Bharatnatyam dancer Apeksha Niranjan walks us through her exceptional journey from Kolhapur to Poland

Bharatnatyam dancer Apeksha Niranjan walks us through her exceptional journey from Kolhapur to Poland

As the famous saying goes, practice makes man perfect, Apeksha believes her approach and proactive nature since childhood helped her excel in the craft

Anjali KochharUpdated: Saturday, July 22, 2023, 10:03 PM IST
article-image

“Expressions in abhinay (acting) is an art which is inherently present in you. And as you grow up, these expressions develop and evolve, becoming a part of your performance. As a performer, you need to review your dance, and revisit your acting to revive your expressions continuously,” believes Apeksha Niranjan. She is an exceptional Bharatnatyam dancer, actor, cultural ambassador of Poland House, and of course, the queen of expressions.

As the famous saying goes, practice makes man perfect, Apeksha believes her approach and proactive nature since childhood helped her excel in the craft. She humbly says, “I’m happy the audience watches and likes my performance enough to honour me with the title of ‘expression queen’. When I was in school, I would participate in plays. And this, I think, is the main reason behind my strong Abhinay skills.”

Humble beginnings

Hailing from a middle-class marathi-speaking household in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, it was Apeksha’s parents who discovered her innate talent and passion for dancing. “It all began when I started dancing to the tunes of Bollywood songs. At the age of seven, my parents saw me dancing and enrolled me for Kathak classes.”

Not mere practice but observation helped Apeksha excel in the dance form. She would spend hours watching classical dance performances on the telly along with instructional videos about each dance form. Indeed, observation is just as important an aspect of learning as is incessant practice, the dancer believes. “It was only while watching these videos that I discovered my inclination towards Bharatnatyam,” she expresses.

So, while the world today celebrates Apeksha as a distinguished Bharatnatyam dancer, her journey began on a different note altogether.

On expressing her interest to her mother, Apeksha was enrolled in Bharatnatyam classes too. And so, for the next few years, the dancer juggled between these two distinct, complex and equally difficult dance forms. Till one day, she made a choice when Bharatnatyam became her true calling!

Guru-shishya bond

Speaking on the student-teacher bond, especially in performing arts, Apeksha expresses, “When I started learning the art, my expressions and my craft were strong. But only after getting the guidance from my guru, my skills got polished, allowing me to better express my emotions. Indeed, the Guru-Shishya bond is a beautiful parampara (tradition) rooted in Indian culture. As a performer, this bond teaches you discipline and respect — both values which I imbibed from my teacher.”

Today, Apeksha is not only a performer but a teacher too. And she considers it a responsibility to make her students learn the same values. “For example, the generation today does not believe in namaskar (greeting with folded hands). However, During my classes, we continue to follow this tradition. After all, Bharatnatyam or any classical dance form represents our country’s diverse culture…some of us have plans to move/travel abroad; live a different life. But if we learn these practices at a young age, they would not not evaporate into oblivion.”

Polish-India connect

Currently, Apeksha is also honing the responsibility of the cultural ambassador of Polish House. But what exactly does this organisation represent? Apparently, the story dates back to World War II.

During WWII, several Polish refugees escaping the war were given shelter in India. Today, the situation has changed. Case-in-point: Polish House. “This organisation provides shelter and a better lifestyle to Indian children who lost their parents during the COVID-19 pandemic. My grandmother was Polish and when she sought refuge in India from the war, she ended-up marrying my grandfather, an Indian. Thus, it almost feels like an obligation to be a part of this organisation,” Apeksha explains. She continues, “Moreover, while being the cultural ambassador, Polish House also gave me the opportunity to perform in their country. So, while supporting the noble cause, I’m able to meet and interact with different people through my performances.”

Embracing India’s diversity

So far, Apeksha has lived an exciting life through her performing prowess and association with the Polish House. Question is — are there any exciting chapters waiting to be unveiled in the future?

“Well, one project that I’m currently working on is to present the various Abhangas (poems by famous saints) in the form of Bharatnatyam. I’m creating a recital through my performance, without losing the essence of both aspects. Of course, there are some performances lined-up in Poland not only for my Indian audience but Polish and European too,” she informs.

On embracing folk music and art forms, the dancer replies, “In a culturally diverse country like India, each part has its own folk music, stories, folklore, poets. I’m trying to embrace this diversity while endeavouring to express them through Bharatnatyam.”

RECENT STORIES

Health Benefits Of Propolis Or Bee Glue You Should Know

Health Benefits Of Propolis Or Bee Glue You Should Know

Navigating Bengali Detective Fiction In The Changing Times

Navigating Bengali Detective Fiction In The Changing Times

From Anant Ambani's To Shah Rukh Khan, Brooches Are The New Wardrobe Staple

From Anant Ambani's To Shah Rukh Khan, Brooches Are The New Wardrobe Staple

Viral Post Sparks Outrage: Is The Marathi Manoos Being Alienated In Hiring Practices?

Viral Post Sparks Outrage: Is The Marathi Manoos Being Alienated In Hiring Practices?

Controversial Impact Player Rule In IPL: Game-Changer Or Flop?

Controversial Impact Player Rule In IPL: Game-Changer Or Flop?