HARITHA HARIDAS, DANCER
“The only thing motherhood changed in me was the shape of my body. My passion and drive never changed”. Meet Haritha Haridas who comes with 27 years of experience in classical dance. She is currently working as a Mohiniyattam Instructor at Kalapravaha-Home of performing Arts, Singapore.
Haritha started learning dance at the age of five. It was her mother’s wish. Her mother loved dance but could not pursue it professionally. Luckily, Haritha took to dance as passionately as her mother. She gave up engineering to be a full-time dancer and says, “Dance has been a therapeutic experience for me during various difficult times I’ve faced. Even during pregnancy, my solace was dance. Even if I wasn’t physically dancing, I would go to my class and watch others dance.”
Within a year of her baby’s birth, Haritha got selected for a post-graduate course at SASTRA University under Dr. Padma Subrahmanayam. Her parents from Kochi and in-laws from Trivandrum would fly in to Chennai alternatively to be with her daughter so she could attend classes peacefully.
She admits that, “Pursuing a dance career is a struggle because it takes a long time for one to establish themselves”. There were times, during those initial days, when Haritha performed at places she was not comfortable in – just to gain visibility. Weekends with family was difficult as most classes were on weekends. Practising everyday is important, but while ensuring that people around are not disturbed. And most importantly, balancing duties as a mother and a teacher called for a lot of multi-tasking and sacrifices.
Before you take on a career as a dancer, Haritha feels it is important to know why you want to be a dancer. Figuring that out is half the battle won! And it is never too late to start. Her Guru Shyamala Surendran who started learning dance at 34 is the biggest example of that. Today, Haritha teachers dance, performs at various prestigious events and has won several accolades. She says that physical and mental strength and the fortitude to pursue and never give up is what helped her achieve all that she has and will help her keep going. At the end of the day, Haritha feels that while everyone can dance, not everyone can be a dancer.