Sameeksha Mittal: Insights from a Dancer's creative journey
Sameeksha, founder of Bhaav Dance Company candidly talks about her journey from a struggling artist to launching a platform for upcoming dancers
After 20 years of being in the field of dance and performative arts, Sameeksha learned so many valuable lessons, not just about dance but also about navigating through one’s passion and life in general.
Lucky for you, Sameeksha is here to share all that with you as you start your own respective journeys.
Sameeksha is the founder of Bhaav Dance Company, and her understanding of her profession is very nuanced and thought-out. She has created this space to help upcoming artists & students succeed and not face the same challenges she faced in her journey. Read on to know the thought that goes on behind her creative process and her distinctive lookout-
1. Dance is like technology
Sameeksha has been a dancer since she was five. From Kathak to Jazz she has been an artist in diverse domains. One thing that she says is constant across all forms is that it is ever-changing.
"In dance, there is so much to explore, so much to create. Every six months, the world offers us something new. I think dance is like technology, it keeps changing."
She realized this when she was pursuing her Masters at JNU. She got an injury and had to stop dancing for two years. When she came back, she realized so much had changed and there was so much to catch on to.
"That was a reality check. Dance keeps changing, you need to keep your body fit and your brain and art form updated and aware."
2. Creating art is a very intellectual process
Pieces that Sameeksha has created have been heavily influenced by the research work that she conducted during under graduation and postgraduation. They include feminism, studies on the lives of transgender persons, et al.
Along with being a dancer, Sameeksha tells us that she was also a geek. She gave equal importance to her university education as her passion for dance. That has helped her grow as a creator, as an artist, and as a person.
"I started thinking of my art form and its complexities from socio-economic and political points of view."
Sameeksha believed that creating art, be it artistic, commercial, intimate, or cosmic, is a deeply intellectual process and needs a lot of mental development. A budding maturity inside an artist formulates in their respective creations.
"Any form of expression, be it dance, art, poetry, is just a language that has been put down on the canvas."
3. The importance of an individualistic approach in dancing
Talking about the space that she wishes to create for dancers, Sameeksha tells us that a lot of dance academies and companies put in extra effort to create uniformity among their dancers. That's how outsiders recognise the company and word of mouth spreads, through their dancers.
"I don't believe in making uniform dancers. Everyone comes with different histories, societies, and mindsets, and what makes each one's art special is its unique approach. To maintain every individual's approach to expression and nurture that, is very important in all arts."
Sameeksha talks about the piece that she created during the lockdown. It originated from the infamous 'Locker room incident' and how she felt about it, as a woman. She wrote a poem, added music to the recitation, and then choreographed to that. It came from a personal place, not just the final piece but also the process of its creation.
"Uniformity is one of the major aspects of capitalism and that's why it is ever so present everywhere. As far as my noncommercial pieces are concerned, I try to make them as variable and individualistic as possible."
4. Prepare Your Body
As a dancer in the early years, Sameeksha too was starry-eyed with dreams of making it big in the field. Practicing for 12 out of 24 hours, while also managing college work and commute, seemed like a part of the struggle required to succeed.
Like many dancers around her, she was only worried about looking the best and being the best. She continued to ignore the signs of exhaustion and overwork that her body was giving. As a result, after completing her Master's, her body succumbed to injuries and she couldn't even walk, let alone dance.
With a shattered dream, Sameeksha took a break from dance. When she decided to return to her dream and give it another chance, she knew she couldn't repeat her mistakes.
Sameeksha took extra care of her body, physically and mentally. With a proper diet and a schedule that gave her enough rest, she started dancing again and went on to perform Salim Sulaiman's musical titled 'Beyond Bollywood' all across the world.
Now, she is creating Bhaav, a place to help young and upcoming dancers who are struggling. At Bhaav, they get to express their creativity and get a launchpad to start their creative journeys. Sameeksha keeps workshops in colleges, events at popular venues around the cities and most of all gives guidance to many more young 'Sameekshas' out there who are starting their artistic journeys.
Talking to Sameeksha, one realizes that a person is a collection of their experiences, and artists and creators try to express those experiences through art. This is what makes each creation unique.
All dancers, especially the young and budding dancers, can check out Bhaav, the space that Sameeksha has created, here.
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