‘I have seen people relieved of mental blocks by dance’

‘I have seen people relieved of mental blocks by dance’

By Keith Armando Gomes | | 15 April, 2017
Anamika Singh, dance, kathak, ballroom forms, ADAA
Anamika Singh.
Contemporary dancer Anamika Singh speaks to Keith A. Gomes about the expressive range, entertainment potential and, most importantly, therapeutic powers inherent in all forms of dance.
In this world overwrought with strife, both physical and mental, there are yet opportunities for finding solutions. Anamika Singh, a Delhi-based dancer, who started her own dance academy, called Adaa, after finishing her schooling, has equipped herself with training in various dance forms as well as knowledge in subjects like psychology. Now, she uses her expertise to help people address their mental troubles. She says that a lot can be solved by harnessing the therapeutic power of dance.  

Q. So, Anamika, please tell us about your first encounter with dance, the moment which drew you into it.

A. I think I have been dancing for many lives. I feel blessed that the Divine has found me worthy of this beautiful gift, a gift of feeling alive in body, mind and soul. I don’t think I ever embraced dance; I know I was born out of it. And now we are one.

Q. How did you go about receiving the expertise and knowledge in this art form? Tell us about your training.

A. My mother believes I danced much before I crawled or walked. I feel fortunate to have had very supportive parents who recognised my interest and encouraged me to pursue it from an early age. I was four years old when I started training in kathak. I went on to study various Indian folk dances along with my classical training in kathak. I found great support in my teachers and friends from The Mother’s International School, New Delhi, where I studied from nursery to class 12. It was here one was made aware of not simply growing but evolving holistically with complete awareness.   It was after school that I was introduced to ballet, jazz and various ballroom forms. I feel blessed to have found my gurus in very beautiful souls from across the world — Benny Kalra, Aditi Mangaladas, Saroj Khan, Ivan Pulinkala, ShiamakDavar, Windeckers, Fernando Aguilera, to name a few. They did not just impart skill and training but inculcated discipline and commitment towards one’s art. I feel blessed to have had the best guide me through my life. 

Q. Could you shed light on your family background, and your childhood? Were your parents connected to the arts as well?

A. I am proud to be part of a lineage which focused on growth of an individual at a micro as well as macro level. I come from an extremely secular family that encouraged each one to make their own choices, where men and women were treated alike in every manner. My grandfather made sure his sisters, 80-90 years ago, were well educated and financially independent. Sikh women usually carry the surname “Kaur” meaning “princess”. However, he made sure all the children (girls or boys) used “Singh” meaning “the Lion or the King.” And that says it all. My father was a captain in the merchant navy. He would sail for months to address the needs of his family; while my mother, a beautiful homemaker, nurtured every being of the family with great love and care, along with being extremely independent and strong to take charge of anything and everything in the absence of her husband. I am grateful to God for his grace and blessings to have given me a family that has set a strong and beautiful foundation for me to explore and experience life on my own terms.

“It is heartwarming to see that dance is recognised as one of the most effective mediums of healing and not just entertainment. Even when we see dance reality shows from across the world, the highlight is not merely on the skill but the journey of the participant.”

Q. How did you come up with the idea of starting your own academy, ADAA?

A. It wasn’t an idea, it was sheer magic. I used to perform and choreograph for events in school. It was after my board exams of class 12, some neighbours requested me to take classes for their children in the summer holidays. And what started as a summer camp for four children, born on 6 May 1998, has grown as a temple of love for lakhs of students across the world in these 19 years. ADAA is not an academy, it is home to all. It is where dreams are born and manifested. It is where we love, live, laugh together and cry and grieve together too. It is where we are healed and we are able to offer this healing and love to one and all.

Q. Could you tell us about the sort of projects that you undertake at ADAA?

A. ADAA welcomes all to explore, experience and express oneself through the magic of dance. ADAA’s very purpose is love, feeling love within and without. It is through the powerful medium of dance, we facilitate the synthesis of the body, mind and soul to embrace and offer the optimum. Everything we create is an offering to the Divine. Even in the commercial arena we are extremely selective and sensitive to the fact that every piece of work is facilitated as a means to inspire or heal, even though it may adorn a very entertaining carriage. Our themes, our subjects, are performances are not meant for the eyes alone but for the soul to be awakened and brought alive.

Q. In the past 19 years, you have acquired a vast knowledge of dance. What is it that still makes you passionate about dance?

A. Dance was never my hobby or passion. It is not what I do. It is not my work or business. Dance is what I breathe, in and out. It is my blessing, my sadhna, my tapasya. It is who I am. And all meant to be offered and shared in His service. 

Q. Your methods of using dance as a means of healing is a unique approach. Please tell us as to how you arrived on it and what is it that you exactly do in this approach?

A. To be very honest, I found myself healing bit by bit, moment to moment overcoming my limitations, my fears, and my insecurities. The more aware I became, the more I could see the world heal around me. In these 19 years, I have seen miracles happen each day, within and around. I have seen people overcome and heal their physical inhibitions, medical issues, mental blocks, psychological concerns. I have seen people come alive. I have seen people free themselves, flow and fly. It is not something I planned, it is something that happened, day after day, moment after moment. I, then, went on to study hypnotherapy so I could have better receptivity on the physical grounds to be able to offer my best to each one. And every person is unique with their own way of being, thinking, with their own behavioural patterns. My humble effort is to be more and more aware of this uniqueness in each one and offer my best enabling them to recognise the best in them. And dance is a beautiful, a very powerful medium.

Q. What do you see as the future of dance, with respect to your own work or of others whose works you follow?

A. It is heartwarming to see that dance is recognised as one of the most effective mediums of healing and not just entertainment. Even when we see dance reality shows from across the world, the highlight is not merely on the skill but the journey of the participant. So many beautiful, inspiring stories are coming to light which are further aiding in motivating, encouraging and inspiring people regardless of their caste, creed, nationality, status, shape, size etc. Dance is creation and we are in a time where the universe needs to be healed. Hence, there is more and more dance getting activated.  

Q. Could you talk about how you have touched people’s lives through dance?

A. I can only share how millions of lives have touched me. Every person I come across inspires me to be a better me, a more aware me. And it is this I hope to emit in all I do. Every person, every conversation, every situation is fuel to the making of an enlightened Anamika, a more whole and complete ADAA. And we can only offer what we have. So here I am embracing the abundant love and blessings of the universe to be able to offer all of it. I hope to spend all of myself before I transit this space of human life. I want to give my all. And may be I will add a tiny drop to His abundant seamless ocean of amazing grace. 

Q. In conclusion, what does dance mean to you, personally?

A. I lost my being and became one with dance. I am dance...dance is me. All duality is lost, all illusions merged. Love is all there is. Each moment is now a celebration and each breath, a prayer. 

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