Asian Music and Dance

Young Dancer

Young dancers (18–30) competed this summer for the 2015 Yuva Nritya Ratna award before an international jury and audience at Milapfest’s Indika Festival in Liverpool. The runner-up was Sonia Chandaria, student of Sujata Banerjee, and the winner of the title was Parbati Chaudhury. Parbati has since been travelling with a group of students and their teacher Urja Desai Thakore, training at Kadamb in Ahmedabad and performing at the Kathak Kendra in Delhi. It was therefore with some difficulty that we managed to catch her for some brief questions:

What will the Nritya Ratna award mean to you? 

It will give me the confidence and backing to create on a bigger scale. 

You have decided to follow a full-time career in dance. Would you say that’s risky? 

Yes, but it just feels… right and it’s liberating to not be on a predetermined career path. Hard work is going to be inevitable in any profession but I feel that the main challenge lies/will lie in constantly creating a sense of belonging and purpose. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my parents’ support but they would probably say that I’m going through my rebellious teenager phase now!

Can you describe where you were in your dance development ten years ago? 

I was at the Bhavan [in London] training with Abhayji [Abhay Shankar Misra]. I actually remember that mid-teen period as quite frustrating because I became quite self-conscious as a dancer. One thing that I remember not doing though is taking a break for those ‘important exams’ ‒ it’s a crucial time for dance too.

Where do you hope to be in the next decade? 

Still dancing!

Who or what has been your main inspiration as a dancer? 

Lots of people and moments but Urja’s encouragement has been invaluable.

What in your opinion are the three qualities that a dancer must have to succeed? 

Good mentors. Patience. Dialogue with other artists.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a dancer?

About four years ago when I was halfway through my degree [Biomedical Sciences at UCL].

You have learned under a number of teachers; how did that work out for you?

Pretty well, I think. My three teachers (Sushmita Ghosh, Abhay Shankar Mishra and Urja Desai Thakore) are all very different people with equally varied training backgrounds. I think Sushmitadi instilled a sense that dance and music are very powerful forms of expression that demand discipline, but she was very caring, which was important at that young age. A majority of my training so far has been with Abhayji, whose impressive musical ability, training and performance experience created an environment where there was a huge amount to learn. Urja’s analysis of movement and interest in the aesthetic quality of any presentation have helped me to mature greatly. She’s also someone I can talk to about pretty much anything.

Where can audiences see you perform in autumn 2015?

In My Soul is Alight on Thursday, 8 October at the Hat Factory in Luton, and I’ll also be performing in Birmingham over the weekend of 24‒25 October but don’t know all of the details yet.



Join the weekly Pulse newsletter and we will send you the latest news and articles straight to your inbox