Indian Classical

Life of Subbulakshmi Rana is full of dance and stories

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‘An artiste is not confined within the limits of their art’ is the motto Bharatanatyam artiste-turned-storyteller Subbulakshmi Rana swears by

Amarathon runner, a zumba enthusiast, a well-trained Bharatanatyam professional from the prestigious Kalakshetra, Chennai, Subbulakshmi’s interest in dance was observed by her parents at a very young age. “I was around five and half-years-old, when I started to dance to Madhuri Dixit’s Ding dong ding, since then I haven’t stopped dancing.

My parents encouraged me and allowed me to pursue my passion,” says Subbulakshmi Rana who started her dance studio ‘Subbulakshmi’s Nrithyashala’ in Alwal in 2009. Though Subbulakshmi learnt dance under various gurus’ in Hyderabad, she is extremely grateful for the professional outlook she gained in Kalakshetra. “My six years training in Kalakshetra gave me a professional outlook and I learnt the discipline an artiste should have over there.

I understood the aestheticism involved which allowed me to become a better dancer,” says Subbulakshmi who has performed in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and many other reputed dance festivals. “Storytelling happened without my knowledge. My brother used to call me nautanki, I could tell stories very well.

When my elder daughter was born, I told her many stories. My husband suggested why not share these stories with my dance students as well. I always explained a particular tarangam or padam to my students and then teach them dance so that they understand and perform. The only thing was that I did not have any degree in this.

So I enrolled myself in a workshop conducted by Deepa Kiran and later, British Consulate organised a story telling session where the techniques helped me become a professional Bharatanatyam storyteller,” says Subbulakshmi who also runs the website Subbulakshmi’s Naatyakatha. In a span of five years, Subbulakshmi has become a popular name amongst children as a storyteller.

A believer in physical gurusishya classes, Subbulakshmi had to turn to online medium to teach during the lockdown. “I never thought that such a day would come. If I had opted to do online Bharatanatyam classes long time ago, many across the world would be my students. As I conduct my storytelling sessions in English, many international children are also getting attracted to stories of Indian culture,” says Subbulakshmi who also participated in the Hyderabad Literary Festival 2020.

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