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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Keerthana Ravi, A-grade dancer of Doordarshan - A face in the crowd

Keerthana Ravi is the brain behind India’s first ever crowd-funded classical dance festival.
While her friends talked of the problems, she thought of a solution. And this is how she emerged as the face in the crowd who could successfully stage India’s first ever crowd-funded classical dance festival in Mumbai recently. Barely two years ago, when Bengaluru-born young Bharatanatyam dancer Keerthana Ravi made Mumbai her home following marriage, like her counterparts, she was also on the streets, literally, seeking opportunities and platforms to perform. “It was a very disappointing experience for me. “Each by-lane in Mumbai must have dozens of Bharatanatyam dancers. We have been receiving hundreds of applications from them to perform” was a rude remark from one of the festival organisers. And this made me think of a possible solution,” reveals the dancer
She soon realized that patronage for Indian classical dances in India was very limited and it was the same circle of friends and family members of the dancer that attended the shows and supported. “The onus was always on the dancer to seek platforms, audience and even financial support to survive. This struggle for survival killed creativity in the artiste and denied due opportunity to the deserving to prove their talent. So, in my humble effort to do something for my own fraternity, to bridge the gap between the artistes and audiences, platforms and performers, I ventured into this first ever crowd funded classical dance festival of our country,” she explains.
“I learnt about the popular Thespo theatre festival of Mumbai that was happening for the 17th time through crowd-funding. Thus, I shared my concept of Evam, a two weekend dance festival featuring three internationally acclaimed Indian classical dancers – Rama Vaidyanathan from Delhi, Neena Prasad from Kerala and Parshwanath Upadhye from Mumbai and nine young Bharatanatyam dancers from across India, including me – on wishberry.in, the crowd-funding website of India that helps generate support for a cause. My target was to generate Rs.2.5 lakh in 30 days to make the festival happen. I received more than I required in just 15 days as a result of my aggressive campaign,” she says with a smile of triumph. Apart from the website, Keerthana used social media, internet, SMS and even telephone calls to reach out to people, both known and unknown to her. “I had firm faith in my dream and also in the nobleness of the people around us. I tried my best to convince them about the dire need of their support for classical dance and dancers. And they generously came forward from across countries. Among them were strangers who were not dancers or even dancelovers,” says the dancer who has done her masters in communication management. From the lowest donation of Rs.250 to the highest of Rs.30, 000, the event got 104 people who pledged their support. “The first contribution came from my Guru Rama Vaidyanathan followed by my mentor and eminent dance personality Anita Ratnam’s dance portal www.narthaki.com.
Arts consultant Usha RK from Bengaluru and a number of my dancer friends from Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Mangalore and Delhi also contributed. Similarly, some of my personal friends who didn’t belong to dance, also supported. However, it was a pleasant surprise to have incredible response of so many generous people whom I never knew. While Deven and Meera Khanna from Delhi who were my biggest patrons from India, Angel and Lady Sota from Spain, Singapore-based investment banker Chidambaram, US-based IT professional Leesha were among those who brought me sweet surprises. Financial support apart, a dancer friend of mine in Mumbai offered hospitality for our dancer friends coming from other cities. The biggest and best institutional support, however, came from Karnataka Sangha, the well-known community cultural organization of the people of Karnataka in Mumbai. When I approached them for a discount on the rent of its auditorium, they allowed me to use it free of cost for four days!” Keethana states with a deep sense of gratitude. “I wish this country has more enterprising dancers like Keerthana who are not only great as dancers but as dance promoters as well. She has already been able to stage two well-planned dance festivals in Bengaluru and Mumbai,” remarked Rama Vaidyanathan who was the star attraction of the festival in Mumbai. “I wanted to reach out to more people beyond the family and friends’ circles, involve them and create an alternative way of raising funds from the people who really believe in the arts.
And that’s what happened – I had a dream and they believed in my dream,” said Keerthana, who had been the Karnataka state topper in Bharatanatyam examination in 2005 and is now an A-grade dancer of Doordarshan besides being a young and acclaimed solo dancer.

Source and Credit :- http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/keerthana-ravi-a-face-in-the-crowd/article8585455.ece

Forwarded by :- Shri. Jainendra Nigam PB News Desk prasarbharati.newsdesk@gmail.com

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