Parampara of Indian Dance with Akshay Ayre

by Brinda Bose

Photo : Akshay Ayre

Performing arts form a massive stepping stone to the culmination of global heritage and more so of the society that we stay in. Like all other aspects of life, the dance forms of India are varied and different.

They form of a coherent expression of human emotions in sync with rhythmic moves. Being into performing arts myself, I wanted to explore Mumbai, the city which currently houses me in search of similar minds, learn from them and also share my love for performing arts with them. With the above mind set and a little apprehension about interacting with someone not known well to me, I fixed an appointment with Akshay Ayre.

Punctual, poignant, and elegant the young man is not only a dancer par excellence but also an accomplished graphic designer. His dance and graphics label “VITAMIN ART” is already followed and loved in all the popular social media circuits. What amazed me was that Akshay had not taken our conversation casually and had come prepared to share his knowledge and love for the subject.

Questions posed to him were simple and routine his answers were relevant and crisp.

Q How would you define Culture ?

Akshay : Culture is not just a mode of entertainment but it is certainly away of our life. Though based on mythological aspects it teaches us the four-fold aspect of human life —– Dharma (righteousness), Aartha (wealth), Kama (desire) and Moksha (liberation).

Q How has dance influenced you over the years ?

Akshay : Classical dances in particular having a proper grammar base, that help structure, rather build the all round personality of an individual.

Q Can we say that dance is inter-disciplinary ?

Akshay :  All forms of dance are intrinsically interlinked to regular subjects like geometry, psychology, rhythmic calculations, yoga, mathematics, stage craft, and aesthetics.

Q Tell us something about your journey as a dancer?

Akshay : It has never been an easy task to establish what “we” want in life in contrast to the existing patterns of the society. I started cultivating my passion for dance quite late, precisely after class 10. All this while, it has only been my mother on whom I could rely upon, and talk about my passion.

Born and brought up in a traditional Marathi family I wasn’t quite sure whether things would work smooth; but sincerity, dedication, and diligence towards this form of art has paid off. Honestly, it’s a wonderful feeling when my father a senior corporate calls in to find
out whether I would prefer accessories related to dance! It’s truly an elating experience to see one’s parents seated in the first row while one performs! As an established dancer now, I feel it is my duty to show the world the true essence of the art. As a teacher it’s heartwarming to see my students take interest in the subject and I am sure sometimes in the near future they will be ready to spread their wings, to explore the cultural realm which merges with stark realities of life.

Q We are eager to know about your Gurus and how  they have inspired you over these years?

Akshay: I am blessed to acquire basic training in Bharatnatyam from Guru Shri. Digambar Shinde (Dahisar – Mumbai) and advance training under Guru Smt. Tejaswini Lele (Tanjavur NrityaShala – Ville Parle) — I have had the privilege to complete the ‘Visharad’ programme in Bharatnatyam. National Senior Scholarship from Ministry of Culture, Govt of India and MA in Bharatnatyam with Gold Medal from Kavi Kalidasa University, Nagpur. I have had my Arangetram in 2012 and since then there has been no looking back. I had been given the opportunity to train students with my Gurus.

Akshay is currently preparing for the PhD programme in Dance after completing his teacher’s training in the same. He wants to study further more in the Margii style Dance introduced by the legend Guru Smt. Padma Subramaniyam, the style well known as the Bharata Nrutya under the guidance of his Guru Dr Jayashri Rajagopalan. This styles
provides a link between the science of dance and it’s tradition, i.e provides links between the ‘Shastras'(scriptures) and Sampradaay (traditions).

What excites him further in this particular form is that all the major “karanas” or dance movements depicted in the ancient temples in our country and their coordination with the principles of design can be understood.

Q What is your message to the next generation to whom classical
dance is gradually losing it’s relevance?

A: My message is simple but strong “Guru plays the pivotal role in the lives of his or her students,”—so it’s the Guru who decides the fate of his or her disciples. The younger generation requires their own space- a space to realise their “own calling” whether they would like to pursue certain things that they are trying hard to go on with. The Guru should be a facilitator whose painless efforts and love for the subject should bring forth interest in his or her students.

To all the parents out here please know that each child is unique some way or the other, so it’s baseless pressurizing them to be someone they are not destined to be. It’s important for the parents and Gurus to help students be aware of “sanskara” and internalize it. The
sooner they realise it sooner it becomes a part of their life.

Guru Shishya-Parampara (succession from teacher to student) should not be rigid as it used to be in the past, it is the responsibility of the Guru and the disciples to walk together successfully and amicably to usher in cultural growth and consciousness through the generations. Imitating the west is good up to a certain extent, if we do not recognize our roots we are ignorant of our own identities.

“If foreigners are trying to follow us by imbibing our culture, why are we running away from it”.

I headed back home contented, with the thought that the youth of my country were not going astray. At the young age of 28, so beautifully connected to his roots the humble Akshay Ayre with immense focus towards his art form and love for humanity will soon be a pan global name and team News Minute wishes him the best in his future endeavor.

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  1. Loved every bit of the absorbing and interesting interview.The strong belief and conviction of the Bharatnatyam dancer MrAkshay Ayre is indeed commendable.May he be an example to all those who r blindly following and copying Western and other foreign art forms.

    • Yes, we all need to support and celebrate our dancers who carry the legacy of our ancestors through Indian dance on their nimble and lithe shoulders. Thankyou for your appreciation.

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