Recently the social media was abuzz with dancers Amy Kumar, Nenita Praveen and Maithri Rao modelling for Bharatanatyam dancer Kiranmayee Madupu online store Tarikita. Speaking to Natyahasini, Kiranmayee Madupu shares that the online store Tarikita is a one-stop-shop for Indian classical dancers to shop for their accessories and she also aspires to bring innovative products to improve the customer experience. She says: “The idea to set up the online store struck me during the lockdown when we wanted to organise a Virtual Vijayadasami Puja for our students. I wanted them to dress up for the occasion but it was so hard to get all the accessories in one place. Even if we managed to, they were all so difficult to use or expensive or of cheap quality.”
Kiranmayee says that given her experience in marketing and branding and having general sense for aesthetics, she felt she could positively contribute to this gap between what dancers need and what is available. “After nine months of working on getting my products in line, finding vendors, and creating marketing and branding strategies, we launched Tarikita in July ’21,” says the store owner. She adds that the store sells all that a dancer needs from practice sarees, jewellery to all others.
Dance, Imp. Identity: Recalling her dance journey, Kiran says it’s been a revelation! “I have discovered myself over and over again through dance. I have also learned many life skills in the pursuit. And more than anything, dance becomes an important part of my identity,” she says. The Bharatanatyam dancer says that her mother, like many of her time, had the unfulfilled dream of learning dance. “She tried to live it by making me learn. My first guru, Mrs. Hemamalini Arni was just in the neighbourhood. That’s how I ended up learning Bharatanatyam,” says the ever-smiling dancer.
Learning under Late Guru Hemamalini Arni ma’am, Kiranmayee says that the space was just as beautiful as the Guru. “She had another-worldly charm to her. She was very passionate about her art and taught us with utmost dedication. All those values are now ingrained into our training, apart from the technical aspects,” she says. Currently, learning from Smt. Indira Kadambi, she says: “Indira akka is a gem of a teacher and rare find! For me, seeking knowledge and training under her is like finding an oasis in the dessert. I’m truly very lucky. However, post having a baby, I have not been doing much justice. So, I’m hoping to get back in form and train more under her soon,” she says.
Kiranmayee, who became popular with her thematic one-woman presentations like ‘Porous Earth’, says that it’s a very spiritual process. “It’s like inviting several aathmas into my body, letting them take control and tell their stories. I feel humbled and full of empathy. ‘Porous Earth’ especially allowed me to take the roles of inanimate objects as well as human beings from different walks of life. It was an immersive experience. Also, the production allowed me to travel and present my art all around the world in prestigious festivals in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Paris, Sri Lanka and Hungary.”
Misses Classes: The Bharatanatyam dancer says that more than missing performing on stage, she misses going to dance class, being around students and learning from a teacher. “I can’t wait to get back,” she says with enthusiasm. She agrees that Pandemic has really changed people’s lives and mindsets. “Earlier, I was thoroughly opposed to online classes, insisting that one can’t learn classical arts in 2D. But the pandemic has pushed us to the brink of extinction unless we innovate and adapt,” she says.
The founder of ‘Hema Arangam – The Golden Platform’, who teaches and practices dance, work out, manages home, toddler daughter, runs a YouTube channel for home décor content and now runs a business, agrees it does keep her very busy, but the secret to this is that she does these things because she enjoys them! “When it comes to managing my home or child, I am blessed to have an immensely supportive family. The pandemic has also given us artists the time away from performing. And a break like that can really give one some great perspective! When you love what you do, it doesn’t seem like work,” says the dancer. On teaching dance to her daughter Raaga, the online store owner says that the little one watches her teach online and also observes when a few students come home for one-on-ones. “Although she’s only two, she picks up from them. So, I guess it’ll be a natural learning process for her, by way of observing and being surrounded by art,” says Kiranmayee, before signing off.