Monday, September 15, 2008

VIJAY SWIMS AGAINST THE TIDE

In today’s world of Michael Jackson and Spice Girls, it is amazing to find the youngster who has been promoting and prorogating Indian classical dances in schools and colleges, universities and organizations all over India since 1988, we are talking about accomplished Kuchipudi & Kathakali exponent Guru Vijay Shankar who is credited for his presentations. In an interview with RAJENDRA GANOTRA Vijay Shankar reveals as to how he is able to take classical dance to the grass root level and much more

In the year 1988 Guru Vijay Shankar was invited by the Aurobindo Education Society to participate in the national integration camp in Nainital (UP) in order to present lecture demonstration on Indian classical dancing. This was the first time that Vijay was invited to present a lecture demonstration for students who had gathered from all over India. Fortunately Vijay was surprised at the wonderful response he received while demonstrating the subtle nuances of seven classical dance styles of India, namely Bharat Natyam , Kuchipudi,Kathakali,Mohinattam ,Odissi,Manipuri and Kathak .Since than Vijay Shankar has presented several lectures demonstration for various institutes all over India and it has been quite a difficult task with hardly any monetary support from any quarter. Initially Vijay shankar used to present free lecture demonstrations but it was becoming a difficult proposition for him to maintain all expenses which includes travelling to various cities. Vijay raised that unless you charge a profession fees you don’t get the respect you deserved. Vijay says ‘I remember in the early nineties a reputed school invited me for the second time to present a lecture demonstration, as they were very happy with my performance’ I agreed to perform for the second time. The principal promised me that she would pay me the same money which she paid me for the first time but she failed to keep up her promise and paid me a lesser amount. I told her that if your school is going through financial trouble than please accepts my fees toward donation for the school. I told the principal if you don’t respect me it all right but you must respect the classical dance as it divine and I am a representative of this great art form of India

Surprisingly when Vijay Shankar approaches any school or collage for a presentation they bluntly refuses with the pretext of not being interested in classical dances. Vijay Shankar politely convinces them and it is surprising that the same Principal is all praise for him after witnessing his performance .Vijay Shanker”s lecture and demonstration lasts for almost two hours which includes a fifteen minutes questions and answers sessions where students come up with strange stupid and intelligent question like which classical dance is most difficult and why or who is the originator of Kuchipudi dance , Vijay’s performances are so well received by students that he is mobbed by students for his autograph. Vijay loves the attention and the loved that he receives from his audiences which mainly compromises children and students .Vijay vividly remembers that once he was invited by Shamak Daver Institute Of Performing Arts for a classical session which students of Shamak Daver who learns western dance . Vijay receives wonderful response from his students and was kissed by each and every child after the performance .Vijay feels that this is the greatest award that he has ever received .

Normally it is felled that classical dance is meant only for female students. Vijay narrated to me as to how he approached ST Anne’s Girls High school at Borivali and was refused, on the contrary Don Bosco School which is an exclusive boys school welcomed his presentation and the then Principal Father Anaclete said “my boys would be thrilled to watch a male classical dancer as this is the first time that we would be having an exposition of this kind”. While performing for Cochin University of Ship Technology which was organized by Cochin students union Vijay got the chanced to meet the Vice Chancellor of University Vijay feels it is happiness which is more important than money as happiness cannot be purchased, it has to be experienced.

Normally children and youth are not interested in classical dances hence Vijay feels it is his duty to present lecture demonstration on Indian classical dancing. Vijay promotes national integration and global peace through classical dances by demonstrating the varied facets of dance. All classical dances are based on the philosophy establishing the interrelationship between the divine soul (Parmatma) and the human soul (Jeevatma). Similar we Indians hail from different states but belong to our country India. This is the message which Vijay Shankar presents through classical dance, hence national integration. It is Vijay Shanker’s desire to perform for children; students all over India, pariturally in schools where they have no exposure to classical dance what so ever. Vijay Shankar truly deserves a national Integration award!