Guru (Padmashri) Geeta Chandran’s disciple Aakanksha Kumar’s Arangetram
“The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-trust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him.”
– Amos Bronson Alcott
After nine years of sadhana Padmashri Geeta Chandran’s disciple Aakanksha Kumar’s arangetram performance, marks a momentous rite of passage, a milestone in her disciple’s journey into the ocean of Bharatanatyam, where she as beneficiary of Padamashri Geeta Chandran’s synthesis of knowledge received from a galaxy of eminent gurus to imprint on Bharatanatyam, her personal vision of the dance form, which stands reflected in this performance by her disciple, inspiring self trust, guiding Aakanksha’s eyes to the internal spirit, that lies within and harkens her.
As the dance world understands, the significance of the Arangetram, is an important occasion in the career of any Bharatanatyam dancer, where after several years of arduous training, when the Guru is confident of the disciple’s ability to sustain a quality solo performance, that carries forward the parampara of the dance form, an Arangetram is announced. The Arangetram is thus an honour to the Guru a momentous rite of passage, marking the first milestone in the disciple’s journey into the ocean of Bharatanatyam.
Aakanksha Kumar has been learning Bharatanatyam under her guru Padmashri Geeta Chandran at Natya Vriksha. She is a born leader, talented dancer and vibrant performer, Aakanksha simply loves to dance!
At present, she is pursuing her second year studies in Psychology (Honours) at Lady Shri Ram College. She is an alumnus of Delhi Public School, RK Puram. In both school and college, she has actively pursued cultural activities, performing and winning several prizes.
Aakanksha has accompanied Geeta during several lecture-performances and has actively engaged with several dance-related activities at Natya Vriksha.
On her association with Geeta Chandran Aakanksha says, “Learning Bharatanatyam has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life. It would not be an exaggeration if I said that dance is my lifeline. It gives me unparalleled joy and happiness: be it the adrenaline rush after class, the excitement of learning a new piece, or the awe of watching Akka and the senior dancers perform, it has always enthralled me. Dance has helped me grow tremendously as a person and has been a learning experience like no other. It has taught me the importance of hard work and dedication. There was no question of ‘bunking’ dance class, to hang out with friends, or to go to that party, or to even study for exams the dance class always came first. My mother and Akka, in their own ways, made sure of that! I have learnt that discipline and self-control are not only a vital part of dance, but also necessary.
Perhaps the most important lesson dance has taught me, is responsibility. The responsibility of rehearsing regularly, of nurturing and internalising the form, and the responsibility of listening, watching, absorbing and learning from everyone around. Dance has never been just a hobby for me. It has always meant much more. I am immensely grateful to Akka for giving me this opportunity to surround myself with people who have the same passion for dance, if not more. Akka has taught us that dance is more than steps, movements and rhythm. It is a breathing, living art form, one that can fulfil you both mentally and spiritually. If it wasn’t for Akka, I wouldn’t be in this privileged position, penning down my thoughts about dance, so a heartfelt thank you to Akka, for never giving up on me, for pushing me, for being a constant source of inspiration in my life and for making me the person I am today.”
The GURU: (Padmashri) Geeta Chandran a celebrated artist and star-performer, skilfully weaves abstract notions of Joy, Beauty, Values, Aspirations, Myth and Spirituality. She is celebrated not only for her deep and composite understanding of the art of Bharatanatyam, but also for her avtaar as an accomplished vocalist in Carnatic music, her work in television, video and film, theatre, choreography, dance education, dance activism and dance-issue journalism.
Geeta Chandran is Founder-President of Natya-Vriksha and Artistic Director of the Natya Vriksha Dance Company, known for the high aesthetic quality of its group presentations that showcase Geeta’s process as a choreographer. Author of SO MANY JOURNEYS, an intensely personal collection of her writings narrating her engagement with Bharatanatyam, she is also an author of influence on the subject related to classical dance.
A rare combination of both luminary and visionary, Geeta Chandran is a widely respected role model for the young generation. She guides reputed national cultural institutions and prestigious universities as their Board member, while serving on the Advisory Boards of several reputed schools and colleges. While engaging in a wide range of dance-related activities: performing, teaching, conducting, singing, collaborating, organising, writing, she perpetually reaches out to new youth audiences.
Geeta was awarded the prestigious national award — Padma Shri, by the President of India, 2007. 2014-2015, marks the completion of four decades of dedication to classical dance, since her arangetram in 1974.
“If you really want to experience God, go and make disciples.” – Francis Chan
And thus, danseuse Padmashri Geeta Chandran continues her journey, going out, experiencing God and creating precious disciples, like Aakanksha Kumar in her momentous arangetram.
On the occasion of Aakanksha Kumar’s Arangetram, Shri Jaiprakash Gaur, (Founder Chairman – Jaypee Group) says, “I will be delighted to be present as a renowned Guru launches a new disciple into the galaxy of artists. It will be an auspicious moment for all of us.”