Swadesh Dancer Profile – Monisa Nayak

Monisa Nayak

Monisa Nayak , is an accomplished Kathak performer of the Jaipur Gharana who has dedicated herself in perfecting her art form. Her excellent command of rhythm , as well as her natural flair for profound expressions , mark her performance and are critically acclaimed by connoisseurs. An A Grade Kathak Artiste of Delhi Doordarshan, she has performed widely in major festivals. Some of these are the Ananya Festival (SEHER) ; Malhaar Festival of ICCR; Nirat (Gandharva Mahavidyalaya) , Taj Mahotsav, Agra, Allegro Vivo Music Festival, Austria; 60 Years of India’s Independence at New York, Tropentheatre, Holland; and the Geneva Festival.

Monisa shares her views on Swadesh:

1) What does Swadesh mean to you?

As we all feel that, even if we are from different regions or cultures or speak different languages, we all feel ourselves as ‘Indian’. So what’s that ‘Something’ that makes us feel like Indian? I feel that’s like our ‘Ghungroo’. This ghungroo is ‘Swadesh’ for me.We all wear it whether it is Kathak, Bharatnatyam or Odissi. But its the making of ghungroo that gives us identity. So its the style or culture which shaped it differently but the soul i.e. ‘Ghungroo’ is same in all. So ‘Swadesh’ means to me the soul which is same in all but the body is different.

2) What part of the process of creating Swadesh has been the most interesting or enjoyable to you? Or the most challenging?

The biggest challenge that ‘Swadesh’  posed for me was the theme itself.Everything what we do in Classical Dance & Music is very Indian i.e. the costumes, the music, the Ragas, the colours, the languages, the syllables, the literature etc. But sometimes, the awareness of this ‘indianness’ fades with time and new contemporary ideas and thoughts are inserted in these classical performing art forms so that a new fresh look can be given. In this production it was like looking into our own ‘Indian Soul of Dance’ from outside through this creative idea and at the same time trying to explore and interpret it through three different styles without changing its pure form. I felt it was the most interesting part.

3) What do you think audiences can expect or look forward to in Swadesh?  What do you hope they’ll take away with them?  What will they experience?

As far as I have seen and experienced, wherever we stay in this whole world, we always grow up in a very traditional, positive, cultural, artistic, family loving atmosphere. I don’t know how or why, but it happens. May be it is because of our parents and Gurus and their values also. We all are joined together with one thread, our ideas, thoughts, everything. It is so interesting. I personally feel, the most important part of this work is, somehow all the people, the audience, the art-lovers, everybody will be able to link themselves with this upcoming beautiful creation ‘Swadesh’. Everyone will have their own emotional, personal, practical or spiritual experience with us.

See Swadesh in Liverpool at The Capstone Theatre on Friday 7th March and in London at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on March 8th.

Read Production Diary 1Production Diary 2Production Diary 3 and Production Diary 4 for further insight into the production, and take a look at Swadesh In Pictures to get a feel for the final production.

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