Vyjayanthi Kashi talks about the joy of rediscovering dance and how she tries to live each role she plays
A dancer, therapist and a brilliant choreographer, who has a voracious appetite for everything intellectual, Vyjayanthi Kashi, is one of the most exciting faces in the art world. Other than being the chairperson of the Karnataka Sangeeta Nritya Academy, she also runs, Shambhavi Dance Theatre, her dance studio in Kengeri. What's more, her work has been featured in several international festivals.
The proficient artist, who moved into the neighbourhood a couple of years ago, feels that the rate of development in the locality has been gradual. “With so many important institutions in the neighbourhood, I expected Kengeri to witness more growth. When compared to other areas in the city, the growth has been rather slow,” says Vyjayanthi. The slow pace of growth, however, has not lessened her love for the area.
After having lived the busy city life, she says, she prefers the solitude and peace that this locality offers.
“I love gardening and there is no other place where I can pursue this hobby at peace. Over time, I have developed an affinity for Kengeri and it has become my comfort zone. Travelling during peak hours is a problem, but this is not unique to Kengeri,” she says. This fiery artist, first performed at the age of 13 for the Governor, and thus began her foray into dance. “I was rewarded a gold chain for my first performance and it was very exciting,” she recalls.
Dance, however, was not her first choice. She initially wanted to become a theatre actor. Vyjayanthi even dabbled with banking and had a regular job at Corporation Bank.
“It was my parents' dream that I be a dancer. I was rebellious and at 15, I stopped dancing and took up acting and then became a banker. It is only when you miss something that you realise how much you like it. That's when I knew I loved dancing and discovered how I feel complete when I dance. Once a dancer, you are always a dancer,” she says with a hint of nostalgia.
When asked about her favourite performance, the artist says that she loves all of them.
“I love all my performances and roles and feel almost triumphant at the end of it. When I realised that my performance touches people, my commitment towards dance became stronger. I live the roles I play and each time I learn and rediscover so many things!”
The social worker
She has taken up ‘dance therapy' as a means to help the underprivileged and those who are mentally challenged.
Her dance studio at Kengeri has eight such children coming in for sessions. “Some of them are introverts. This therapy helps build confidence and dance helps them express their feelings. When groomed properly, you realise that each one of them is a bundle of talent,” says Vyjayanthi.
Shambhavi Dance Theatre, a place for dance, music and theatre, is Vyjayanthi's brainchild. “We have a one-year programme called Arts Masti, where we teach children music, dance, painting and yoga. At the end of the course, we have a show where they perform or exhibit what they've been taught. This is a big source of encouragement for them,” she adds.