The Dancing Peacock of London


Ace dancer Mira Mahesh, a disciple of Dr Kanak Rele, Mayoori Sudha Chandran  and Urvasi Shobhana, is promoting classical Indian dances through Natyamayoori…writes Rajitha Saleem

London-based Indian classical dancer Mira Mahesh, Natyamayoori
London-based Indian classical dancer Mira Mahesh, Natyamayoori

Once upon a time there was a girl. She loved to dress up and dance in front of the mirror from the time she was three. Little did she know that her mother spotted her talent and got her in training with some of the best talent available in town. The talented Bharatanatyam dancer Mira Mahesh had the good fortune of training under the famous Dr Kanak Rele and dancing with legends such as Mayoori Sudha Chandran  and Urvasi Shobhana.

Mira Mahesh grew up in Mumbai in India, doing Commerce for her degree. But dance was always her passion and dream and that was what she pursued all her life, even from the young age of 4 when she was trained by her guru Vikraman Nair. It was to her credit that she started her degree in Bharatanatyam with a scholarship from the reputed Kalakshetra in Chennai (one of the premier institutes in Bharatanatyam).

Mira as Kanthi
Mira as Kanthi

“I did my degree in Bharatanatyam from the Nalanda Nrityakala Mahavidyalaya, University of Mumbai, and everything at the institute was structured and methodical. Our principal Dr Kanak Rele was very particular about that. We did the degree as any other discipline is treated in any university,” said Mira.

Mira went on to complete her Masters in Bharatanatyam from the University of Mumbai under the able leadership of Bharatanatyam exponent Dr. Kanak Rele. That was when the famous danseuse Sudha Chandran spotted her. Sudha Chandran had shot to fame when she continued to dance even when she lost one leg in an accident. Mira toured the entire India with Sudha Chandran and her troupe, doing programmes and promoting the classical dance of India.

“I can never explain the experience I gained dancing with the maestro. I have learned so much from her. Her energy, perseverance and discipline is something for every artist to follow,” said Mira.

Mira recollects the experiences she had with Sudha Chandran who `turned her into a teacher, choreographer and a performing artist.’

“I consider myself lucky that Sudha Chandran still choses me to accompany her on stages on any of her European tours,” said Mira.

“It is dance which has given me everything—my personality and even my life partner who came into my life as he fell in love with the way I danced,” said Mira coyly.

London-based Indian classical dancer Mira Mahesh, Natyamayoori
London-based Indian classical dancer Mira Mahesh, Natyamayoori, with husband Mahesh and daughter Mithra Mahesh

She followed her IT consultant husband Mahesh to UK, where she found a community so willing to accept her talents that she set up a dance school, `Natyamayoori’, in Hounslow, which pays respects to her mentor `Mayoori Sudha Chandran.’ The couple is living in London with daughter Mithra.

Mira has been actively teaching Bharatanatyam for the last six years and has been an active presence in the Indian cultural diaspora—a dance tutor with TAL (Telugu Association of London) and Woking Malayalee Association, individual champion of UUKMA Kalamela 2014, winner of Asianet Europe 2015 cinematic dance being some of them.

“I consider working as the protagonist in the dance drama, Kanthi directed by Manoj Shiva as one of the most memorable performance till date. Working with more than 50 artistes and co-ordinating with them and to see the end product on the stage was an amazing and rejuvenating experience. I got so involved with the project that I am eagerly waiting for the next dance drama,” informs an enthusiastic Mira.

Recently, Mira was awarded the acclaimed `Keli puraskaram’ for her overall contribution to developing the classical dance form of Bharatanatyam.