Dance as a career and how to go about it? Interview with Leena Ketkar

Tell us a bit about yourself 

  • I am a trained Kathak Dancer and running my own institute for the past 15 years.
  • An examiner at Gandharva Mahavidyalay for Kathak Dance Exams.
  • I have judged various dance competitions at city levels and participated in many state and national level programs.

When did you start learning dance?

I started learning when I was in 1st std. I started learning as a hobby and for the initial four years I learnt various styles like – Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri, Odisi and Folk dance forms. From 5th Std, I started learning from Guru Pandita Shama Bhate. I went on to take dance as my primary subject at college level and did a BA in dance from Lalit Kala Kedra, Pune University.

Now I am doing my MA under Shama Tai’s guidance from Bharati Vidya Peeth

How did you decide to take it up as a career?

What started as a hobby soon turned into a passion. While I was in high school, my Guru Shama Bhateji and Sureshji Talwalkar suggested it to me and even discussed the same with my parents. They clarified my parent’s doubts and were very understanding. With so much confidence being bestowed by my guru, my parents agreed to the suggestion and supported me in my journey.

how different is the learning process from normal colleges?

All dance universities have gurukul system in India. There are two parts to the learning process – theory and practical learning. While the theory portion is covered in college via lectures, the practical training is to be done with a Guru. Usually, universities have a prescribed list of guru’s and you need to choose your guru from that.

All performing arts education admission is based on entrance exams. You have courses from graduation to masters to PhD level in the university system.

Apart from this there are separate examinations conducted by Gandharva Mahavidyalay which is equivalent to University level BA or MA degrees.

What is the life of a professional dancer? How is it like?

Daily riyaaz and being aware about what is new in your field is extremely important. There will be a minimum 2-3 hours of practice every day. You need to be attuned to the latest happenings and explore various genres like fusion or Bollywood music.

Dance is a physically intensive field. Apart from practice, there will be a lot of travel involved as programs happen all year round and all over India. You will have to build your network and take up performances depending on your capacity. Nowadays there are troupes focusing on classical dance. They call dancers from all over the world and perform together based on a concept.

What are the requirements to take dance as a profession?

Consult your Guru to understand your performance level. Your guru is the best person to guide you. This is an intensive field and you need family support. You need to work on your physical and mental stamina as once you take it as a serious career option, it easily involves 8-10 hours of training.

Another thing that I would like to tell the parents and the students interested in pursuing this career is that there is no immediate glamour. The ever increasing reality shows, show only a part of the actual efforts put in by a dancer and there should be enough thought put in before taking it up professionally.

WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT SYSTEM DO YOU NEED TO MAKE A FULFILLING CAREER IN DANCE?

Classical dance forms or any dance forms  are physically and mentally challenging. For starters, you need 8-10 years of economic support.

When you start giving solo performances you will need good stage, good music, costumes, etc. Learning some video and sound editing skills will be an added advantage. If you are performing with live music, you need good musicians and good support dancers.

Any tips for those planning to take it up as a career?

Don’t fall for the glamour. You will be required to learn for atleast 10-12 years. Your training will be rigorous and one-to-one. Choose an able guru, who will not only teach you the techniques but will also help you explore your creativity and present challenging topics and styles. Keep realistic views about the career and focus on building your network.

What are the career options in this field?

After learning Kathak at BA or MA level, apart from being a professional dancer, you can be a faculty at performing arts universities or you can start your own dance academy. There are also career options in the field of dance related costume designing, make-up and stage management. Apart from my dance institute, I teach two Indian girls in Germany via Skype. So that’s a new way to explore.

You can contact Leena Ketkar on – 9881137578

If you are following your passion or want to bust some myths about traditional careers, then do fill in the GoogleForms and I will feature you on my blog.

Let’s work for change in Indian Education system #LearnNotEducate #BlogchatterProjects

“The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men who are capable of doing new things.”

Jean Piaget

 

#LearnNotEducate was something that was born out of the general apathy towards education system that I saw and felt in the young generation.

Let’s Learn not just Educate is a way to highlight satisfying alternative careers and busting myths related to traditional safe careers that will help the future generation choose wisely

A time when they should be brimming with ideas, discussing thoughts that could change the world or just be dreaming big, they were generally stressed, clue-less about the future or too worried about it not being mainstream. This just didn’t feel right.

Just then #BlogchatterProjects was announced and I took that as an opportunity to spread the word and ask for inputs for the idea of #LearnNotEducate.

From my end I looked for alternative careers that were satisfying and feeding the soul. I encouraged people to register for the same, so that I could bring in more stories about how the youth can follow their dreams and be successful too!

Response to Campaign

I did not expect the response that I got!

3,59,307 impressions in just 20 days with over 50 people talking about it!

