In conversation with Kiran Segal, an Odissi dancer from Delhi
Dance style: Odissi – Jayantika style
Gurus: Guru Mayadhara Raut
Odissi is the guiding force of my life. It is everything for me. I live Odissi I breathe Odissi I think Odissi.
Q Do you feel the investment in classical dance is not as rewarding as it should be ??
I have no complains apart from the fact that at this point of my life and career I do feel frustrated with the fact that I don’t have any land that I feel that should have been given to me without even me asking for it. So that I could build an institution and carry on with my work and after me when I am gone there should be others who would be able to carry on my work. What is the use of receiving all these awards and titles? After all they have been given to me because of the fact that I am keeping an ancient dance form alive, and in order to keep it alive it has to come from the next generation and through the disciples that I am producing and of course my teaching and for that you need space.
Q Political involvement in dance
There is political involvement in dance it should be lesser but I also to some extent blame our system in which every bureaucrat or the people who hold the rings in their hands of culture or dance. They have their seat of power for few years and then they are transferred off to somewhere else and like wise somebody else comes into the scene from some other sphere of life or profession and they have no idea of who’s who and what’s what and I feel that every person who comes into culture or who is in charge of this kind of happening should be briefed but then who will brief him.
Q Audiences for classical dance
I have no comments on that because according to me we have always, that is my institution and me as a solo dancer we’ve always been very well received we’ve always had very good audiences whether I do classical folk or what I’ve been doing recently is taking classical into a contemporary tradition we’ve had packed houses so I have no complaints in that respect I feel publicity should be right.
Q How did the innovation of classical into contemporary begin ??
I don’t do it because I have to do it. I didn’t think that these days there is a fashion to do contemporary so let us also do contemporary, it doesn’t work with me like this, I do work not because I’m told to do it like this but because I grow into it because it evolves it so happens and then I enjoy my work.
However there is a particular reason. I have a lot of girls and I see also a lot of young dancers, college and school students who are also learning things like jazz salsa, which I feel there is nothing wrong with and many youngsters are under the impression that contemporary work has to be western or has to have a touch of western which I totally disagree with and I feel that our own dance form and its grammar is so strong our movements are so beautiful that we can create contemporary from our classical dance forms which is why I think my most recent presentation came into being and I traveled with it. I received equal appreciation from people of both classical and non-classical backgrounds.
Q Any suggestion or advise for upcoming dancers
Yes, that is not to divert into too many things be very focused. These days parents are always trying to keep their kid occupied, it seems to be a recent phenomenon or happening, fine okay initially one does this just to find out that what is it that the child is interested in or is talented in, but if you keep carrying on then the child’s concentration power reduces and also become a scatterbrain.
Kiran Segal has received the ‘Padmashree’ as well as the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in the year 2002 She has also received the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini award in 2000
For any querie,s she can be contacted at:
198 Mandakini Enclave
Alknanda, New Delhi 110019
Phone :011 – 26275368 / 9810621208