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Learn the Lavani in Mumbai

For those who love and support this sensuous dance form from Maharashtra, Lavani dancer Megha Ghadge’s soon-to-begin classes in Andheri should come as great news

For Lavani dancer Megha Ghadge, it’s been a dream to perform the dance and to teach aspirants about the art. While she has spent 20 years performing on stage, she is now all set to make the second wish come true on April 14 when she commences Meghmalhar Lavani dance classes in Andheri (W).

Lavni
Megha Ghadge (centre) in a Lavani performance

“I realised that there were no training options in the city for those keen to learn the dance form. While there are short workshops that span a month or a fortnight, it is not taught in a systematic manner. Through these classes, I aim to teach a lay audience about whatever I have learnt over the years and researched upon,” shares the expert dancer.

During these sessions, Ghadge will train students in the basics of Lavani, its types such as Baithakichi Lavani and Tamasha Lavani. The training will include stage performances as well. Initially, there will be a three-month-long module that will focus on the legs, body language, expressions, and the different forms. The weekends-only sessions will be 90-minutes-long.

Megha Ghadge
Megha Ghadge, Lavani instructor

So far, so good
She mentions that so far, she has got enquiries from middle-aged housewives, dancers as well as youngsters (boys and girls) about the classes. However, she draws the line at teaching students who are younger than 15 years of age. “This is not for kids. The expressions and body language is not for them and they do not understand the meaning. There is certain
double meaning at times, and this needs some level of maturity to grasp,” she emphasises. Ghadge elaborates that lavani is also practised by certain male troupes including the impersonation group Bin Baykancha Tamasha (or Performance Without Women). “The costume remains the same (Nauvari sari). Some do it out of passion and others for financial independence,” she observes.

Grace and glory
Ghadge got involved in the dance while assisting her cousin brother in a dance production. The lead dancer was unable to perform and she was chosen to replace her. That was the initiation and she later took it up as a profession. Initially, she taught herself the nuances and techniques of the art and later, she got to perform along with the likes of dancer and actress Maya Jadhav and Surekha Punekar. Ghadge considers her classes as a means to safeguard culture. “There are Hip-Hop classes all over the city but you won’t find classes by professionals teaching Lavani,” she states. Apart from Lavani, she has also been conducting classes on Folk dances or Lok Kala. She attributes her speed and graceful body language to her knowledge of Folk dances. Aside from this venture, she also tours with her Lavani dance troupe, Lavanyavati.

Cinema matters
Ghadge credits Marathi cinema for having kept the spotlight on Lavani. “There was no trace left earlier; films had stopped depicting it and there were few shows being held. Now, it has been revived, and many films showcase the dance form. Hence, people are also keen to learn about it,” she shares. Ghadge also admits that earlier perceptions have also changed. “Previously, due to certain performances, it came to be associated with vulgarity but there are performers (including me) who have always had shows for a family audience and we are offering training as well for anyone who is keen to learn,” she signs off.

At: Sindhudurg Bhavan, second floor, Lokhandwala Circle, Andheri (W). 
Call: 9757021814/ 9769550207 
Cost: Rs 3,000 onwards per month

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