For some, dance might be just an art form and for few dance is a way of life. Amongst those who believe in the second statement is one of the renowned Bharatanatyam performers from Mangalore Vani Rajgopal.
Born at Kottayam in Kerala, Vani Rajgopal was brought up in Ucchila near Kotekar where she started learning Bharatanatyam at a tender age when she was of nine years, under the eminent dance teacher of the coastal region Ullal Mohan Kumar. From keeping her first step as a dance aspirant to the present well known dance master Vani Rajgopal, she has come a long way as a dance artiste. Speaking to City Herald, the only dancer from the coastal district to pursue dance graduation from Kalakshetra - the National Institute for Fine Arts in Chennai, Vani Rajgopal honestly admits she pursued dancing as she was not good in academics, but was very keen about dancing and singing.
“I was quite expressive and used to dance well. It was the reason why my master Ullal Mohan Kumar and my parents supported me to pursue higher education in dancing. My entry to Kalakshetra which was possible because of my mother’s support, opened up new vistas and changed my life as a dancer. Meeting new faces, being in the company of great artistes made me to understand the beauty of Indian culture,” says Vani Rajgopal.
After pursuing her four years graduation course from Kalakshetra, Vani completed her post graduation in Bharatanatyam from Bharatidasan University. She began her career as a dance professor by training students at Sandesha Karnataka Kala Kendra in Mangalore. Later, she went on to receive the honour of becoming the founding Principal of Fine Arts College in Sandesha Lalita Kala Mahavidyalaya in the year 1998.
Bharatha Mani Vani Rajgiopal who has performed in the dance dramas choreographed by the veteran dancer Rukmini Devi, also holds the credit of directing four dance dramas for Sandesha College of Fine Arts. If some of the dance performers go by count, Vani Rajgopal stands different for she strictly limits her dance performances to only those places where there is quality audience. Informing the same, Vani says, “I like to perform among the noble audience who truly adore dancing and that is why I have staged only few performances.”
Off late Vani Rajgopal is not only teaching Bharatanatyam to the Indian students, but has successfully cheered up Brazilians to learn Bharatanatyam. “A group of Brazilians whom I have trained, are making Bharatanatyam popular in Brazil by engaging the dance class ‘Natya Kshiti’ in the far off country. We should say kudos to the Brazilians for their interest and love towards Bharatanatyam which is comparatively higher than the Indians interest,” she says.
After quite a long gap, Vani Rajgopal is staging her Bharatanatyam performance in Mangalore on February 17 at Town Hall. This danseuse who strongly believes dance as a divine art form, says, dance can give all the pleasures of the world which is eternal, if performed with affection.