More than 3,00,000 impressions for the #LearnNotEducate in just 20 days

I understand its nowhere near revolutionizing education in India, but the whole fact that so many people are interested in talking about it and have similar thoughts is encouraging! I as a Mom of two and a freelancer didn’t think my voice mattered, but this was definitely something that I found comforting.

Twitter poll to understand how people feel

A simple question – Do you believe there should be a change in the education system in India brought about some interesting answers and thoughts.

Many people had many voices and it was interesting to see their perspective

Varadarajan Ramesh – Education should be made affordable. These days running a school is a profitable business. Institutions charge preposterous fees for even Montessori. This should change pronto.

Deepa Gandhi  – There are is a need for a bigger change not only in the education system but mentality of people in our country towards it.

Varsha Bagadia – Absolutely! We need a more practical-based approach. Children who have an inclination towards specific subjects should be allowed to pursue only them.

Vikram Kamboj The education in #India should be made intellectually challenging and should questions assumptions rather than based on the rote memorization technique and orthodoxy.

This is just part one! I will be doing a similar round up about my project, and the way I see the future in 1st week of Jan, so stay tuned!

read the other articles from #LearnNotEducate

Shubha Surendra- A culinary artist

Vasudha Gokhale – A counselor and pediatric physiotherapist

Priti Talwalkar – A classical Singer

Snehal Pradhan – A cricketer

I am continuing with #LearnNotEducate series and those who wish to share their alternative careers with the world, please fill in this Google Form and I will get back to you

Career in Cricket- An interview with former Indian cricketer #LearnNotEducate

Have you ever wondered if a career in cricket is a viable option? Cricket or any sports needs tremendous dedication and focus. It’s not something that happens by fluke. I caught up with Snehal Pradhan, a former Indian cricketer to understand what it means to have a career in Cricket.

interview with snehal pradhan about career in cricket

Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born and bought up in Pune and did my BSc in Microbiology from Abasaheb Garware College. In my third year, I was selected by Western Railways through sports quota and I started playing for Western Railways cricket team.

I worked in Mumbai for 9-10 years where we worked for half the day and the rest of the day was when we practiced cricket. We also got official leaves for tournaments. I had good facilities and good players, which kept me in the game, otherwise after BSc, I was thinking of doing my MSc as I had to think about a career. This opportunity helped me to continue my game while earning some money.

In 2015 I decided, I had to move on to the next phase of my career.

I had been writing a blog, side-by-side with my cricketing career, but then I realized I was liking it and decided to put a bit more effort. An editor saw my blog and approached me to write for their website which I did intermittently, so when I quit international cricket, I took to writing full time. Since then I have been a freelance sports journalist and in the past 6-9 months, I have also started my YouTube Channel – ‘Cricket with Snehal in Hindi and English’ where I am doing cricket tutorials.

For how many years have you been playing cricket?

I made my debut in under 16 and under 19 Maharashtra. In 2005, I was part of under 21 India tour to Pakistan and In 2008, I made my debut for India at the age 21. I played International cricket and represented India for about 3 years, spread over 10 games. The last international game was in 2011. I continued playing domestic cricket and represented Maharashtra for around 15 years, from 2000-2015.

When was the first time you played cricket?

I don’t really remember. My parents tell me that as a kid, I would just pick-up whatever was around and imitate the cricket shots that were being telecast on TV. I always played with the neighborhood boys and boys in school. That’s how I started playing cricket. When I was in 8th std, my family introduced me to Shubhangi Kulkarni who was a former India captain, and she introduced me to the Indian cricket team,  and that’s how my cricketing journey started.

How did you decide to take it up as a profession?

I always wanted to take cricket as a profession. Earlier cricket was under Woman’s Cricket Association and it wasn’t feasible to take it up as a full time profession. Cricket is now under BCCI.

BCCI took over only in 2006 and my journey started in around 2000. We weren’t earning anything back then but then the Western Railways opportunity came up and that is why I could continue playing cricket semi-professionally, where I worked half-day and the rest of the day was for practice.

 

Was there any resistance at home or from the society?

Thankfully there was no resistance from home and I come from a very open minded family. Both my grandparents were well-educated and open-minded and they always encouraged me in my choices.

From society – There was this one percent people who would come up with resistance in small things like, when I was in 7th std and was training at a club in Pune, they never had a girl there and they didn’t want to show that there was a girl, so they asked me to tuck my ponytail in my hat, so that it isn’t obvious!

Then once when I was working in Mumbai and playing a club level match, I was the only girl in the team and the opposition refused to play with us, citing a reason that they won’t play with a girl. My coaches, the boys with whom I have played were always very supportive.I have a theory that those who have support, only they make it to the ground.

