Kumudini Lakhia is an Indian Kathak dancer and choreographer based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where she founded Kadamb School of Dance and Music, an institute of Indian dance and music in 1964. Lakhia is a pioneer in contemporary Kathak dance and is credited for moving away from the solo form of Kathak starting in the 1960s, by turning it into a group spectacle. She is responsible for innovations like taking away traditional stories and adding contemporary storylines into Kathak's repertoire. She is also conferred with Padma Shri (1987) and Padma Bhushan (2010).
What is your favourite word?
Madness. Along with "passion", I believe a little bit of madness is required too. Passion is like hunger. It isn't something that you constantly feel in your gut to drive forward your craft to the next level. Sometimes you are hungry, sometimes you aren't. Whenever you are hungry though, whenever you do feel passionate about your work, madness is what feeds that hunger. If passion is the desire to reach the sky, madness is the energy that enables you to pursue it. Madness is what makes you overdo it. You need to overdo it, to find your passion at a deeper level. They both go hand-in-hand.
What was the moment in your life that made you Blossom into the person you are today?
When I was 18 years old, I chose to go to London to join Ram Gopal's troop because I wasn't sure if I'd get any job here. I was a girl who just finished college studying agriculture. Who'd give me a job? Especially in an industry that was filled with men. So, I thought I will be able to do something in dance and took the opportunity. I was always ready to take on new challenges. When I did start my journey in London, I had several points of time that made me question myself. Selfdoubt is something that always waits for you just around the corner to creep into your thoughts. However, I had encouragement from our troop and Ram Gopal. Encouragement makes you feel better. Slowly, I became the main dancer in our troop and Ram's partner too. There's a saying, "All the right things happen for all the wrong reasons". I chose dance first because I wasn't sure if any other job. Then I had self-doubt but slowly I found my way to my passion. If this wasn't what I was meant to do, if this wasn't something I love doing, I wouldn't be doing it for 74 years now, would I? For me, the turning points in life happen in the moments when you consciously choose to do what your heart tells you.
What would you want the young boys & girls to learn from your journey?
Passion. You need to have the will to do it. "No, I can't do this today. I will do it tomorrow.." No! Do it today. You have to do it when you will to do it. I have been in the profession of dance for 74 years today. When I started my journey in dance, it wasn't even accepted as a profession in the country quite like how it is now. It wasn't an education qualification back then. Today, a university is calling me to give a doctorate, when I have started working towards my passion while nobody gave importance to it. When you want to do it, you need to do it irrespective of any odds.