From a Mother of 3 To Chidambaresa Natya Kalaimani ~ Kavita Supramaniam

Now I am standing as Chidambaresa Natya Kalaimani, but that was right after a long journey of facing lots of condemning from a lot of people. Right after I didn’t get the proper guidance I yearned for, right after I personally wanted to give up cause I couldn't stand the knee pain after intensive practice.


I'm originated from Brickfields. I was learning Bharathanatyam from the age of 14 and when my Bharathanatyam teacher moved to a different state, my dance class came to a halt.

I did have my interest to continue but as I got married and was working, things weren't like before. Life got super hectic. I was working as a banker. Then when I was offered a higher rank job in Maxis with a higher salary. I couldn't continue any of my activities. Especially right after having 3 kids, I was more into my motherhood world.

I resigned my Maxis job so I can take care of my kids. I was solely into my motherhood and everything got stopped. No dance, no music, everything got stopped just like that.

Once the kids have grown big enough, I was able to take a dance class. I took two Diplomas which is in Yoga and another in Ayurveda.

Condemned By Closed Ones

Right before I started my dancing journey, I discussed with many people who are close to me regarding my interest to start dancing again. The feedback I got is, "Now you're married, you have got 3 kids, and now you're going to step out? It doesn't make sense." I just kept quiet.

Some true-hearted friends of mine encouraged me by saying, "good idea. We will support you." That's what made me go forward.

It was a turning point for me as I can't do this and that just because I am a mother. I can't even wear makeup or dress up. In fact, they even questioned why I am using a branded eyeliner when I am just staying at home and taking care of my kids.

The question kept coming up, "You're a mother, why are you involving yourself in too many things?" I went through a sour past until I realised that "this is not me. I am just putting a mask. I need to come out of this."

I wanted to break the "YOU CAN'T DO"

I am a slow learner. While different people have a different style of learning, I am the type where I can't catch up very fast. I have to practice and try a few times in order to really learn something.

My advantage was that my body is flexible where I can bend without struggling as I had a martial arts background when I was young.

After knowing my advantages and disadvantages,I started to travel. Initially, I went to India for a pilgrimage trip and that's when I started building a few networks with a few fine people. Then, when I travelled again, I went to the main source in Bhuvaneshwar, Odisha to learn Odissi.

"What will happen after that?" was still a quest for me to solve. Finally, I decided to do or die on this birth itself. I don't want to wait anymore!

Every time I travel to India, it is not only for dance whereby I completed my Ayurveda training there itself in Pune. After that, I followed my lesson on Odissi continuously in Indiai, where I became a frequent traveller for 1 year.

There were some who were not happy. They questioned, "what are you doing? They were clueless but they know that I am travelling up and down. I told them that I am going for my training and I will be back after two weeks. And they will be like, "oh, you are not done yet?"

I kept my progress silent for one year plus. Because my fire was burning into me. All I wanted is to break the “I can’t do.”

Only when I was done with my Odissi course and started to perform, I started to blast the news on my social media.

Challenges During The Learning Process

Well, it is a very long syllabus that I have to learn in Odissi and I'm grateful that they gave me the flexibility to learn it. I was able to breakdown my course according to my convenient. Initially, I was offered a scholarship but I had to decline it.

If it is a scholarship, I can only come back home for once a year and it was 3 years course. I have kids so I can't be away for long. Hence, I paid cash so I could study semester by semester instead of the 3-year course. It was a special request by me as I am a mother and I can't be leaving my kids for a year just like that.

Learning things by semester by semester didn't make my life any easier. It was still 3 years syllabus that I had to squeeze in each semester which made my lesson to be way advanced compared to others.

I Couldn't Stand The Pain

Every time I reach room after class I will be crying all out because I couldn't stand the pain and the pressure given by the teacher.

I was given one-to-one  intensive class lesson twice a day and I was allowed to join the group classes for basic practice. Each time I complete one type of dance, I have to perform to them the next day.

Since I am a slow learner, I felt the pressure rather extremely. I had to practice in my room as well after my class in the morning and evening so I can perform the next day. I couldn't stand the knee pain and back pain as I didn't give myself some time to heal. I kept training and training and training.

I really wanted to give up at that point of time but I always reflect on the fact that I have come this far, should I be stopping now? With that in my mind, I just wash my face, practice in my room and go to the class the next day with the pain.

In order to learn efficiently, I picked the item that I wanted to learn. I believed by learning everything, I will only end up forgetting everything. I picked what I really wanted to perform on stage and I started mastering it.

I was encouraged by the senior students at Odisha. They told me, "We have been learning since young, and you have just started after ages, it will surely be hard. Fight it! Everybody has their own style so bring out your own style."

From there I learned, "nothing is impossible". The only mantra is 'to practice'. I started to learn things by heart and soul and really pushed my limits. I finished my course within 1 year plus and I performed for the first time in Chennai at Jagannath temple. The opportunity was given by Madam Shanita Basu.

My First Stage Performance

I was extremely nervous during my first show because the audience was sitting in a circle all around me. I was expecting them to be sitting in front of me and not all around me as that means I have to watch every single step of mine.

I didn't expect to get praises from people who attended the function. In fact, they asked if I have performed before and I answered, "No, this is the first time I am performing Odissi" and they were surprised by it.

I am grateful that the very first time I performed is in a temple. I can't forget that day as after the performance I was looking at the Jagannath temple and I asked myself for the second time, "Where am I going to go after this?"

