Women face a multitude of tasks from childhood to the end. Nidhi Sanke’s story is one of challenge and juggling her dream with expectations placed on her. She is a classically trained dancer and after completing her education, she got married to a Goan man and shifted to Goa. The wedding proposal was brought by her uncle. As a native of Hubli in Karanataka, Nidhi met Amit in a purely arranged set up and agreed to go ahead, if he supported her dance career. Amit, a resident of Dona Paula, agreed to Nidhi’s request and the rest is history.
Nidhi started learning classical dance form at the age of nine. “For Bharatnatyam, one needs to start from a certain age. One can start from the age of six or seven years, as the bones are soft,” said Nidhi adding that during the Ganesh festivities she used to perform to Hindi film songs with semi-classical music, taught by her aunt. “One day, a well-wisher approached my parents and asked them, ‘why you don’t let your daughter join classical dance classes as she is very talented’. My father, after a lot of thought, got the classical teacher, a guru named B. Nagaraj, with the idea that I would learn the traditional, Indian form of dance. I continued learning Bharatnatyam with my guru and I excelled in it.”
Nidhi’s first performance was at the age of ten when she was at Gayatri Tapovana. “It’s a tourist destination where the Goddess Gayatri is revered. I got the blessings of 108 Swamiji’s all over India. I performed in front of them and I feel that was the starting point in my career, with their blessings, and those of my parents and Guru,” said Nidhi adding that she has a lot of belief in God, “Without whose blessings, this wouldn’t be possible for me. One needs blessings from God, and that aura which I have is a blessing from God.”
Nidhi is the first person in her family to become a professional classical dancer. “We have no other artistes in our family, on either of my parent’s side and on my husband’s side are either doctors or engineers,” said Nidhi. Nidhi has graduated in B. Pharm. but her interest always been towards the art. Nidhi was attracted to the dance art form. Right from a young age, I felt that I am most suitable for dance and my biggest support system, my parents supported me in all my endeavours. “I have a God-given talent and the support of my family. Once I looked at myself in the mirror and thought to myself, I also look pretty and yes, I will go for it. Everyone is not lucky to have this talent and much as I should not boast about myself, its God’s gift and every day I pray to God,” she said.
Nidhi surrounds herself with good people and that is very important “I am very honest with myself. I am confident and know that if I was on the wrong path, I wouldn’t be here,” said Nidhi adding that with the support of her family she continued with dance, finished her SSC and then went on to college. “While I was in college, I received an offer from Zee Kannada channel to act in a serial, for which I gave auditions. The directors are all famous theatre artistes, who then selected me for the role of the lead actress. I was very happy and I worked for 185 episodes, for a year. It was shot in South Goa, Hubli, Dharwad village. I was 19 then.”
Nidhi is the only daughter with two brothers and despite the fact that she wanted to do more in the dancing and acting field, she could not deny the marriage proposal brought to her by her uncle as she didn’t want to let her parents down. “My parents always supported me in all my endeavours, they provided me everything and they agreed to all my demands and hence I feel it was my duty to listen to them. Whatever they were planning for me must be right and if the boy was ready to support my dance career, then why not? Luckily everything worked out,” said Nidhi.
According to Nidhi, working in a television serial not only brought her a lot of money but a huge fan following in Karnataka. “I was also called for a lot of felicitation programs and started to get a lot of offers in Bangalore, to work in serials,” she said. But she could not take up that offer as with the marriage most of the possibilities of working in television were closed. “I got married and came down to Goa. I took a break for a year, enjoyed my married life and put on a lot of weight,” said Nidhi adding that soon she realized that she was wasting her time after having such a wonderful talent.
“I found one of my colleague’s contact in Goa and called her up. She was my relative and she was the one who guided me. She led me to the Goa Karanatak Samaj in Goa, and I became a member there. Slowly as time passed, I started getting a lot of exposure. Then I approached Kala Academy where I met a sitar artist, who knew me through his brothers. He suggested me to start with classes at home and that is how the Nidhi School of Dance started.”
Nidhi continued with her dance classes for 6 months until she realized that she was pregnant. “I took a break until my first child was born, even though my students were continuously after me to continue with my classes. My son, Neil was then born, and is now 10 years old, while my second son is 5 years old. After my eldest was 6 months old, I continued with my classes again. The number of students in my class had then increased,” she narrated.
Presently Nidhi runs the dance school. “I have tied up with Bal Bhavan. There is a certain age to answer these exams, with different levels for the exams. I train them for these exams as it is useful for them in the future. Suppose a girl doesn’t have a job, these dance classes can help her earn something. If they are not financially strong, they can start these classes anywhere. Bharatnatyam is a dance form which has a lot of respect everywhere being a traditional dance form. Everyone respects this form of art.”
For Nidhi even today her family comes first “No matter what my family comes first. I got married to a person who supported me in everything, and if I keep my family happy, it is easy to live your dreams,” she said. Nidhi is taking one step at a time. “I don’t want to rush anything. A lot of people know me now, not only for my dance but also as a person. Recently I had choreographed a dance for lady doctors in Goa,” Nidhi added.
Presently Nidhi is preparing for her doctorate in Dance. “I want o to be a good teacher and have a big group wherein I take my students to different places to study and explore different dance forms,” she said adding that “I always wanted to do dance I guess. But I also wanted to marry a doctor. You know how girls have an impression of the kind of person they want to marry. But in the end, I married an engineer. I’m very happy with my parent’s choice though.”
Finally, Nidhi wants to give her message to all the ladies our there “Keep your family first. Maintain a balance between home and work. Be honest in everything and don’t break one’s trust. Have fun and enjoy what you do.”