Nandita Shankardass is a UK based performing dance artist, choreographer and teacher. She is currently creating her own work from home. The foundation of her art finds it’s roots in awareness, current affairs and issues, which we as a human race have ignored for far too long. Humankind has inspired Nandita this year to stand up and speak out through her dance.

It’s been a year of listening, learning and new ways of doing. Collaborating with musicians through distance, sharing conversations and dialogues globally (online) has been nourishing and exciting. I have been inspired by how people have given and shared so generously, be it of their time, art form, knowledge, facilities or kindness. I noticed that there is a shift in awareness around mental and emotional health and this has been encouraging. I hope that this trend continues even after the lockdown and that it is recognized as a regular practice”.

Photo credit: © Nirjaree Patel

Connecting with Nature

The pandemic re-inspired Nandita to take more time to be out in nature, which has a very positive impact on her wellbeing. “I am learning to appreciate and value my personal space and alone time to dream up and develop goals and aspirations for the future, away from a sometimes very stimulating busy lifestyle. I have felt encouraged to take my time with ideas and their potential, to reflect on the possibilities rather than get swept up in the urgency of the moment and yet at the same time, (paradoxically!) to be in the present moment and spontaneous enough to act on ideas that emerge”.

Window of opportunity

Once the lockdown was announced Nandita’s teachings and creative practices shifted and took place in her living room at home. “My first challenge was navigating a safe online space for my classes, ensuring I could support my students well and develop a good level of communication between us“.

Feeling Challenged

In her choreographic practice, Nandita also used outdoor spaces to inspire creation and performance. “Creating dance for film for the first time opened up a whole new dimension of learning. I felt challenged to be braver in sharing my work and becoming more present on social media. I excitedly challenged myself to share a wider variety of classes with the community. I created space for meditation, breath work and creative improvisation to support us throughout this year; to stay healthy, connected to ourselves, nourish our creativity and stay adaptable to the uncertain shifts of the year. But most importantly, I am daring to share my vulnerability“.

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