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“I danced my way through my childhood…” – Madhuri Dixit Nene

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I have been dancing since I was three years old. Kathak is my life. Dance has always been my passion. If acting is my first love, dancing is my passion. It’s like breathing for me. It’s something very spiritual. As a student of Kathak, I had learnt abhinaya (dancing with expressions), and that really helped me improve my skills as an actor as well.

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On Children’s Day, I cannot emphasise enough the importance music and dance in a child’s life. Music and dance help in the holistic development of mind and body.

My mother is a well-trained classical singer. She even sang with me in Gulaab Gang. So in our house, we were exposed to music, beats, taal and lai from a very early age. So both music and dance are an integral part of me.  Dance keeps you fit. It makes you feel good and helps you connect with your soul.

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As a child, I was quite an outgoing person, who was never hesitant to take part in any kind of debates, or elocution tests or contests. I was doing everything in school. Basically, I was doing dramatics or whether it was dancing or whether it was elocution, whether it was debating, whether it was singing, I was enthusiastic you know. No shyness at all, I remember once, there’s an incident my mom used to tell me that we were travelling by train and there were a group of friends and we were all talking and you know chatting. I was very little, I was like three and half year old and somebody asked me ‘You learn dancing?’ So I said ‘Yeah! I do’. Then says ‘Ok, will you dance?’ I said ‘Yeah’ and I started dancing while on the train and my mom was like, ‘What are you doing, come here, sit here, you’re not supposed to dance here’. The first thing that music and dance did was to help me embrace who I was. Dancing gives you confidence – so important in the formative years of a child. Dance helps you get over inhibitions and shyness. It makes you confident without being arrogant.

I received a scholarship as a Kathak dancer when I was nine. I even remember that it was due to a dance performance that the first time my name had appeared in the paper. I was seven or eight years old at that time and had performed at the Guru Purnima festival. And there was a journalist who was there and he had written this article saying that ‘this little girl stole the show’  – something like that. I was over the moon. So dance gave me a sense of achievement. Of worth.

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Dance is about happiness, confidence and help. It is a metaphor for life in some ways and helps you take care of yourself. Dance helped me be happy and positive. It has also made me generally accepting of life. Dance and music make you so happy – and it is only when you are happy that you make others happy.

Being married to a doctor has definitely made this me even more conscious of my and my family’s health. I have realised now how even medical research has proven that dancing or listening to music releases ‘happiness hormones’ that keep you upbeat and buoyant and help keep depression and negativity away.

I strongly suggest all parents make dance or music – any form of it – a part of your child’s education. On my app, Dance With Madhuri, we try and introduce as many styles as is possible. Let the child spend some time figuring out what interests him or her. After some time, see what your kid takes to – let them follow their heart. If they do something they love, they will give it all their love. And you as a parent will see a very positive difference in your child’s life!”

Can you believe that one of those celestial bodies in the Orion Constellation has been named after Madhuri Dixit?


(As told to Aarti Kapur Singh)

Featured image source: Wikimedia Commons

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