A scholar, gym freak and an acclaimed Kuchipudi dancer from Bengaluru with performances in different regions of India and abroad, amassing awards, Rekha Satish is a doting wife, and mother to a 14-year-old daughter. Like most Indian ladies, she enjoys cooking for the family and has a fascination for Indian dresses. Her captivating persona with doe eyes exuding oodles of charm has also bagged few modelling assignments. Curious Hounds had an engaging interview with the charming multifaceted character from the family of musicians and scholars.
What attracted you towards Bharatanatyam at the age of five?
My mother was very fond of music and dance. She would take me to the performances she went to. Everything about the dance intrigued me; the costume, the mudras and the movements.
Why did you leave Bharatanatyam and embrace Kuchipudi?
I like Bharatanatyam but fell in love with Kuchipudi after watching a dance drama (HaraVilasam) choreographed and presented by late legendary Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam.
Did Kuchipudi make you unlearn Bharatanatyam, or you are comfortable with both the forms of this art?
I had learned Bharatanatyam for years. My foundation was strong and I adapted the nuances of Kuchipudi expeditiously. As a professional, I wanted to stick and justify to only one style.
Was the change difficult to adapt?
Initially yes, but gradually, I waded through with proper guidance from my Gurus.
What are the major differences between these two forms of classical dances?
Both these forms have originated from different states; Bharatanatyam from Tamilnadu and Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh. The predominant difference being in costume pleating and movements. Kuchipudi is very graceful and faster. Most of the songs are either in Telugu or in Sanskrit but yes there are few choreographies in Hindi and Kannada too. (Smiles) I feel language is no barrier for a performer.
Who do you credit to your success?
My Gurus, my mother and my family.
You are a performer, teacher, choreographer and a yoga practitioner. Which role gives you satisfaction and joy?
I feel an artist is complete when he or she has played all these roles. Dance being a visual art, I would like to perform as long as I am fit and presentable on stage. To stay fit I do yoga and practice dance to build stamina. I have learnt much about this art, and in my capacity of a teacher, I would find satisfaction in passing this art to the next generation. As a choreographer, I explore and innovate. It requires lot of thinking and consequently I become a critic. This role requires immense brainstorming.
In the end, teaching gives ultimate joy of passing down the legacy.
As a new age artist, what shortcomings do you find in the art and the artists? What are your recommendations?
Only one artist can understand another artist. So, if there is unity and support amongst artists, it would be great for any art form.
What do you have to say to the aspiring classical dancers?
Focus, hard work, patience and have faith in yourself.
You are from a family of musicians and scholars, yet you are a dancer. Would you influence your teenaged daughter into a particular profession, or would let her chart her own path?
As a dancer mother, I am keen on her pursuing the art of dance, even if it is a different form. I made my efforts in pulling her into it but (laughs) her interest lies in music. I respect individuality and have thus, given her the space to choose her vocation.
Curious Hounds is curious to know that how did you manage your HR job for almost a decade in various companies along with your performances which require hours of practice?
It was in fact a very big challenge; handling a job, family and dance, but thanks to my family who always supported my decisions.
What are your dreams for the future?
I want to start a dance and music school for the underprivileged children. I hope the government will support my endeavors to encourage and uplift the talent of those who cannot reach the medium for obvious reasons.