My second show was in Tirupati, All India Classical Dance Festival and I got the title, "National Natya Shiromani and Nathiya Kalarani." That's when I started and until now I haven't stopped.

I have been performing at almost all the dance festival in India for now.

July 2018- Celebration of Ratha Yatra at Jagannath temple Chennai
Aug 2018- Bharata Nrutya Utsav (India Dance Festival) Bhuvaneshvar
Sep 2018-  Sri Krishna Janmashtami - ISKCON Seremban
Oct 2018 - All India Classical Dance Festival. Tirupati
Oct 2018 - Navaratri 1st day celebration in Durga temple Senawang, Seremban
Oct 2018- All India competition of music & dance in Bhilai, India.
Oct 2018- Bharat Sanskriti Utsav 2018 in Durg, Chhattisgarh India
Nov 2018- Naadam Nrityakalakeli ( Dubai International Classical Dance Festival)
Jan 2019- 5th Purva International Classical Dance Festival Gujarat
Jan 2019- Dance for India Republic day celebration @ MKGM private School in Gujarat
Jan 2019 - International Classical Dance festival in Jalgaon, Maharastra.
March 2019- Natarajar Natayanjali Guinness Record, Chitambaram
April 2019 - International Cultural Concert 2019. Nepal, Katmandu.
July 2019 - Kalajyoti International Indian Classical & Folk Dance Festival, Kolkata. (Sattriya dance)

And I got a few awards along the way like National Natya Shiromani Award, Natya Kala Rathna Award, Kalaa Sansriti Samman Award, Nadam Kalabhoosan Award, Face of the year 2018 Award and Chidambaresa Natya Kalaimani Award.

I Entered A Competition For The First Time

I went to Bhilai (Raipur) to take part in a competition and I won the first price and got myself the title "Face of The Year" as well. It wasn't an easy journey but there is a reason why I joined a competition while I was performing.

People told me, "When you're doing something, participate in any competition." That's when I wanted to join at least one competition once for all just to get the feel of the competition. Well, I felt no point of just dancing blindly. I didn't want to win the competition. I just want to have the feel and experience of being in a competition.

It was definitely a butterfly running in my stomach kind of moment. The competition was held in the morning at 8 am but I only performed at 8 pm. Can you imagine the amount of stress and anxiety I would have gone through for that 12 hours thinking if I can ever perform without messing up?

It was a very good experience for me indeed as told by the others. The judges will be judging you, questioning you and you will have to converse with them on stage defending yourself.

It boosts up my confidence level as a dancer. Now I feel better about myself. I felt even better after knowing that I won and got the title "Face of The Year" for my category.

I Went Out of My Shell

After that, I went to Dubai for the International Dance Festival. I got the title "Natham Kala Bushan" from them. I started being a full-time performer after that.

I am a very reserved person. While I performed, I met lots of dancers and I was comfortable but in Dubai, I was able to meet a lot of people and most of them were not only dancers but actors, actresses, directors and a lot of people from a higher rank.

I was being very reserved but I knew deep in my heart that this is where I should go out of my shell and make connections. I finally took the courage and started to make conversation to one of this artist and he was very friendly and open towards my approach.

That's when I got the confidence and I felt comfortable going out of my comfort zone, as most of the time, I only talk to the dancers and keep to myself. In Dubai, I learned about myself even more. As people say, travel and you will learn about yourself even more; it was so true.

Then I travelled to Gujarat, Chidambaram, Nepal and there are few other plans like opening a yoga centre. In Chidambaram, I was a part of the Guinness World Record and got the title “Chidambaresa Natya Kalaimani”.

Once they told me not to dance, I am old they said. I have kids they said. They tried to condemn me in all kinds of ways. Now after seeing all of my achievements, they are rather silent.

My Kids

I'm glad that their words didn't discourage or demotivate me. But since I have to travel a lot, my kids were rather missing me and they questioned me at the beginning, "Why do I have to leave home so often?" when I was undergoing my training.

Once I started bringing my medals to home and show them my achievements, they got really happy for me and started encouraging me to do more. They didn't question why I have to leave home more often, as they understood that, "mummy is working on being someone better".

Current Challenges

Discouragement. I was discouraged financially to not go to a place because the trip is very costly. I was discouraged to not go to a certain place as they said only well- known and someone who has made a name like celebrities should be at that stage.

My concern was if I am not going to venture or start to dance at this platform, how am I going to achieve and carry on to the next level? If I don't start here then where am I going to start? I need experience and confidence that I can perform at such a stage.

So, I stopped listening to them. I just carried on and I believed that mother nature will help me. I started practising well so I can be prepared for a high-end stage like in Dubai. Financial wise, I put it as a secondary issue. I believe if I put my heart and soul to it, the money will come to me.

I feel most people's problem is money related and that's the reason why they are not venturing what they want. So they give up easily. Prepare yourself mentally and physically first for whatever it is that you want. When you put your heart and soul, the money will come to you.

One Advice I Would Like To Give Others

Age is not a barrier for you to learn anything including art forms. You need a good mindset and positivity. Also, stop discussing or getting advice from those who always condemn you. Trust yourself!

One Thing That Was Always In My Mind

When you focus on one thing that you want to do, you can do it regardless of what it is. When you don't have the self-confidence, that's when everything you have built so far will be ruined. You need to trust yourself first before you start to trust others. 
Then you will be creating miracles. ~ Kavita Supramaniam

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