KOCHI: rhythm of dance is part of her making. Prateeksha Kashi, daughter of Bangalore-based dancer and choreographer Vyjayanthi Kashi, has been observing her mother teach and perform dance right from her childhood. Little wonder then she took to dance like duck to water. Prateeksha was in the city recently for her first solo performance in Kochi at the Dharani fest.
The 45-minute performance was a treat to connoisseurs of kuchipudi as Prateeksha made a smooth transition from dasavatharam where she brought to life the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu, moved on to a piece where she showcased her abhinaya skills, to Krishnatharangam and concluded with a Siva sthuthi.
At the age of five, she surprised her folks and a hall packed with dance lovers when she gave an impromptu performance on stage! With a dazzling smile, she says, “My mother and her team were performing the dance drama Ambe from the Mahabharata when I insisted on joining them on stage. I ran to the stage and started dancing with the senior dancers! That was my first unofficial arangettam. It surprised everyone.
Including my mother.”
Thereafter, from the age of nine, she started training under her mother, “the one person who has inspired me all my life.”
Prateeksha says that being the daughter of a well-known dancer-choreographer-actress-therapist who runs the Shambhavi School of Dance, Bangalore, has mounted the pressure on her to deliver her best. “Expectations are high when I perform and people draw comparisons between me and my mother. So the responsibility on me as an artist is more.” Ask her how it feels to be the daughter of a famous dancer and she says, “Mom has never imposed her ideas on me. In fact, when she realised that I was serious about taking dance as a profession, she advised me to follow my heart and said there’s no compulsion that I take to dance just because she is a dancer.”
The engineering student of BMS College, Bangalore, loves computer science as much as she adores her art. “But neither has limited my dedication to the other. I have always been a good student who is passionate about studies. I wanted to prove that I can handle academics hand in hand with dance.” Prateeksha has played the lead roles in many dance productions of the Shambhavi dance ensemble in national and international festivals. She teaches at the institute during weekends and assists her mother in choreographing new pieces. She was recently invited to be an assistant tutor to her mother to teach kuchipudi at the Milap Fest in the United Kingdom.
A graded artist of the Doordarshan Kendra, Prateeksha is looking forward to the day when she would be the next icon of kuchipudi. “I want to show the world the magic of dance through the medium of kuchipudi. It is my dream to take the dance form to greater heights on a wider platform,” she says. Prateeksha strongly feels that it is the influx of technology that makes many forget their rich cultural heritage. “I would like to blend technology with our traditional art forms and present to the world a never-before cultural extravaganza,” says the danseuse who wants to start learning Odissi, too.