BENGALURU: Bharatanatyam dancer Mithun Shyam launched an annual dance magazine Nrithyam...Exploring endless horizons recently, where he writes and edits dance stories. City Express catches up with him on his new venture and his experience interviewing famous national and international dancers.
Could you tell us about yourself? How did you take to dancing?
I have been practising and performing Bharatanatyam exclusively for 25 years now and have also been teaching aspiring students at my institute Vaishnavi Natyashala for the past 18 years. I am one of the few performing male dancers of the Vazhuvoor style of Bharatanatyam trained by Guru late Padmini Ramachandran.
I used to escort my sister to dance classes and wait for her to finish class and get her back home. One day, the teacher asked me and my brother to join after he noticed our interest and that’s how I started learning dance.
Can you tell us about the magazine?
The magazine is titled Nrithyam...Exploring endless horizons. It is an annual art and culture magazine, which mainly aims at bringing together the international dance community and gives them a forum to discuss and share ideas and thoughts to benefit cultural exchange across the world. We also aim to bring classical art forms closer to the younger generation by showcasing the glamorous, intellectual and humane side of dance apart from the more philosophical and spiritual one.
Why did you decide to come up with a magazine?
Communication is my passion. I love dance because it lets me express in actions than in words. I decided to start the magazine to communicate with great artists about their thoughts and artistic processes. Not only did I get to know their thoughts but I also got to document them.
Nrithyam has intellectual articles, rapid fire questions, discussions and interesting bits of information and stories too. Interviews are just one of the aspects of the magazine.
How long did you work on the concept? What has been your journey like?
Nrithyam was started as a school magazine four years ago. I used to make my students write poems, draw pictures about dance and ask them to write small articles about their inspirations, aspirations and collate them and print the magazine with class photographs. That is how I realised the scope of a magazine and slowly started including interviews and articles about well known artistes. When I started distributing the magazine, I saw the interest it created. Everyone wanted to read more, especially the younger crowd, because good dance magazines aimed at inspiring youngsters are not many. Then last year, I discussed this with my friend Shilpa Nanjappa and asked her to help me reach out to more artists and edit the magazine.
Tell us about your research for the venture.
When we are truly passionate about something, the universe conspires to help you achieve it. I wanted to understand and explore the creative minds of achievers. I am still flabbergasted over how I had the nerve to approach great personalities like Padmashri Prathibha Prahlad or Jonathan Hollander (Battery dance, New York) for interviews. I was amazed at the response I received and the excitement they showed.
How many artistes did you interview?
Nrithyam 2016 has 10 interviews of artistes from varied age groups, and portfolios.
Did you face any challenges?
Editing the magazine and setting questions that would create interest among the readers and disperse confusions about varied ideas was quite a challenge.
That is where my friend and classmate Shilpa Nanjappa came as a saviour. We debated and discussed about questions and articles and formulated what we thought would be an ideal magazine for the youth and the seniors alike.
Any interesting facts you explored during your work on the magazine?
One thing that struck me was how simple and down-to-earth the celebrities of classical dancing are. They are all acutely focused and working to create and contribute to the history of this rich culture.