Sharing Love and Joy of Dance - The story of Kathak and Odissi dancer Yogini Gandhi
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Kathak and Odissi Dance
Over the centuries, the north Indian classical dance form KATHAK has attained refinement and enriched itself by the establishment of distinct styles and gharanas. A dancer who personifies this dance form with her gripping performances is Yogini Gandhi. Yogini has been dancing ever since she was 4 years old. At an age when parents expect the child scoring high at dictations and mathematical calculations, Yogini was focusing on her Kathak moves, being home schooled by her parents. Over these years, she has established herself as a sincere and serious performer of Kathak and has been invited to perform at many prestigious festivals. Having established herself as a Kathak Dancer, Yogini went on to include Odissi in her talent too. She commenced her training with Shri Natbar Maharana in Mumbai and further received guidance from the legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra - considered as one of the principal architects of present day Odissi. Yogini is respected as a solo artist who maintains the individuality of both the Kathak and Odissi dance styles. This makes her achievement unique in India"s classical dance arena. She is the founder of ‘Kalanidhi’, where she carries the legacy of Indian classical heritage and nurtures young talents, gives an encouragement to the fact that such classic forms will never fade away…
We are really keen to know, how did your journey begin?
Initiated in dance when I was 4 years old, commenced authentic training of the Lucknow gharana of kathak once we moved to Pune at the age of 8. My journey in Odissi began much later in the early 90’s.
What’s your success mantra?
Discipline, Dedication and Devotion towards your chosen field.
Quote for Life
The body sculpts the space, the mind etches the moods, my soul soars in this unison, as I celebrate life through Dance!
Osho and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
Nature, other artists and every person who has enriched me in my journey
Food I Love
I Love all cuisines
Food I Hate
Non- vegetarian / packaged and frozen food and colas
Had I not been Dancer then…
A ghazal and thumri singer
Like Vacations at
Places with abundant natural beauty
Favorite Pass time
Music, Reading, Trekking
Waqt se pehele aur taqdeer se zyada kisi ko kuch nahi milta!!
Favorite Movies / Series
NCIS – Naval Criminal Investigative Service and FRIENDS
Favorite Actor / Actress
Aamir Khan, Shabana Azmi
What were the hardships & hurdles you encountered and the way you overcame in your journey?
I have been well supported in my career choice by immediate and extended family.
Success is incomplete without its share of failures. How should one overcome them to move on?
Recognize that failure means you are trying and every failure can become a stepping stone. Besides if you only succeeded it means you are not trying hard enough and life would be boring.
Do you think Dance and its learning’s can be helpful in life even if one does not want to consider it as a career goal?
YES in many many ways.
Who has been your influencer in this journey & how?
Osho… who showed me the true purpose of our traditional and classical arts – a path for self development.
Which was “that” moment when you considered yourself as “I am the 1”?
I sincerely believe that nature has made each one of us unique and we all are ‘The One’. Thanks to my parents, guru and teachers, I was able to develop my uniqueness.
Did you get any formal training and how was that journey?
Yes, I have been formally trained in both the styles – Kathak and Odissi and fortunate to have received guidance from legendary maestros.
Could you reflect on the importance of systematic training in Dance?
Daily practice is essential. Typically the ratio of learning to practice should at least be 1:10.
What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. Right age, physical fitness, mindset or any other?
I think 7-8 years of age would be ideal to commence training. Physical health is imperative and a focus and innate desire to learn.
Technology and scientific training has been changing the way people get trained in Dance. What’s your take?
Yes, I agree that there are many facets of technology that can enhance the learning process. But a Live performance and a Live Training is irreplaceable as of now. Perhaps, in future, technology may take up charge!
How can one select an ideal ‘Guru’ for getting formal training for Dance?
It is important that the parents have some knowledge or else research the subject many a times. Honestly, it is still a matter of luck to find the best guru.
What according to you, can be a scope for improvement in coaching for Dance in India?
Improvement is quite possible by setting up of academies in rural India where there is a lot of untapped talent and fewer distractions compared to the cities.