Dance Dance

How a management course helped Vyshnavie Sainath give her art and dance school a global reach


Managing her dancing dreams: Dancer Vyshnavie Sainath pursued a management course in her quest to give her art and dance school a global reach

It was in June this year that danseuse Vyshnavie Sainath attended the Woman Entrepreneur program, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women at IIM Bangalore. A global initiative that fosters economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs all around the world with business and management education, mentoring and networking and access to capital, it reaches out to women from over 56 countries.

Vyshanavie was the only classical dancer who attended the three-month program among women entrepreneurs from sectors such as architecture, manufacturing and medicine. Having won a scholarship to the program, Vyshnavie has embarked on a three-year offline training mode wherein she will keep going back to college for lectures, technical support and expertise from her mentor and peer group.

The Bharatanatyam dancer who stumbled upon the course while planning on taking a business course a couple of years ago said that she needed a structure to ensure that her dance school grew organically which was the major premise of her going back to college. “I was looking out for a platform which would give business perspective to the classical arts. I have been running my school for eight years now and while it’s doing well, I wanted to take it to the next level, so that I can teach performing arts professionally,” she states.

The eligibility criteria for the applicants was to have their own small or medium-size enterprise (SME) or that they should be a key decision-maker in a senior leadership role with a turnover of a minimum of ₹35 lakhs per annum. The 28-year-old who was one of the youngest members of the program says that it was enriching to be a part of a diverse set of women professions. “Initially I was rather nervous but after a week I began to find my feet gradually. To be amongst a set of so many talented women who had overcome several challenges has been hugely inspiring.” she shares.

The course which was full of interactive sessions and guests lectures added a unique perspective to her vision. She adds, “For me, ) interacting with the professors, understanding perspectives of business in the IIM (B) was a great learning curve; in the course, I have addressed my challenges and identified areas where I need expertise. I’m highly motivated to scale up without diluting the quality of my teaching, especially given the fact that this is a high touch business.”

Her mentor for the course was Sunil Handa, the founder of Ekalavya Education in Ahmedabad and one of the senior professors at IIM(A). He will be mentoring Vyshanavie through her journey and help her achieve the dream of taking art globally.

Can art ever be like a startup, a business enterprise? The young dancer answers, “There is a huge shift in how we perceive things nowadays. Art has many health benefits and people should realize it has a long career, unlike sports. I have always wanted to disabuse people of the notion that classical forms are rigid; they aren’t! To attract young people, one needs to showcase that.”

Vyshanavie exemplifies the diversity in dance forms; by being a trained exponent of Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kalaripayattu as well as contemporary dance. So what was her biggest take away from her stint at the premier B-school? Many, she says, rattling off without a pause: The first and most important thing was that it gave me a lot of self-confidence. It opened me up to interesting ideas, like taking a classical curriculum to schools and inculcating the ideas in young children.”

The dancer who even took a couple of classes while doing the course signs off saying that one of the major areas of interest to her currently is to encourage older women to take up dance. “Many women who didn’t have an opportunity to dance, encourage their daughters to take it up. I tell them that they can fulfil their dreams, even as mothers. In fact, I have a couple of students who are over 40, even a 65-year-old, who has just joined. I want to increase their numbers. I also want those who learnt dance during their younger years and left it due to various reasons, to pursue it again; there is no retirement from dance.”

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 1:30:14 PM |

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