Cricket interview with Snehal Pradhan

What does it take to be a cricketer?

Taking up cricket as a profession is not easy. It means a lot of sacrifices. Right from highschool, summer vacations meant a lot of training and practice, so no vacations as such. The trainings are hectic as you need to get up early in the morning. My parents too were supportive and have put in a lot of effort. My dad dropped me off and picked me up from the training center, at times I used to cycle for around 10 km to reach my training center.

Working and training meant getting up early and directly going to the ground for training, catch some lunch enroute and then go to work. The daily schedule was from morning 6am to evening7pm. It was difficult to manage. Now most of the Indian cricketers have full time contract, so they can afford to not work, but it wasn’t so earlier.

Monsoon is the only time when there are no tournaments, so life is scheduled around cricket season.

Can girls think about taking cricket up as a career?

Now it is much more attractive to take up as a profession. When I was playing, we were under the Women’s Cricket Association, pre BCCI days. We were not paid for playing state level and there were not many facilities in terms of travel and stay. Now, it’s under BCCI, so girls who start get BCCI facilities, they travel by air, get paid for playing state level. If you are selected for the Indian Cricket Team you get paid well. So things are much better and lucrative to make cricket a serious career option.

One down-side is that there aren’t many government organizations that offer jobs in Woman’s Cricket. It’s only the Indian Railways that offers you a job, which you can keep even after you stop playing cricket.

Any tips for those looking at taking up cricket or any sport as a profession?

– Give it everything. Cricket is not a sport that you can excel in with half-hearted efforts. It’s not something that can be done while managing other things. Be completely focused on your game.

– Right from your training days, treat it like a professional athlete would treat it.

– Be passionate about the game

What are the career options available after retirement?

BCCI is coming up with more women focused courses that a cricketer can take. For eg: you can do courses for being a coach or a strength and training coach.

Apart from this you can be

  • Umpire
  • Sports Journalist
  • Scorer

Any advice to the parents of youngsters who are keen on taking up sports as a career?

This is a sport where parents will have to be supportive and involved in their child’s progress. Right from dropping children to their training, to funding their equipment, right food, right sleep habits, everything needs to be provided for and monitored. Parents should however take a backseat on the field. Select a good coach and let the coach take the decisions. Sometimes the parents are too involved and that hampers the child’s growth on the field and off the field as well.

This is an interview in the series of #LearnNotEducate. This is a way to highlight satisfying alternative careers and busting myths related to traditional courses. If you follow an alternate course, and wish to be featured on my blog, fill in this Google Form and I will get in touch with you.

Music as a promising career – Interview with Priti Talwalkar #BlogchatterProjects

Singing or music has come into limelight with all the numerous singing competitions that have the capability of making someone a star overnight, however what goes behind the success is what we are here to see today.

I met up with Mrs. Priti Talwalkar, a professional classical and light music vocalist to understand what it takes to be a singer! Having a great voice is just half of the picture. Read this interview to understand the passion and the effort required to be a trained singer. An alternative career, that if followed with passion and dedication can give you money and fame.

Aachievements of Priti

When did you start learning singing?

I started learning music in 6th std from Mrs. Swarada Sathe. After Visharad I started learning Jaipur-atrauli gharana gayaki from Smt. Manik Bhide (senior disciple of Smt. Kishori Amonkar and a great singer of jaipur Atrauli gharana). I completed sangeet alankar under guidance of manik tai and smt. Mukta Bhide. Presently I am learning from pt. Bhalchandra Tilak, another stalwart of jaipur gayaki.

When did you decide to make it your career?

I always liked classical music the most and after 10th I decided to pursue music besides my college studies. I opted for arts so that I could focus on music properly.

Are there any professional degrees or exams for being a well-trained singer?

There are graduation, post graduation degree exams at the university level. One can do PhD after M.A in music. There are institutions like Gandharv Mahavidyalay where these exams can be given externally.

What are the future prospects in this field?

Future prospects in this field :

  • Job as a Music teacher in schools, university.
  • Private tutions or teaching in private institutes.
  • Performing artist in classical, light music.
  • There are other opportunities like playback singing, singing for albums, jingles, etc.


What are your tips for the parents of such students?

Parents should realize the ability of the kids and encourage them to acquire proper training. Help them get over the stage fright by making them sing whenever there are opportunities. Parents should treat this career equally important as any other career like doctor, engineer, etc.

What should a student keep in mind when choosing singing as a career?

According to me one should like singing very much and be passionate about it. With the help of the guru (teacher) try to find out whether you are ready to become a singer. Competitions, exams, singing in front of the audience will help to improve.  This can be a full time career. Proper training and riyaz are the most important things to become successful in this field.

