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Winsome twosome

Aditi Jaitley Jadeja and Aditi Rao, the two young dancers of the dance troupe `Spanda,' have a lot in common, besides their name. K.PRADEEP meets the lissom ladies.



THE ADITIS: Aditi Jaitley Jadeja (left) and Aditi Rao.

THERE'S SO much in a name. Bold attempts are made to efface it and create a new image. But despite efforts to carve a `name' the more bandied one, keeps popping up. These two young talented dancers have seen this happen so often. Apart from similarities in their first names, passion and vocation, Aditi Jaitley Jadeja and Aditi Rao have both been striving to shrug off the popularity nametag.

"It just happened that my mother (Jaya Jaitley) was in politics and I got married to Ajay (Jadeja). But my interests were so different right through. Yes, when Ajay was into serious cricket I did keep tab on what was happening quite regularly, but not now. And politics never interested me at all," says Aditi Jadeja, who has been training under noted danseuse Leela Samson right from the age of seven.

Aditi Rao, `chottu' to her friends, grew up in an atmosphere of music and dance. There were many in her family who strayed into the fine arts. Her mother Vidya Rao, musicologist and renowned vocalist, trained in the Thumri or light classical tradition, composed and sung for theatre, dance and documentary films including BBC and London's Royal National Theatre, was a strong influence on Aditi, but dance was her first love. "It was a conscious decision to become a dancer. I began dancing quite early and from the time I was around eleven, I have been with `akka.' (Leela Samson).

Managing families and pursuing dance, which is now more than a mere hobby, has not been all that tough for these two girls. "Support from the family is what keeps us going. It is so vital. Dance is just one of those numerous vocations that girls move into. And so many of them, much younger than both of us, manage things so well. Of course, priorities keep changing, like I now have my one and a half year old son Aiman who takes up a lot of my time," states Aditi Jadeja, with `chottu' nodding in affirmation.

Marriage has not dimmed their passion for dance. They still practise regularly, travel with their group `Spanda' for performances in the country and abroad and of late they have also got into teaching. "I'm really not sure whether Ajay is interested in dance. I'm sure he is not against it. Rarely has is it been possible for him to sit and watch a live performance. For, even now, the moment he steps into the hall the spotlights are turned on him. But then it is not cricket and dance alone that matter after all in a relationship." For Aditi Rao, who is married to Satyadeep Mishra, a Delhi-based lawyer, there is some relief on this count. Apart from being supportive he never misses an opportunity to watch Aditi perform.

Both these dancers have picked up quite a lot of teaching tips from their `guru.' "She is strict and a stickler for discipline, but only to a required extent. At `Spanda' we are one family, we have, at least most of us, been together for so long," the Aditis say in unison.

Kerala is virtually `home' for Aditi Jadeja and she has been here many times. "This time I did not have the time to meet my mother's and Ajay's relatives. We just went around Kochi." Even Aditi Rao has been here before. "No, not for a performance. It was for a school excursion, long back. This time it was a quick tour of Fort Kochi to see the Jew Town, the Chinese nets, the Dutch Palace and all that."

This journey, so far, has been satisfying for both these dancers. What makes them doubly delighted is that even in a city like Delhi, where the youngsters of today have umpteen avenues to explore, classical dance still remains one of their favourite options. "We have been into teaching only for a short while now, but the response has been wonderful. Classical dance is still alive."

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