The business of dance
THESE ARE indeed the days of the superwoman. Of the woman who walks confidently, briefcase in hand, baby by her side, manicured nails and toes, her personal passions all attended to and the home front sitting pretty. Yes, the alpha woman. And of the many alpha women who are doing all this and more is Beena Kannan, the charming entrepreneur behind Seematti, a well-known textile store in the city.
From being a hard core business woman, a mother of three, a mother-in-law, " no, not yet a grandma", a young widow, the strength behind her organisation, Ms. Kannan is now taking her hobby, dance, as seriously as her business and home.
She has dexterously combined home, work and dance into a happy life.
With her rangpravesham , on Sunday, she has finally put her "plus ten or minus ten" years of dance practice on to the stage. " I began dancing early, at the age of seven, but had to discontinue it due to an ailment. Later when my daughter, Thushara, started dancing, when in the second class, I too went back to dance. But there was no regularity in my dance. I learnt for a year under Vilasini teacher of Kalakshetra and later joined Dharani School. Shyamala Surendran, thereafter has been my teacher and the motivation behind the whole thing."
From taking hard nosed business decisions to running a household, Beena says, "dance has given me mental relief at all times." And for the young woman, married at the age of 21, stepping into the ruthless world of business and simultaneously nursing an ailing husband, dance provided the ultimate solace. "The twelve years that my husband was ill before he passed away was a continuous trauma. My daughter was just six -months- old when we discovered the sickness. It was unsettling and I could never pursue dance seriously. Later, whenever I was in town after a business tour, it was dance. Even last month I was in and out of Kochi but then I am ready for it now."
Irregularity in practice, she says, has been her biggest problem. "I could never make a steady progress because of my business-related travelling. Dance requires a lot of patience and time and it was always a passion for me. Perhaps that is why I always came back to it. I didn't want to dance in public, as it was just a hobby. But I thought, why not and why not now."
At 44, her arangetram is nothing unusual. " When I see some of the other students who learn dance for three months, have an arangetram and move on, why not me? I have been learning this, on and off, for so many years." Her teacher, Shyamala Surendran, says Ms. Kannan, began learning dance late in life and is an accomplished dancer. "Age has never been a factor," says Beena with a disarming smile. With a married son, a daughter in Class XII and a young son in Class V, with a 700-strong staff in the four branches of Seematti, to be directed, with a love for baking and " cooking chicken dishes," Ms. Kannan has combined the boardroom and the living room in a harmonious Bharatnatyam recital.
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