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  • Bengaluru’s cultural hub



    From morning to night, NIKC is thriving with cultural activity

    There was a time in namma Bengaluru, where one could only think of Bharatanatya when it came to classical dance. But, Natya Insititute of Kathak and Choreography (NIKC), founded by the late dancer-teacher and Kathak Exponent Dr Maya Rao changed that.

    Founded by Rao in 1987, the institute was affiliated to the Bangalore University for years and offered degrees in dance. “But a few years ago we decided to go back to a diploma. Now, the courses are shorter and ideal for those who want to do a crash course in dance and choreography, making it a liberal arts course,” explains Madhu Natraj, dancer and daughter of Maya Rao, who adds, “My mother started this place in Malleshwram as she was born here and had many friends in the area, inlcuding Vimala Rangachar, who offered this space. That is how NIKC was built in the premises of MEWS (Malleshwaram Enterprisers Women’s Society).”

    Today NIKC, is one of the most sought-after spaces for every form of cultural activity. Be it yoga, Kathak, lecture demonstrations, dance workshops or contemporary dance — NIKC is open to all.

    The idea, adds Natraj, was to convert the place into a cultural hub. NIKC was originally on the ground floor. “It was just a huge hall with a restroom in the back,” recalls Natraj. Five years later they moved to the first floor and Natraj, who has a fascination for designing interiors, kept converting the place to suit the multi-functional works of the dance institute. The huge hall is now divided into two with a foldable door. “We shut the door when we have two workshops happening simultaneously. The foldable doors are also used as side wings for performances,” adds Natraj, who also conducts choreography and contemporary dance classes here.

    The place also boasts of a huge library with over 2,000 books on dance, culture and dance history. Natraj also adds that many travelling dancers — Astaad Deboo, Anita Ratnam, Helen Acharya — visit NIKC to conduct workshops and lecture demonstrations. “Kalanidhi Mami (a well-known abhinaya teacher) opened up her first workshop in Bengaluru here,” she adds.

    The the space is also let out for an event called Company Kutcheri, where they invite artistes on a regular basis. So there are also talks and seminars besides music that are held on its premises.

    “In fact, we fight for the space. We have students, performers, Kathak dancers, working women, contemporary dancers and yoga practitioners — all trying to fit in and use this space. From morning 8 am to 9 pm, we have something happening here. It is always thriving with some activity or the other,” laughs Natraj.

    (Where we discover hidden and not so hidden nooks and crannies of the city)

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style / by Shilpa Sebastian R / November 13th, 2017

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