Rare few are born artists, most are trained to hone and polish their raw capabilities. Matangi Prasan is one such person who today is a nationally admired eclectic dancer, choreographer and Kannada film actor. She has trained her mind and body to experience the fullness of all that art has to offer.
I have never believed that I am a born dancer. I am a trained dancer. Achieving in academics was something I could do very easily.”
An accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer, Matangi’s training began when she was four and since then she has been keeping her dance as priority. Coming from a simple middle-class family Matangi says that her need to do great artistic things built in her, and so as a brilliant student who had a chance to do her MBA in one of the top business schools, she chose to instead continue with her dance. She explains, “Around the same time I got a call from IIM-Kozhikode and a seat in some very good MBA colleges, my first US tour with a popular dance troupe also got confirmed. That was a tough choice for me actually. If I should pursue MBA or not? So I just had some faith and plunged into dancing and there has been no looking back.”
The thrill of taking the chance on herself resulted in brilliant accomplishments. Since her fateful decision Matangi has starred in the Kannada film – Kahi, done over 500 international and national performances, and of recent years she has begun her own Bharatanatyam school – Agnivarna Dance Academy.
Even with her flawless performances, and all her fabulous achievements she expresses her private thoughts, saying, “I have never believed that I am a born dancer. I am a trained dancer. Achieving in academics was something I could do very easily. But I am someone who has a lot of self-doubt when it comes to dance. And since I was a bright student my family felt I was not doing the right thing. Also am from a family where no one is an artist.”
Artists are not paid enough for the effort that goes into it. Most of the money goes into the organiser’s pocket. The Government grants take way too much time to materialize.”
Despite her doubts Matangi has risen to a substantial height of artistry. She took a chance in believing in her talent that she honed, but none-the-less, this teacher expresses the wretched situation of classical art, she says, “There is dearth of funds to promote classical art. And artists are not paid enough for the effort that goes into it. Most of the money goes into the organiser’s pocket. The Government grants take way too much time to materialize.” She further adds saying, “Talent alone is not enough. And there is a lack of mentors and also material for research.”
To all those dancers in two minds, the following advice comes from one who has lived through times of indecision and now is proudly living and practicing her art: “You must invest in training. Attend workshops, watch a lot of performances. Learn, learn, and learn. Your conviction is very important. You must believe that you are capable of pursuing dance.”
It takes conviction and just a little support from wherever you can get to take the one step to achieve your dream. Matangi Prasan’s family too was against her decision, but with her mother’s support and her own conviction, today Matangi has proved her mettle as an acclaimed dancer, and her family has come around to respect and speak highly of her. It takes just one step and a strong will to make one’s self happy.