World-famous classical Indian dance instructor Rahul Gupta had designed online dance and yoga tutorials during COVID-19 since he believes that “classical dance is a form of meditation and prayer that keeps our mind at peace.” In conversation with Brainfeed, Rahul opens up about his career and his struggles dealing with social taboos for being a male dancer.
Q. Please brief us about your journey so far.
A: From the beginning, I was passionate about classical dance. Great performers on TV have greatly motivated me since childhood and pushed me to overcome all the barriers in choosing dance as my goal in life. After finishing studies, I started teaching the rich culture of Indian classical dance in the Gulf. After couple of years in the Gulf and teaching Bharatnatyam, I moved back to India and got married to Nandini, who is also an expert Classical dancer. We are running a dance school and have conducted stage shows in India and abroad. The journey so far has been very satisfying, inspiring and wonderful.
Q. Growing up, what were the major challenges you faced?
A: Major challenges faced by me was the constant resistance from friends and family for choosing dance as profession. Male classical dancers are taboo in India. The discouragement only made me more determined. There was no looking back, once I had made up my mind. The mockeries could never stop me from achieving my goals.
Q. What was your experience teaching in Gulf?
A: Since I received training in Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak and Bihu from Kerala, Delhi and Kolkata, it gave me quality exposure and experience. My experience and confidence that I had gained helped me to establish my identity in the Gulf without facing major setbacks.
Q: How do you connect to the Indian classical dance forms?
A: Indian Classical dances are traditionally performed as an expressive drama dance form of religious performance art. They reveal the emotions by gestures and poses. For me, classical dance is a form of meditation and prayer that keeps our mind at peace. I feel that classical dance is the highest form of art. Decades of classical dancing have taught me to keep learning, improving and remaining motivated.
Q: Many students are afraid of making a career based on their passion. Any word of advice for them?
A: My advice to those students is to choose your future career as per your interest and passion and to move on regardless.