Text: Paul Nicodemus
She is a disciplined individual who is immensely passionate about dance. While there were many avenues for her to pursue her career, her passion made her choose dance as her profession. Haimanti Basu, an Odissi artiste from Kolkata, has travelled across the oceans and has been instrumental in promoting Indian art and culture both in India and abroad.
Born on May 8, 1975 in Kolkata, Haimanti did her schooling from a reputed school in Kolkata and her graduation in the field of commerce from Calcutta University in 1997. She also did a three years course in Computer Science from NIIT Kolkata.In her childhood, her sister inspired her to fall in love with dancing and over a period of time, she became passionate about it.
“Her regular practice and performances on stage inspired me to be a dancer,” she says. At the age of 5 years, she started taking her first lessons in dance from CLT, a renowned performing arts institute in Kolkata. She had exposure to various dance forms under the guidance of different dance gurus from an early age. She also took Kathak lessons from Chaya Halder.
In 2007, she moved to the United States of America and stayed there for almost 10 years. Over there, she had the opportunity to experience Odissi, the ancient art form from Odisha. She liked it so much that the art form became her profession. Currently, she is pursuing her advanced training in Odissi under the guidance of Guru Durga Charan Ranabir and a special Talim from Guru Kohinoor Sen Barat.
Her desire to spread Indian dance made her open her own academy, ‘Aarangam Dance Academy’, first in the United States of America and later in India. Under her guidance students have been undergoing training in Odissi. She has won several accolades in the USA and India. ‘Kindle Award’ for promoting Indian culture among the diverse community in the USA and the title of ‘Nrityasree’ from India are prominent among them.
Her mother has been her role model, “She gave me immense inspiration and support to be a person that I am today. She could not live her dream but she effortlessly helped me to achieve my mission,” she says. Haimanti got the opportunity to teach the diverse community and feels accomplished to have carried our art form to the highest point of global acceptance.
As an artist, she feels the best moment of her life was when she received praise and applause from the audience. The worst moment is when her students do not keep up to the expectation on stage.
Apart from her full-time dancing profession, she loves cooking and spends a good time pursuing the hobby.
According to Haimanti, “Classical dance is a pure art form where each individual needs dedication and has to put in an enormous effort to learn a drop from the vast ocean.” She also feels that classical dance should not be improvised with fusion as the pure art form has its own dimension and structure. “Pure dance and fusion should be kept separated as they may not blend together,” she opines.
Indian art and culture have a huge effect on society. “We should motivate our next generation to enrich themselves with art and culture. This will help to heal our society from various social hazards and the world will be a better place to live in peacefully,” she says. Haimanti adds that our government is helping the artistes with different scholarship programmes and talent grants, thereby helping our generation to be good human beings with the influence of art and culture.
She is delighted to serve as a cultural ambassador and pledges to support any noble cause.