We all have dreams; we all are passionate about few things but seldom have we got the chance to do what we like. Sometimes it is the pressure of the family; sometimes it is the judgmental stares of the society;
no matter what the reason is, we often choke the throat of our dreams and get on with our lives. But there are people, who have the courage to overcome all the hurdles and achieve the freedom to do what they are really passionate about.
Laxmi’s story started in Kathmandu, Nepal almost 35 years ago on 28th March 1982. She was the youngest of all the five children in the family and being the youngest member, she was most loved and pampered by her parents as well as the siblings.
She fondly recounts that she inherited her love and passion for dancing from her father who was a great patron of dance and all art forms. It is often said that mothers are greatest shapers of their children’s lives and children inherit the soul of their mothers.
Well, this is something that is exactly true in the case of Laxmi. Though it is a male dominant society we live in, but still Laxmi’s mother was very active socially as well as politically. And these genes of social activism were passed down to Laxmi.
While growing up, she was very fond of the Bollywood movies and the vibrant colours, as well as the songs and dances, excited her very much. It was like a magic for her and she could not get enough of those classical dances in the Bollywood movies.
Thus, her urge for learning the art of dancing grew slowly but she could never express it to her parents. Though her eldest sister allowed her to dance in their room and Laxmi also learnt some dance steps for her school functions but her father was completely against it; so she had to quit what she was passionate about.
Though her father was a great admirer of dance and art forms but he believed that being entertained is better than being an entertainer. As Laxmi could not gather the courage to ask her father for permission to continue her dance lessons, so she had to put an end to it for the time being.
Though her parents wanted her to study in a private college after her schooling was done like her elder brother but Laxmi wanted to experience the struggles that a general student especially a girl had to endure in the government colleges.
So, with the permission and help from her eldest sister, she managed to get admission in a government college named Padma Kanya Multiple College. She deliberately chose that particular college because in those days it was the only college in Nepal which used to offer dance as a major subject.
When she joined the college, her Guru Mrs Honey Shrestha encouraged her to join the Pragya Sangit Samiti which was one of the major Kathak centres in Kathmandu. She continued her studies in the college with English, Social Service and dance as her major subjects.
With time, she did parallel studies in both Padma Kanya Multiple college with intermediate and bachelor degree and Prayag Sangeet Samiti B.Mus and M.mus. She did not only learn Kathak, one of the main Indian classical dance forms but she also got tutelage in Nepalese folk, classical as well as other dance forms.
But it was not an easy road for and she also had to endure the judgmental stares of the male dominated society. She was even branded with the “Nachaniya” which is considered to be slang for any woman.
Though she did not get any support from her father who was absolutely against her dancing, she carried herself firmly and was always kept motivated by her percussionists or tabla teachers, Mr. Shanti Bahadur Rayamajhi and late Mr. Atul Gautam.
They did not only help her to perfect the techniques but also acted as her main support systems.
She learned a lot from her teachers Mrs Honey Shrestha under whom she got the tutelage on Kathak, Chariya dance from Mrs Sarita Shrestha, Mr. Yagya Man Shakya and Indo-Nepali folk dances from Mrs. Saubhagyawati Ranjitkar, Mr. Suresh Mishra, Mr. Rochak Thapa and Mr. Prem Lopchan.
She also did courses on various other dance forms, yoga and meditation from several gurus in India as well as in Nepal.
After she graduated from Prayag Sangit Samiti with first division, Professor Mrs Honey Shrestha called her to inform. By chance, that call was received by her father. Though he was a bit surprised at the beginning but soon he was filled with joy. He accepted her dance and blessed Laxmi to achieve all the success.
After all the trouble she went through, she moved to Denmark in 2009 as a student in Nordfyns Folk High School. There she started to help the international students as a student counsellor.
It is very hard for an Asian woman to follow her ideologies and pursue her dreams in a European nation all by herself but Laxmi considers herself lucky as her husband and few other trusted Danish friends have always been there to lift her up.
She soon realised how stressful and unbalanced the western life is; so, she developed a new dance form by embedding the aspects of meditation, yoga, 5 rythms, 5 elements with the old Indian classical Kathak as well as Nepali classical Chariya and other free dance forms.
Then she started doing workshops as well as classes to preach her dance meditation. Currently, she is looking forward to training the instructors of her organization DanceMeditation to help the people in a better way.
Laxmi thinks of herself as a student and learner as she always wants to learn or update herself by learning new things from others. And becoming the ZIN Zumba instructor and an ambassador of Masala Bhangra is the sole result of the process.
Laxmi has participated in various events and festivals in Denmark and Nepal. She believes in sharing experience and expertise with people rather than competing because she does not believe in the competitions; since she believes those talents shows are for proving yourself to others. Her philosophy is to live and experience what she has learned.
Laxmi also has a dance group named Dance Kunja, which serves as a platform for her students to showcase their talents to the world. She performs in national or international level programs as well as in events and also conducts workshop or classes in other European countries on request.
The story of DanceMeditation Laxmi is the one of courage, dedication, hard work and passion for dancing. She had to face many challenges but she overcame everything and now she is helping others so that they can follow their dreams. She is an inspiration for every individual and her story truly deserves a grand salute.