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Keerthana Ravi: The determinant for the better evolution of Performing Arts

The Performing arts of India has been so popularised field all over the world to make a career in its most fundamental, rich and a refreshing stream of classical music/dance/ dramatics which individually has its own ancient & interesting history to know about.

We have had renowned stalwart in the field of performing arts who have given their life in contributing for the enhancement of performing arts with respect to its History, Content, Pattern, Authenticity, Presentation Skill etc. The legacies of the stalwarts were carried further by their own family members or by their talented students imparting the knowledge with originality or with some evolution as per the requirement of the prevailing audience. It’s continuing to date. The Classical/ Folk Music/ Dance of India are so popular not only in our country but also across the globe that apart from so many talents within India, we also have so many foreign talents visiting India to learn, perform, research about it, collaborate with talents to present it across the globe on different platform.

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The fact cannot be ignored that in the current era performing arts consist of more skilled talents from all over the world and so many cultural platforms to present the skills. Its remarkable to witness the initiation by renowned gurus, performing artist, art lover from all over India to prepare a dance platform or dance festival for the budding talents to showcase what they are learning or have learnt & understood or may be by providing the current generation of artist an opportunity to witness the senior most artist performance to understand the significance of the particular dance form presentation. Among those vibrant visionaries of performing arts one more name recently turned every bodies head with a positive sign is Keerthana Ravi.

Keerthana Ravi | PC: Inni Singh

Keerthana Ravi a focused Indian classical dance solo Bharatnatyam performing artist from Bangalore, now based in Mumbai, is a living example for all the young performing arts fraternity and the art lover as to how a focused & practical determination with proper channelized hard work can lead to receiving a genuine respect, appreciation, a prestigious accolades in the field we are aiming to rise.

Keerthana started her dance journey at the age of three with ballet at Alliance Francaise Bangalore. She started learning Bharthanatyam from a renowned & well respected Guru Smt Padmini Ramachandran at the age of seven. She proudly expresses that “I’ve been fortunate to have the blessings and benevolence of my Gurus always and without them, I don’t think I would be here. There was no looking back after I started my Bharatnatyam tutelage under the guidance of my Guru because she had a unique pattern of teaching which ensured that there was never a time where we as a student find it to be boring. Her zest and passion for Bharthanatyam fuelled us all.”

Keerthana Ravi with a bright smile and continues “We may look up to someone but will that person selflessly give us the knowledge, guide and lead by example..? Very rarely we find such bonding in or outside the realm of arts. I am among those few of the fortunate enough who had been the part of this beautiful relationship & I cherish it.”

Keerthana continued her training in Bharatnatyam from Guru Smt Padmini Ramachandran for almost 21years without any interference of her simultaneous excellence and achievement in academics and other curricular activities during her school, college and MBA.

She is undergoing extensive training under veteran performer Smt Rama Vaidyanathan for the last four years. Keerthana quips “I am very fortunate to have such an inspiring Guru who not only pushes us to put in our best, but pursues excellence and leads by example”.

The young lady when shifted to Mumbai after the marriage had tough experiences about finding the possibilities of performance as Bharatnatyam artist. “I didn’t like the fact that there wasn’t a transparent process to apply for performing opportunities. Most dancers performed for free or pay some amount to the organiser to perform in their festival. I didn’t see that as a sustainable option. Being from a middle-class family education and being financially independent was extremely imperative.” she says.

The strong believer Keerthana about “Not to pay & perform” for the temporary exposure explained to us that With more number of platforms and festivals, so many dancers get an opportunity to be featured, which is great. However, the current trend of “Pay & Perform” is detrimental to the quality and standard of Natyam. It not only sends across the wrong message that its money which overrides talent it also makes our art form only for those who have that extra money. Dance already needs so much investment in terms of training, music, costume and jewellery this pay and dance add more burdens. Does a doctor pays to perform an operation, an engineer works for exposure or a hairdresser pays to style hair or for free? Then why must dancers dance for free! Instead of pay to dance, we must change out to ‘be paid to dance.”

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Keerthana’s focus kept her looking forward to the better association and collaboration to perform fairly in keeping with her ethics, values and believe in practice. “The idea to vision & create Indian Classical Dance Festival “EVAM” in Mumbai was to bridge the gap between dancers and the audience in keeping with the idea of maintaining the high quality of classical dance performance”, says keerthana Ravi. Her continuous positive effort to create the festival and a genuine transparent idea of seeking crowdfunding for classical dance festival EVAM- 2016 for the premier edition in Mumbai opened her way with huge support from Funders, Volunteers, Art lovers, Friends & Well-wishers. Ultimately, it became India’s FIRST CROWD FUNDED classical dance festival in 2016.

“EVAM is my first baby which is growing year by year bigger, better, popular & it helps me to promote & popularise the Indian classical dance & other performing arts to become a choice from between going for a movie, a play or stand-up show over the weekend for the mass people, art lover, artist.”

“Performing Art flourish as a career if heredity or with skill and hard work…?” When asked, Keerthana says, “Belonging to a family steeped in arts is definitely a huge bonus. There is so much to benefit from the combined wisdom of the family members however there is no supplement to hard work and talent. Whether you belong to a hereditary or you’re the first generation you have to prove yourself on stage. The first few opportunities might be easy but after that, it’s only your talent that will you take you ahead”

“His/her work will be remembered first then the name”, yes Keerthna’s opinion about the success justifies the line. During our entire Interview, we could sense the genuine spark & ambition in Keerthana’s talk to work towards making the classical art more visible, popular and accessible.

“I wish that I can contribute in my small way to make it a financially viable career option so that no young dancer needs to have two careers one for money, one for passion!”

Concluded the interview with positive hope of smile for the upliftment of the quality of performing arts presentation & vision in present generation though process.

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