Bharatanatyam dancer Suchismita Das and her daughters Shreyasee and Sudhriti are a familiar face in the performance circles of Hyderabad. Speaking to Natyahasini, Suchismita says that for the last decade, she has been sharing the stage with her elder daughter Shreyasee and since the last couple of years with Sudhriti. “It has now been more than ten years that I have been sharing stage with my elder daughter as she started stage performances at a very tender age and my younger daughter too is performing with us from the last couple of years. As a dancer, there is no doubt but joy to produce, practice and present our new innovations and choreographies together. We make our own crazy practice hours also innovate techniques. My daughters are keen in contemporary styles and changes that are happening in Bharatanatyam. They update me with all newest information,” admits Suchismita.
The daughters in unison say that sharing the stage with mother, who is their Guru, is indeed a special feeling. They say that when the Guru is your mother, then the process of training under her and performing with her has only one advantage: An abundance of learning and experience. “It is different since not many people have this fortune. I consider myself extremely blessed for getting a Guru in my mother. My mom and I have shared the stage numerous times, portraying various characters of various storylines in various diverse dance forms. Starting from Bharatanatyam, which is our forte, to Kathak, semi-classical, folk, Rabindra Nritya, Bollywood, etc, we try to explore and perform together whenever there is an opportunity,” says Shreyasee. Supporting her sister Sudhiti, Shreyasee adds that while performing as a mother-daughter duo, “We have that raw chemistry amongst us, like if one of us forgets a step, the other one automatically covers it up in a very subtle yet choreographic way.”
Suchismita, who initiated both her daughters into dance, states that her daughters developed interest in dance since their childhood. “My daughters always admired me as their teacher. I feel dance can provide immense joy, physical fitness and positivity. It can be the source of expressing one’s emotions. It also can synchronize mind, body and soul aesthetically. It can create a person of better philosophy,” says the mother of two.
Incredible Journey: Shreyasee recalls that she was initiated into dance by her mom when she was around three years old. “She used to teach me dance steps on many songs. Since then, it has been an incredible journey. There has been no looking back. Gradually, I started training in Bharatanatyam professionally under my mother. Being introduced to dance at such a young age has led to an abundance of love in me towards Indian Classical Dance forms,” she says. Both sisters still learn from their mother and will continue to do so. “From learning the Namaskaram (obeisance, praying to Lord Nataraj) as a child to choreographing something by myself for the very first time and winning competitions, it has been a long way of which my Mother is an integral part. She has taken all efforts to mould us into what we as dancers are today. Dance has been a magnificent addition to my life,” say the sisters.
On teaching her daughters, Suchismita says that first and foremost she is a teacher and there is no discrimination among her daughters and students in class. “Each student achieves her/his perfection by her/his own dedication, practice and hard work. That’s what is applicable for my daughters as well,” says the former teacher of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kolkata and Hyderabad. Shreyasee says that learning under Guru Ma comes naturally and is indeed a blessed and ecstatic feeling. “The learning curve is not just restricted to the class timings but beyond that. We discuss dance-related topics even at home while doing our daily chores. I feel that as a dancer’s daughter, it is indeed a privilege both for my sister and myself, as we can learn or discuss any dance-related thing with our mother,” says the older sister.