled) This question brings memories from childhood.Years back, I went with my parents to see a classical dance performance which inspired me to take up this form of dance. The movements of the dance form and the beauty with which the dancer portrayed expressions and emotions left me spell bound and that is why I decided to pursue to this dance form. Also, My maternal and paternal family both belong to Uttar Pradesh so the Lucknow Gharana in Kathak was a natural choice.

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    ED Team: What kind of music is Kathak performed on? What are the different classifications in your performance?

    Nidhisha Varshney: There are two classifications in the Kathak dance forms,

    1. One is for portraying technicalities of dance known as the Nritta and
    2. The other is for portraying, Abhinaya (act) for example, romance between Radha-Krishna, Bhakti between Meera and Krishna, and different invocations to god known as the Nritya,

     

    ED Team: Coming to the Gharanas, how many gharanas are there in Kathak and to which gharana do you belong?  Can you tell me any distinguishing feature of your gharana?

    Nidhisha Varshney: There are 3 major gharanas in Kathak- Lucknow Gharana, Jaipur Gharana, Banaras Gharana. I belong to the Lucknow Gharana. The main distinguishing feature of the Lucknow Gharana lies within the bandishes and the footwork which is quite different from the other gharanas in Kathak.

    ED Team: What is the importance of a ‘Ghunghru’ in classical dances?

    Nidhisha Varshney: Ghunghrus accentuate the rhythmic aspects of the dance and allow complex footwork to be heard by the audience.

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    Nidhisha touching her guru’s feet after her performance

     

    ED Team: Why does the youth these days not want to take up any form of classical dance but are only interested in western forms of dance?

    Nidhisha Varshney: I believe this is not true as I have observed a keen interest developing in the youngsters of our country to pursue these classical dance forms. I have seen the excitement for this dance in the response that I receive when I perform in youth festivals across the nation.

    ED Team: What is the future of Indian Classical Dance according to you?

    Nidhisha Varshney: The Indian culture is supremely rich and the classical dance forms are a way of carrying forward our timeless traditions and culture. Youngsters are taking keen interest in this dance form not only in India but also abroad where the response from the audience across the globe is unparalleled. They are mesmerized by its grandeur.

    ED Team: Any feedback on Friendly Fridays and Team ED?

    Nidhisha Varshney: Yes, I believe this is a great initiative that you guys have undertaken and this will go a long way in contributing to the awareness of the timeless talent the world possesses. A talent map of the world is a much needed concept and platform that the globe needs.

    ED Team: I would like to ask one last question- what is your core belief in life?

    Nidhisha Varshney: Find what you love doing and give yourself to it. Everything else will fall in place, in just the right way.

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    Not only is Nidhisha a beautiful dancer, she is also a well-rounded individual. She denies all odds of numbers not gelling well with art. Finance and dance is a lethal combination. We wish her good luck in all her future endeavours.

    With this we conclude, chapter 1 of Friendly Fridays! We’re building the world’s talent map. Watch out this space every Friday to catch more inspiring people in and around us. See you soon.

    Cheers!

    Team ED

    Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.

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