Nottingham’s renowned Manushi Dance has celebrated the beginning of its 20th year in style with a spectacular performance of classical Indian Kathak dance at The New Art Exchange, in Nottingham.
Vina Ladwa, Director of Manushi Dance said that forming a dance company to explore South Asian dance styles had always been her dream.
“I started dancing at age 8 and haven’t stopped since! When you are in the dance world – on stage performing you always feel you are floating on a cloud and this is an experience I like to share with everyone who appreciates dance.
When we started in 1996, my dance Guru Nilema Devi christened my group Manushi and it is amazing to think we have now achieved our 20th anniversary!”
During the launch of what will be a year of celebrations for the group, Vina and her dancers wowed the audience with varied dances and beautiful costumes. “New Art Exchange is like my second home.
I’m always here; if not for teaching or performing I’m here for social gatherings. The Manushi 20 Launch was the perfect start to our celebrations. All of the dancers performed so well and I am very proud of my students.”
Vina says that people of any age can learn classical dance and that Kathak, the discipline that she teaches has no age restrictions. “Kathak is a storytelling dance and can be enjoyed on many levels, both as a viewer and participant.”
Age UK has recently joined with Manushi dance and Vina now teaches classes to older dancers who will perform a classical piece at Nottingham Lakeside Arts on the 6th August.
Louise Clements has been dancing with Manushi since 1999 and says that there are so many benefits to joining the dance company, “Vina is so generous with her gifts and her rehearsals are very sociable. It is a very beautiful way for people to express their creativity.”
Bhakti Nagaraja agrees, “I originally came from Mumbai and didn’t do very much dancing. I joined the dance company 7 years ago and it has definitely enabled me to be in touch with a much wider community than before.
It is like a family and my son Shreyan who is 5 now calls Vina ‘nani’ which is like Grandma, and he calls the dancers his Nottingham family!” Bhakti says that she used to get nervous before performances, but that is a thing of the past, “I absolutely love it now! I am not the world’s most confident person but as part of this group my confidence has grown.
Everyone can take something from Kathak, you can make it whatever you want. Everyone did so well and it was a magical performance!”
Manushi Dance will next perform at The Nottingham Lakeside Arts on 6th August at 7.30 pm.