Dance and manage

Profile Dancer Archana Karry talks how Good Management at work, can be achieved through dance. Ranee Kumar

For most traditionalists, it is an anathema to talk of classical dance and music in terms of management jargon; in fact it is close to being blasphemous! The new generation practitioners no longer tow this line. Archana Karry, a Kalakshetra alumni who went into HR armed with an MBA and actually did a stint of six years with a corporate and came back to dance, armed with a novel way of presentation through teaching is someone to reckon with.

“I belong to Nellore but then a part of my childhood was spent in Chennai where my dad was employed. So, the Madras culture of music and dance caught on to us as a family though, I didn’t quite realise it as a future passion at that point of time. Being an academically-oriented family as such, a profession in dance or music was far from our minds, I mean my parents’ too! It was when I threw up my coaching for medical entrance mid-way, in sheer disgust over the drab routine, that my father one day, suddenly landed up with an application form for Kalakshetra. I was overwhelmed that here was someone who realised that I had no mind for monotonous courses! So, I went to Kalakshetra and passed out with a post-graduation in dance. But the genetic factor was still at work and I completed my academics through correspondence course and came up with a business management degree too!” Archana introduces us to her dual pursuits or shall we call it multi-tasking?

Marriage came her way, and then the family life which took her to the United Kingdom where she tried teaching dance to a few young children. “Most parents (NRIs) even here, are wanting to get back to the roots. That is when I learnt certain basic lessons in teaching the present day young ones. They are gifted with questioning faculty. They need a logical answer to every move and bend and word. Here my MBA came in handy. And once, the answer appeals to the mind, the rest is smooth go. They take to learning new things like dance immediately once their inquiry is satiated,” she says convincingly.

Back to India, due to ill health which she counts as a blessing in disguise as it allowed her to experiment, perform and finally find herself in what was soon turning into a passion-dance. Though she took up a regular corporate job, she also began teaching dance. The management guru in her speaks when she says, “dance is nothing but an expression of life in day to day living. It is a rhythm of the day with the night.” She advocates thinking outside the box which is the first step to developing a vision. “Dance is multi-tasking and time management tool. It catapults one to the level of a cultural ambassador, where innovation and leadership qualities develop automatically. This in turn builds confidence. Teaching and learning dance is akin to sharpening the axe (honing my skills), performing is dissipation of joy through this skill to others and teaching it is being ready to share my skill with others and in doing so, not holding up the returns. Though she speaks the lingo that our techies relate to in a jiffy, within Archana there lies the dancer trained by the traditional Kalakshetra. She runs her dance studios at three places: Sainikpuri, AS Rao Nagar and West Maredpalli. “I have a three-month probation for any student who wants to join after which there is a review with the parents for continuing or discontinuing dance. Mine is a very structured teaching methodology. I want it to be seamless. I’d like to bring my management school structure into dance. My dream is to be an entrepreneur,” she states.

Archana also teaches ‘Creative movements’ in a meaningful ‘Keli’ to the students at Pebble Creek Montessori. “I have not called it Bharatanatyam, since this dance is not a tick box activity. I’m doing this as an experiment with boys and girls who are non-dancers. It is dance related to animals and nature that finds expression in movements. It is to show that there are so many lessons to learn in Nature,” signs off the enthusiast dance guru.

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