Dance mix

India Today - - SIMPLY BANGALORE -

It’s not of­ten that one comes across some­one of North­east In­dian de­scent to be adept at a South In­dian dance form. But Charles Ma is full of sur­prises. With a fa­ther of Chi­nese and Nepali Hindu ori­gins and a Chris­tian mother from As­sam, Charles was born in and has lived his whole life in Ban­ga­lore.

SNUB THAT HURT It was when he was snubbed by a se­nior dancer, he says, that he felt chal­lenged to learn Bharat­natyam and be the best at it. He be­gan train­ing with Vidya Shim­ladka in 2002, but when she got mar­ried and moved away, he switched to the tute­lage of Poorn­ima Ashok. When ‘Saarang,’ the an­nual cul­tural fes­ti­val of Iit-chen­nai was an­nounced in 2006, Charles de­cided to try his luck. There were 48 women and two men par­tic­i­pants. And he won first place. About a year ago he gave his first ma­jor stage per­form- ance at Bhar­tiya Vidya Bha­van in Ban­ga­lore, which ex­ploded in rave re­views that de­scribed the new dancer to have ‘flaw­less foot­work’ among other pos­i­tives. Since then, he’s given up ad­ver­tis­ing to pur­sue what he says is his true call­ing. NEXT The as­pir­ing artist says he wants to be the best Bharat­natyam dancer in In­dia. “I’ve been told by peo­ple that it won’t hap­pen es­pe­cially be­cause I’m a man. But I think I’m spe­cial, I’ll make it.”

sec­ond opinion

“There’s a fresh­ness and spon­tane­ity to his dance. He’s got a good con­nect with the au­di­ence and has a great fu­ture ahead of him.” LAK­SHMI GOPALASWAMY, CLASSICAL DANSEUSE AND AC­TOR

“I don’t have time for mar­riage. There is no room for any­one apart from me and dance. You have to make sac­ri­fices for your art.”

Pho­tographs by SAN­JAY RAM­CHAN­DRAN

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