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Dance is my ‘swadharma’, expresses dancer Shallu Jindal

Classical dance teaches me every single day. It has taught me patience, commitment, discipline.


Noted Kuchipudi dancer Shallu Jindal who is now well-settled into her craft, experimented with a whole range of performing arts before finding her ‘swadharma’ and returning to the classical dance.

While she remembers with deep reverence her Kuchipudi gurus Raja and Radha Reddy, under whose tutelage she started learning dance in her 30s, Jindal can clearly recall her childhood Kathak lessons and what brought her to it.

“My mother did her M.A. in classical music. My foray into the performing arts happened because my parents loved singing. When I turned 8, my mother was keen that I must pursue some kind of performing art. That’s why I started learning Kathak.

“I also learnt sitar, guitar, Hindustani classical music, and theatre. I did a variety of performing arts, but my ‘swadharma’ was dance. And, I stuck on to it,” she told IANS in an interview here.

It was a stroke of luck that made the Delhi-based dancer meet her gurus during a ‘darshan’ at the Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh. Now 46, and actively involved in corporate and philanthropic ventures with her husband and former parliamentarian Naveen Jindal, dance is still her second skin.

“Classical dance teaches me every single day. It has taught me patience, commitment, discipline. Dance also makes you humble, because you depend on it for your identity,” she said. Despite having her plate full, she still dedicates time to dance practice every day.

Apart from performing arts, a lesser known side of Jindal is her passion for visual arts. The art connoisseur, who has been collecting paintings for the past 15 years, said she always had an affinity towards visual arts.

Over the years, works by major artists, like M.F. Husain, S.H. Raza, Akbar Padamsee, Tyeb Mehta, Anjolie Ela Menon, Rameshwar Broota, Bose Krishnamachari, Anish Kapoor, Bharati Kher and Anju Dodiya, have made their way into her collection, as also her living room.

On her art interests, Jindal said although she liked both abstract and figurative art, her taste in art gravitated towards minimalism: “minimal lines, colors and forms”.

About her art buying behavior, she said, “I never buy instantly. There are so many people who go to exhibitions and say ‘I like it, pack it’. If I like something I like to sleep on it, at least for a week. Everyday if I don’t think about it, or I don’t dream about it, I know it’s not for me. I have to really want it.”

Having authored several books, including a picture book for children, the Ludhiana-born dancer is gearing up to publish the chronicles of her travels in the Indian Railways. The book is expected to release next year.