World Dance Day special: Shallu Jindal's passion for Kuchipudi continues to guide her life
New Delhi, April 29 (IANSlife): For Kuchipudi exponent and businesswoman Shallu Jindal, dance is a passion that has deepened over the years. Immersed in the classical arts right from childhood, she sees herself as an artiste who can never get enough and continues to better themselves at every opportunity.
Celebrating World Dance Day, we present an exclusive interview with the noted danseuse.
A disciple of gurus Raja and Radha Reddy, from whom she started learning only in her 30s after having been exposed to Kathak in her childhood, Jindal says her passion and love for the Kuchipudi dance form has continued to be a guiding force in her life.
"Kuchipudi is my swadharma. My love and passion for Kuchipudi has continued to guide my actions in life. Dance has taught me values of patience, discipline and commitment. I have had the wonderful opportunities to perform Kuchipudi - a beautiful blend of Nritta, Nritya and Natya, both in India and internationally."
"However, I am now finding that this wonderful dance form is a dying art as there are few artistes and gurus remaining. Therefore my passion for Kuchipudi grows stronger and I would like to do all in my power to promote this wonderful art form."
"I believe that a true artiste can never get enough and continues to better themselves. Likewise, my journey as an artiste too continues with a mission to promote Kuchipudi and Indian art forms," states Jindal, who is a leading exponent of the great Indian classical dance form.
Right from the age of eight, Ludhiana-born Jindal learnt sitar, guitar, Hindustani classical music and theatre; she is a strong believer in the transformative power of the arts for the young.
"I've been fortunate to be blessed with parents who encouraged me to pursue and experiment with a whole range of performing arts before finding Kuchipudi. Looking back at my journey of life, I truly believe childhood is the best place to lay the foundation for arts."
"I hope and encourage parents to inspire their children to pursue at least one art form in their lifetime. Apart from the skill that one is learning, any art form makes the individual more disciplined, focused and attuned for success in life."
"Art forms help the creative process and sparks imagination and ideas. It enables a wholesome personality development and makes one a better human being," she said, adding India and its young population must pursue arts for development to build healthy communities.
Looking at India's contemporary and classical dancers as an experienced dancer herself, does she find enough mettle?
"In my interactions with the youth of India, I have found myself impressed by the sheer talent and confidence in terms of dance which I have witnessed in schools, colleges and at various dance or performing arts festivals across India. There is no dearth of talent but mentorship like the old 'guru-shishya parampara' (mentor-student tradition) is something that many of these youngsters are still thirsting for."
A few years ago, Jindal conceptualised the Jindal Art Institute in New Delhi, that stemmed from her desire to promote and protect Kuchipudi and to inspire people to pursue it. She is also the chairperson of the JSPL Foundation, whose social inclusion initiative gives pension to retired artistes, so that they can lead a life of dignity after having spent all their lives in preserving, performing and teaching the beautiful classical arts of India. "We hope to soon start a scholarship initiative as well for aspiring young artists who want to learn and dedicate their lives to performing arts especially Kuchipudi," said Jindal.
With the nation under a lockdown, how have these past weeks been like for her? The humanitarian asserts, "Lockdown like everything has its positives and negatives. It has made everyone press the pause button to the busy play of life. I am also trying my best to spend time in reflection, learning, relaxation and working from home."
"I am working with the JSPL Foundation's CSR team to contribute towards easing the perils of varied strata of society in this time of the pandemic. In addition reading books, practising my dance, yoga, meditation, puja and spending time with family takes precedence over everything."
On a final note, Jindal says that for her, dance is akin to meditation. According to her, when you take up dance, not only does one gain all the benefits that come with meditation, but one also feels a natural high.
"Dance provides you with a way of expanding your consciousness. It helps you to achieve self-awareness, which makes you feel centred and complete. Dance makes you go on a spiritual journey that relieves tension, stress and allows you to feel joy and happiness. Through this meditative act, you experience fellowship, bliss and a connection with others," Jindal signs off.