Personality Prateeksha Kashi’s experiments are focussed on the characters and themes .
L ife becomes a challenge for children whose parents are illustrious artistes as society expects them to rise up to the levels of excellence of their parents. But for Prateeksha Kashi, daughter of Kannada actor Vijay Kashi and Kuchipudi maestro Vyjayanti Kashi, her congenital talents helped her carve a niche in dance and theatre. Scintillating has been her performances on the stage. As a teacher, she grooms young talents in her mother’s institution – Shambhavi School of Dance at Koramangala, Bangalore. Recently, she was entrusted with the choreography of the teachings of philosopher J. Krishnamurthy, in Kuchipudi style for a multimedia production titled ‘Essence of Life’, a brainchild of film producer Dega Dev Kumar Reddy. The young dancer spoke at length about her career and her life’s mission. Excerpts from an interview:
Dance begins from the womb
I can claim I started dancing even before my birth. My mother told me that whenever she performed ‘Aigiri Nandini’, a composition on Devi Mahishasura Mardini, I, in her womb, used to respond! As a child, I was not keen about dance though I was exposed to it regularly at home. But once, I was watching Ramana Maharshi’s ‘Ambe’, a group production by my mother. As the performance progressed, I could not sit still on my father’s lap. I jumped on to the stage and danced along with the group to the surprise of my parents and the audience. I was only five years old then. That was the first stage performance!
There was no pressure from my parents to take to dance. I started attending mother’s classes at the age of seven, because I felt like doing so. According to my mother, I was the most indisciplined student in class. She was mother only at home; but was a strict disciplinarian in class. The training was formal and I was only one among her many students. Teaching was in the gurukul system. Gradually, I was also included in the group shows and this experience honed my talent.
Into the world of performances
Yamini Krishnamurthy was the chief guest for my arangetram, a solo kacheri.My first solo outside the state was in Aurangabad, organised by Parvathy Dutta. It catapulted me to the national scenario. I did major roles in choreographies on women such as Ambe, Sita and Renuka. Lalitha Srinivasan suggested my mother and I do mother-daughter duets. That was a turning point. Quite a lot of them are taking place now. ‘Ardhanareeswara’, ‘Paahi Paahi tarangam’ and ‘Kubja’ (in which mother acted as Kubja and I, Krishna) are worth mentioning.
My experiments with Kuchipudi are focussed on the characters and themes.But I have taken care to see that these experimentations never transgress the borders of the original format. My mission is to spread this form of dance as far as I can. I have done even workshops in Europe and in the United States.
My experiments are focussed on the characters and themes in a way that can reach the people.