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June 05, 2021 Saturday 11:30:47 AM IST

Algorhythm in Dance

Art & Literature

When academic silos are being dismantled and the world is embracing multi-disciplinary learning, we have a pioneering role model in Prateeksha Kashi. A computer science engineer by profession, Prateeksha was quick to spot the common elements in technology and dance even when she was pursuing her degree. She is an accomplished Kuchipudi dancer having got her initiation at a tender age under the guidance of her mother Vyjayanthi Kashi, a celebrated performer and choreographer.

Prateeksha says both dance and engineering require intelligence and creativity. Having worked at SAP Labs as a front-end developer, she realised that mobile apps have to be user friendly, an insight that influenced her to make dance audience-friendly as well. “Then only they will be able to enjoy and understand the message I try to convey. I feel it is very important to be tech-savvy and leverage the potential that technology offers; may it be to reach out wider, learn, or even implement ideas to enhance the quality of performance in terms of music, lighting, media and more.”

Inspiring Youth

Prateeksha is on a mission to inspire children and youth into dance. “Kuchipudi as a dance form has given me a lot. It has given me a purpose and to some extent to define my identity. It offers me absolute joy. So, I am dedicating my life to spread the joy of Kuchipudi,” says Prateeksha.

“I have been a faculty of Shambhavi School of Dance which is the only Kuchipudi Gurukul in Karnataka. It was established by my mother and guru Vyjayanthi Kashi with centres across India. As we moved online due to pandemic we now have students from different parts of the globe.”

“We have launched four levels of online Kuchipudi certification courses: Nandi Adhyayana, Mooladhyanana, Bhavadhyayana and Rasadhyanana. We provide holistic training emphasizing both practicals and theory. Also, we also teach the Telugu language to understand the dance form in detail. Kadhasara is another aspect of our courses. We teach stories from Indian mythologies. All these help students to perform well”.

Dance in Education

Prateeksha says, “dance is very basic and natural to all human beings. Movements and expressions come to us naturally before we learn to speak. If we use this method in formal education, I think it will be effective. As a dancer, I view education as an experience. There are three steps in it – How you perceive it, How you interpret and How do you apply it. In these three steps, dance can play as a catalyst. 

“Our formal education should adapt dance to the curriculum. The minute we start offering dance as part of our formal education, as a professional path from school days, then job opportunities will automatically be created.”

Prateeksha’s passion extends beyond dance--after an initial footing in theatre, she proved her mettle in celluloid too with a lead role in the feature film Priyamanasam, the world’s third Sanskrit movie and also featured in the art movie Prakruti both of which bagged the National Award. She also had a role in the short movie Dwar-Door to transformation with an interest to spread awareness about the safety of women.

Dhanya AK

Dhanya AK is a journalist with over a decade of experience in print, broadcast and online media. She holds a PG Diploma in PR and Advertising from Kerala Media Academy.   Read more articles..