A Pioneering Dance Catalyst Across Borders: Roopa Kiran
Text: Paul Nicodamus
Many dance forms in India communicate between mind, soul and God through the art of dance. In those dance forms, Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest dance forms which historically come from the ages carrying social and religious importance in India. One such gifted artist who pays respect to the almighty through her dance form is Roopa Kiran.
Roopa feels it is a form of ‘seva’ that she offers to the God. She communicates with Lord Shiva through her dance and feels it as a divine gesture to God. Whenever she performs the art form, she connects the divinity of her dance with people finding the essence of happiness through her performance.
Born and brought up in princely city of Mysore, Roopa at the age of five, started learning Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam under the guidance of Dr. Vasundhara Doraswamy. With the help of her mother and teacher, she concentrated on learning the dance; eventually completing her junior, senior and vidwat grade exams from the Karnataka Secondary Board of Education.
Roopa is a Vidwan holder in Bharatanatyam and a Business Administration graduate from CSM institute of Graduate studies, Canada. Being an accomplished dancer and a committed teacher gifted with a fine sense of rhythm and abhinaya, she displays aesthetic taste and innovative skills while retaining the traditional purity of the style. Her movements are graceful with sharp footsteps and possess flawless abhinaya. She perceives Bharatanatyam as a sacred art, which she feels her ‘soul’ itself with graceful movements, flawless abhinaya and sharp footwork. She is very disciplined and dedicated artist, she follow all the rules and regulations which was taught by her teachers. Till date, Roopa ensured that the anklets(Kadiyams) given by her guru years ago and is inseparable part of her body, thus showing the degree of respect and wilful belief and dedication towards the customs, tradition and her teachers . Roopa is also proficient in Carnatic vocal and Nattuvanga.
Roopa, took forward the dreams of her mother of becoming a classical dancer, which could not be fulfilled due to circumstances did not permit her to take up this noble art form and making them happen. She strived to train herself as a renowned artist due to the inclination. Though it was not a cake walk for Roopa but her mother stood as a greatest support system for her. Being a resident of a foreign country( Hong Kong), it was a great challenge for her to perform in India and not only this she had to go through tough times in abroad even. She had to face many a challenges. Still, she performed in many International Dance Festivals and proved her metal. With her utmost hard work and endless efforts, Roopa could build her and take the privilege of promoting, the Indian art and culture abroad. She remains thankful for all the facilitators who have given her opportunities and platforms to showcase her skill in Classical Dance Form.
Roopa feels proud to represent Indian Classical Dances in Hong Kong. It shows respect towards the country. Being a classical dancer is very elegant and respectable career in the world, opined she and added that by way of conducting festivals like ‘Laasyotsava’ abroad, makes her feel that she is contributing something to the world of arts and thereby increasing its value and appreciation.
Appointment of Roopa as the Cultural Ambassador of India in Hong Kong, is not only a matter of pride to Roopa alone but also to her guru and Principal of Natraj Music and Dance Academy, Visakhapatnam, K.V.Lakshmi, under whose tutelage she learned Kuchipudi Dance Form.
Passionate of classical dances, Roopa made it as her profession and with the blessings of her gurus, she grabbed the opportunities and performed on various platforms that includes prestigious Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam, Chidambaram duering festivals and received many awards and recognitions. Not only this, for her immense back breaking effort in mastering the classical dance forms, Roopa has been entitled with many prestigious awards. To name some are – Naatya Tarang Yuva Puraskar, Naatyasri, Naatyavedha, Naatyasarathi, Naatyadhruma, Nrityashiromani, Satyabhama Award, and International Dance Day Award. She also performed at charity for NGOs.
Apart from India, Roopa has also performed countries like Thailand, Malaysia, China, Singapore, and Indonesia. She currently teaches and performs in Hong Kong. Disseminating such gracious spirit of dance forms throughout the world, Roopa reinforces as a ‘Ray of Hope’ representing her mother land.