Dance has no gender. When Ghaziabad’s Suraj Kumar quit his job to devote his time to Kathak, everyone jeered. Now the same people come to his shows.
Suraj Kumar, a successful Kathak dancer, is widely praised in India, but reaching this point involved facing criticism and working hard to overcome it.
In Kumar’s hometown in Uttarakhand, it was uncommon to see a young boy wearing ghungroos (anklets with little bells), applying makeup, and dancing to classical music. But even when his friends, family and society asked him to stop, his heart was dedicated to his craft.
So following school, he gave up a well-paying job, spent hours perfecting his steps and decided to never look back. Today, he not only trains kids at the Sangam Kala Sanstha in Ghaziabad but also performs at shows across the country.
When asked if he has ever found classical dance a woman’s job, he says, “Classical dance is in our DNA. It has been in our mythology for centuries now. Instead of looking at it as something strange, we should feel proud of it.”
As Kumar witnesses people who once ridiculed him now asking for pictures, he smiles. “Life really does come full circle,” he adds.
Edited by Pranita Bhat