What I love the most about Dance is that it keeps you connected to your feminine side. It is great exercise and therapy combined into one. Especially during quarantine, dance helped me overcome the feeling of isolation. Thanks to dance, I was able to meet so many great people in Germany. We all need some activity that enables us to connect with what truly makes us happy.
My name is Anisha Subramaniam – I am an engineering graduate who was equally fascinated by the tinkling of ankle bells as I was with the electromagnetic theory. Currently, I am a Senior Consultant and Tableau Specialist with MediaMarktSaturn.
My job with a Consultancy company (Accenture) is what originally brought me to Munich, where I currently live. I loved the open spaces and the fact that you could cycle with such ease in Munich. Come to think of it, I genuinely believe that life brought me to Munich – while I had travelled abroad earlier, this was the first time I lived so far away from my home country.
Outside of my job, I love Dance. I was initiated into dance by my family as a child – all my family were encouraged to pursue some art form, be it music, an instrument, or dance. I was shy and introverted and had trouble talking to people, so dance became the only place where I could express myself. I loved to practise – I was really lucky to have parents who did not emphasise on just academic excellence, but encouraged me to dance so I could develop an all-round personality. I then became serious about dance when I went to University. That is when I met my current Guru (Guide) Rani Khanam.
Rani Khanam is my main inspiration when it comes to dancing. From her, I have learned not just dance but also subtle skills: like how to conduct yourself, how to refuse a performance with dignity, and how to speak to an audience. Also, just reading the life stories of dancers all over the world and understanding their trials and tribulations inspires me.
I perform and teach Kathak, a classical North Indian dance form. I find it to be fluid and expressive at the same time. This was the dance form used by storytellers and bards to narrate mythological texts to the Indian public.
I also run my own dance school, KathakRaaga Germany (https://www.facebook.com/KathakRaaga/), in Munich. I was only a performer initially and was still processing moving from Mumbai to Munich – two very different worlds. I was performing a bit, but then I was constantly bogged down with the feeling of having to do something more. Again, my Guru inspired me to take up teaching and to do things professionally. Also, I wanted to convey that Indian Classical Art is not just for people of Indian origin. I am very happy to be teaching students from various parts of the world today – there is a wonderful dance community in Munich with lovely stories to tell. Also, I have a lot of gratitude to the Hare Krishna temple of Munich for providing me with space for my class before we moved into our current studio.
I like to see my dance class as a centre for Culture Education. We teach:
- Yoga and breathing exercises
- Understanding music and rhythms
- The history of North Indian dance and music is taught
- Children are encouraged to bake, cook, draw, and create a community of ‘dance sisters’ (and brothers, as we have 2 boys learning from us too)
- We also conduct online classes and have conducted a series of dance education videos for the Indian Consulate in Munich
Though every piece is special in its own way, ’Chaap Tilak’ remains our classic dance with KathakRaaga Germany. This is a song in Braj-Bhasha showing how when one is in love, one surrenders the soul to their beloved. This love need not be between 2 people – it can be love for a cause, love for a subject, or love for the divine. 2 of my students (very young girls) and I went to Cologne for this performance. It was so wonderful to see the audience response and, of course, we did give our very best.
I have some future goals with my dancing and KathakRaaga Germany. I hope that we can introduce Kathak in some schools, as it is an excellent method to get children to focus and unleash their creative side. As a performer, I hope to be able to collaborate with more German musicians to create an Indian dance with some German flavour in it. I hope to start performing again and I also hope that the little children with whom I have trained get to dance on stage very soon.
One the surface, Dance and Tech may appear different like chalk and cheese, but there are so many similarities. Discipline is one of them, time management is another. Also, as a teacher, you have to teach the students to always remain positive, which helps you motivate yourself and your team at work.
Dance has been beneficial to my technological career, and vice versa. From my experience in technology, I learned to question, to analyse, and to come up with solutions. From dance, I learned to be optimistic and spontaneous. So both have had a definite impact on each other and balance each other out. Dance is the reason I don’t feel the burn out in a corporate job, and my technological career is the reason I do not feel the need to get sucked into the web of politics of the dance world.
My advice to any aspiring dancers is to choose your guide wisely – once you have chosen, trust in their wisdom and instruction. Be aware of the cultural institutions that promote art and try to contribute to them. Be constant in your practise and have monthly goals with regards to that. Finally, you are human; there will be a lot of friendly ‘suggestions’ that come your way. Develop the discretion to listen to what will benefit you and ignore the rest.
There is always more than tech. I personally do not think technology and art are mutually exclusive. Both empower you to enrich your life and have changed the course of history. I think that once us technologists direct our energies towards artistic pursuits, we are able to see things in a different light. Also, after a few years in technology, there is a tendency to feel stagnant in terms of life experiences. Learning from each other’s creative pursuits can definitely motivate us to finally take that pottery class or grow roses in our gardens.
To learn more about KathakRaaga Germany, and to watch some of Anisha’s dance videos, be sure to check her Facebook page: