Veena Bhat is an experimental Kathak dancer and a teacher who has been successfully running ‘’NrityaDarpan’’, a renowned Kathak dance school, since a decade now. She is not just an enthusiast of dance, but also an artist who is constantly conceptualizing, developing and promoting new methods of Kathak as an art. Veena has learnt Bharatanatyam and given performances for many years. It was only post-marriage and children that she began her journey with Kathak, a journey she stillis successfully pursuing.
Born to Sri.Chandrashekhar and Smt.Rajeshwari Hegde, Veena is originally from Manchikeri of MaleNadu. However, Veena grew up in Mumbai due to her father’s profession as a financial adviser in the government-run Mumbai Port Trust and thus, completed her education in Mumbai as well. Veena’s hometown Manchikeri is also home to many forms of art, culture, music and theatre and her family members were all involved in these art forms in one way or another.
During her annual visits to her hometown, this had a great impact on her and naturally pulled her into the world of art. Upon seeing her inclination towards art and culture, Veena’s mother enrolled her as a disciple of Guru Krishna Panickar at quite a young age of eight to train in Bharatanatyam. She went on to learn Bharatanatyam for eight years with dedication. Following this, Veena learnt from the renowned Guru Dr. Deepak Majumdar for two years and also gave many dance recitals during this time. Simultaneously, she learnt contemporary dance from the famous Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan and participated in various workshops related to Kuchipudi and Janapada (folk) styles of dance.
Beyond being an avid dancer, Veena is academically adept. She has earned both abachelor’s and Master’s degree (B.Sc., M.Sc.) in Analytical Chemistry from theUniversity of Mumbai as well as a B.Ed.- Bachelor of Education and Bio Informatics -Data Base Management Diploma. Her desire to become a teacher was fulfilled after she was married and had moved to Bangalore. She has been a teacher in various schools and colleges in the city for almost nine years.
The story of how Veena began learning Kathak is one of serendipity. At the age of 34, she was inspired while watching her daughter learn the dance form and made the decision to begin training under Guru Rumela Mukhyopadhyaya. She dedicated herself to learning the art form for the next 12 years. Veena went on to obtain an M.A. degree in Kathak from the Prayaga Sangeetha Samithi. She took up opportunities to participate in workshops from the famous Kathak gurus Sheela Mehta, Dr. Purnima Pandey, Jayant Kastur and Pandit Birju Maharaj. Currently Veena is in her final year of her M.A. degree. She started her own school’NrityaDarpan’ where she teaches hundreds of children. Veena has a special love for choreography. She has choreographed for many acclaimed festivals and school annual dance events. She has also participated in many international dance festivals in Manchikeri, UK District, Coimbatore, and Madurai. Furthermore, Veena is a UNESCO CID member and has won the prestigious “Talent of the Year” award.
Being a wonderful human being along with being an incredible dancer, Veena has organized social-care programs, worked towards development of lakes, welfare of the blind, assistance for the victims of Kodagu and Kerala, dance therapy and has set the stage for the emergence of talent of many budding rural artists. Veena has performed in international platforms too. Being a member of CID (Council Of International Dance, an undertaking of UNESCO.), she has performed at prestigious festivals such as ATHREYA fest, NRITYASAMAGAM, Mylapore, Madhuraiand the famous Chinmaya mission of Chennai, Isha festival and few more to mention. Has organised and curated theatre and Kathak workshops with eminent artistes,voice-overs for a few projects. She has also curated folk dances for government school children at a Karate award ceremony. Veena has a research paper “A gateway into past glory” on Padmavibhushan Pt.Birju Maharajji and his legacy in Kathak Parampara to her kitty. She has been a co-examiner for Karnataka board Kathak exams. At present Veena is conducting online seminars and lecture demonstrations during this Covid times.She has a new project in her hands to build an ‘Art Village’ in Manchikeri.
Veena has worked as a resource person for the Valley School’s ‘Goonjh’ and ‘ Sri Ravi Shankar’ ashram’s ‘Aalap’ programs. She has many productions to her credit such as ‘Aniketana’, ‘Mantraalochane’, ‘Dwandwa’, “Nrithya Nudi”, “Mounadinda Nrithyakke”, ‘Tyagave Moksha’ and “Sasuve Theraditta Sathya” which have been widely appreciated. Her husband, Sri.Ramachandra Bhat, is an engineer in the field of Marketing in Carlzeish, India. Her elder daughter Ruchika Bhat is a Master of Fashion Design from University of Burmingham and is currently working in Mumbai and her younger daughter Nikhita Bhat is studying BSc in optometry from Nethradhama , Bangalore. Both the daughters are trained in Kathak & contemporary and have performed as well.