It is believed that to be successful in the field of art especially dance one has to live in a metro city. It is believed that Delhi is the central point for classical dancers, as most of the big names in the classical world live in Delhi. Next in line are cities like Mumbai, Calcutta, Bangalore and Chennai that is because many renowned institutes are located in these art-loving cities. So this belief is very popular among the dancers that to achieve the pinnacle of success one needs to make these jadoo nagari (magical cities) their home.
But there is one superbly talented man who proves that this jaadoo nagari belief is totally wrong. Let me introduce to you my dear friend, a Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi exponent Dr G Ratheesh Babu, who lives in a small town called Bhilai in Chhattisgarh, but has made his gurus proud by performing at almost all the prestigious dance festivals of India and at the same time has kept the Tri-Colour flying high by showcasing his talent all over the world through his shows and workshops.
I met Ratheesh Babu at a dance show a few years ago and in spite of being from different dance backgrounds we instantly connected as people and I started to follow the illustrated work of this brilliant artist. What is gripping about Dr Babu’s personality is his humility, he is one dancer who is not affected at all by all the awards and praises that he has received for his creative work. This humbleness makes Ratheesh ji a very special man and it is seen with all the respect and love he gets from all his students and fans.
Today let me try and brief you all with a few of this dynamic artist’s achievements. He holds the prestigious titles of Natya Choodamani and Nritya Kala Bharathi so actually the right way to address a scholar like him would be to call him Natya Choodamani Nritya Kala Bharathi. Shri G. Ratheesh Babu. He is a disciple of Kalaimamani Padmashri Adayar K. Laxman and his name appears in one of the highly acclaimed and renowned dancers of India, he continues to be totally involved in the art of dance both as a teacher and a performer.
Ratheesh ji was introduced to the world of Indian Classical Dance at the age of five under the tutelage of Guru Kalanilayam Krishnan Kutty from Kerala and he learned his first steps in Mohiniattam. Then he moved ahead and learned the intricacies of Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dance form under the able guidance of Smt. Amritam Gopinath, Aryakalanilayam and Ms. Barnona Basu from Mumbai. Later, he moved to Chennai to specialise in Bharatnatyam under the guidance of Kalaimamani Padmashri Shri Adayar K. Laxman. He also learned the details and complexities of Carnatic Music under the guidance of Shree Trissur. T Unnikrishnan, IKSV, Khairagarh.
After taking the blessing of his Gurus he used the gift of dance and displayed his immense talent by performing in all major Sabhas and festival in India and abroad. Ratheesh ji is an amazingly graceful and gifted dancer, a classicist in the field of Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniattam as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. He is the Founder Director of “Nrithyathi Kalakshetram” – School of Indian Classical Dance which is Affiliated to Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya; Khairagarh – C.G. having national repute.
For sheer geometry of lines and precise structure beauty of form, he has stretched his capacity for perfection to its utmost. By his astounding and exquisite dance, dazed the audience with his scintillating performances in India and Abroad. His versatile talent and gracious inner artistic beauty won wide acclaim from art lovers, connoisseurs and natyaacharyas for his spellbound performances and art critics as one of the best-recognised dancers.
He has also been honoured with several prestigious awards from Government of India as well as renowned Cultural Samathi’s. You will be surprised to know that till date Ratheesh Babu has staged approximately 1300 shows both Solo and group dances.
Not just the awards but he has also been honoured with two doctorates in the field of Indian Classical Dance, by University of Global Peace (USA) & Royal Academy of Peace (UK) and the prestigious Guru Samman- Life Time Achievement Award by Sanskar Bharati.
I am sure you must be wondering and that after travelling and performing all over the world why Dr Babu does not live in Delhi or Mumbai or settle abroad may be. Well I too had the same question in my mind so I asked him exactly the same thing and promptly the refined dancer said, “I developed the art of teaching dance in Bhilai, so my heart remains here, apart from that Bhilai is like mini India, you will find people of all cast, religion and community here and I am a true Indian at heart and in spirit. I travel all over India and the world but peace and contentment I get in Bhilai.”
Dr Babu not just believes in teaching and performing but he also strongly believes in giving back to the community and provide a platform for other dancers. For this, he organises Major National Level cultural events every year.
This highly elegant and gifted artist believes that it is not the city but your art and love for the art that makes you spread the essence of your talent. If you have the blessings of your elders and Gurus, fire in your belly, conviction to prove your talent and belief in oneself and in God then nothing is impossible and “that what makes me unstoppable” says my friend Dr Ratheesh Babu.