If you follow an alternative career or know someone who does, fill up this google form

I will be glad to feature you in my upcoming series

Culinary Arts – A satisfying career option – Interview Shubha Shree Surendra #BlogChatterProjects

Everybody need not be an Engineer or a Doctor! The mindset that only mainstream careers mean something, is wrong. The whole month of December, I am looking at alternative careers that can be satisfying as well as rewarding.

I caught up with a 21 year old student pursuing culinary arts. You might wonder what that is! I had the same thoughts, so I did a bit of research online.

What is culinary arts?

In really simple terms, culinary art refers to the process of cooking and arranging food. How many of you thought about ‘MasterChef‘? I know, I did! It piqued my interest, so I decided to do an interview with her. Following are the excerpts from it.

Today we interview Shubha Shree Surendra who is pursuing culinary arts at the North Shore International Academy, Auckland, NZ.

What kind of background is required to apply for this course?

Education wise- you could be anything above a 12th pass student. There are age groups from 17 to 50+ at this institute.
but most importantly- one must have LOTS of patience, determination, physical and mental strength for this course.

Are there entrance tests? when should one start preparing?

Not really, most institutes do not require any prior knowledge or technical skills for this course. However, interviews and cover letters play an important role in fixing yourself a spot at any skill-based institute. Questions are usually based on how passionate you are towards the course as well as WHY you chose this field.

What is the course structure like?

The course that I am doing is a LEVEL 4 And 5 in culinary arts (Doing both levels is optional, but recommended if you want a decent position in the industry).
this is a 2-year course, consisting of 4 terms. You will be taught A-Z of culinary foundation through the 2 years – right from holding your knife to presenting a completed dish.

difference between hotel management and culinary arts?

The culinary arts refer to professions that involve preparing and cooking food. Culinary artists often are compared with restaurant managers in both education and career scope. Generally, the major differentiating factor for culinary artists and hotel management students are the specific college programs, the type of training and experience involved and the actual duties associated with each job. A culinary arts program will have subjects like nutrition and sensory evaluation, American cuisine, international cuisine and meat science. Management programs, in contrast, focus on educating individuals on how to operate the restaurant from a business management perspective.

What are the career prospects?

At the end of 2 years, you will be a certified chef, capable of working at any restaurant/hotel- positions may vary with experience, skill, etc. Other job options could be a personal chef, food stylist, cookbook author, food scientist, and so on.

some tips for students looking for a similar course?

Being a chef is not as easy as people presume, it involves a lot of physical and mental dedication every single day. For a chef, the holiday season is the busiest so forget partying during New year’s or vacationing during long weekends- this is when you’d be expected to show up in the kitchen. Do not join this profession if you are not passionate/interested in cooking; a lot of people I know have ended up choosing this course because they think they have no other option or they want to give this a “try”. Take my word, you will not be happy if you cannot give this your 100%.
what some people also don’t know is that cleaning and maintenance of hygiene plays a major role in the kitchen so expect to wash dishes when you enter the industry- that is how you grow and learn.

The kitchen is a hot, loud, noisy, busy but extremely satisfying place with a high swear-word frequency: be mentally prepared.

Can these courses be done in India? what should a student look for while choosing an institute?

India has several schools/colleges that offer a course in hotel management but only a handful that offer a mainstream culinary course.
Personally, I did not enjoy my experience in the culinary college I studied at, in India. Most Indian schools have a different approach with the education system, but then again- it’s just a personal opinion. There are 100’s of wonderfully talented chef’s that Indian schools have produced as well.
My advice before choosing your school would be: RESEARCH. Do thorough research of the school you choose. Ask questions, do not hold back. One tip would be to ask previous alumni- the ones who are not mentioned on the college website, if you want honest answers.

What is the process of applying for foreign universities and what should the student keep in mind?

Pretty much the same goes for any institute across the world. Do thorough research before choosing what fits your criteria and vision. Few things to keep in mind:
– know your rights, rules and regulations of the country before choosing.

  • If you wish to work during your study period, find out visa restrictions and availability of jobs.
  • Research everything about the country- from cost of living to future opportunities (if you wish to stay back).
  • Most students apply for universities/ colleges through an agent- I did too. It is a much faster and easier way of application as they help make sure all criteria are met and processes complete.
  • Most countries require test of language. Exams like IELTS/TOEFL, etc can be attempted, based on what the country accepts.

Last Thoughts

I hope this was an informative interview, the way it was for me. And I sincerely hope this will help more students and parents choose from the various career avenues that are now available.

Are you following your passion and have chosen an alternate career? Or maybe you know someone who has. Connect with me on nehatambe.dm@gmail.com or fill in the form below!Have any queries or wish to add more information or share this post? Share it with #LearnNotEducate