Unaffected, Insatiable and Passionate – The Soul of a Kathak Dancer – Reshmi Nair

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Simple, uncomplicated and joyful is Reshmi Nair; a Kathak dancer born and raised in the US but inherently a graceful Indian with humble respect and awe of Indian traditions and culture.

She started her dance classes when she was just a cute four year old. Her parents, away from India, wanted her to be in touch with her Indian heritage in the midst of the culture surrounding them in New York. New York may be a lane for a fast life, but for Reshmi her dance life in New York was 13 years long, sincere, and of great fortitude. After her initial dance lessons in Noopura Institute of Classical Dance in NY she came to India to pursue higher studies in dance.

The moment I enter the dance studio, I leave my problems out the door. The moment I tie my ghunguroos, my mind is focused only on the next few hours.”

In India Reshmi practised her lilting movements and got certified in Mohiniyattam, Kalakshetra, Bharatanatyam, while she formally graduated from the Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography which is affiliated to Bangalore University.

Reshmi’s passion for dancing flows out from every nerve ending in her. She says, “To me, dancing (especially Kathak), is my safe zone. The moment I enter the dance studio, I leave my problems out the door. The moment I tie my ghunguroos, my mind is focused only on the next few hours.”

There are a few who questioned my future in regards to money when I wanted to go to India and study classical dance and now the same few are the ones that are asking me to perform for free.”

Reshmi Nair Few would question her passion but many did comment on her choice of dancing as a profession, Reshmi though kept her head held high because today they are the ones patronising her for a session, she says, “There are a few who questioned my future in regards to money when I wanted to go to India and study classical dance and now the same few are the ones that are asking me to perform for free.”

Right now, I’ve reached a point where I do occasionally fall back on my insecurities but I continuously remind myself to be grateful for what God has given me.”

This wasn’t just the only criticism she had to cross over, there were those who even body shamed her saying she didn’t have a physique for a classical dancer. Her tall and lithesome figure came under a lot of scrutiny in NY and her insecurities grew, “Insecurity, maintaining a certain body image, having to listen to others tell you how you should be looking as a dancer. It’s tough! In New York, it’s even harsher because the media continuously throws the ‘perfect image’ in your face every day,” says Reshmi. It is not as easy as they make it sound in the advertisements to get over one’s anxieties, and with genuine earnestness Reshmi says, “Right now, I’ve reached a point where I do occasionally fall back on my insecurities but I continuously remind myself to be grateful for what God has given me.”

Yes, there are wonderful teachers in America as well but learning dance in India surrounded by its rich culture is a one of a kind experience. I wouldn’t trade the years for anything.”

Reshmi Nair Once in India, Reshmi expresses that leaving India to return home was one of the hardest choices she had to make, she says, “I spent 10 years there and I had to choose between continuing my education/work or to return home to NY, be with my family and start my career there. Yes, there are wonderful teachers in America as well but learning dance in India surrounded by its rich culture is a one of a kind experience. I wouldn’t trade the years for anything”

Reshmi Nair is a fascinating concoction of unadulterated passion, earthy sincerity and awe-inspiring gracefulness. There are few on earth who are ever so devoted to their passion, who have that quiet strength to carry on while rest of the world tries to cast shadows along the way. But with a winsome attitude she says, “I want to travel the world through my dance. Converse using dance with other art forms from all around the globe. I want to see them unite, blend, explode and then explore the new movements that arise from them. I can’t wait for this to happen!” How sweet her candour feels; to have such delight and sunshine in one’s soul.

Make a list – What you MUST have, SHOULD have, COULD have, what you WISH for and WHEN you want it by. Start prioritizing and figuring out what you need to do to reach those goals.”

Perhaps that is why her artistry urges her to perform on various platforms, and fill that insatiable dancing soul of hers. It would be a sorry affair to see a soft yet sunny light like Reshmi’s art snuffed out with criticisms. It would be an even sorrier affair to witness people not being as bold as her and following their passion and being happy. After all we all deserve to be happy, and who knows how to be happy than ourselves.

Hence by Reshmi’s own words, “Don’t hold back. Ask questions, take risks, just get out there and do it! Make a list- What you MUST have, SHOULD have, COULD have, what you WISH for and WHEN you want it by. Start prioritizing and figuring out what you need to do to reach those goals.”

So smile as you make your way towards that dream of yours and say to yourself just as Reshmi says “Life is all about looking back at your memories. I want to be able to look back and say, “Wow! Did I really do that?!”

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