Meet Oxana: Hailing from Kazakhstan & Pursuing her Passion about Indian Classical Dance Amidst Cross Border Roadblocks!

Oxana Bharatnatyam DancerI was born and spent most of my life in Kazakhstan and was a proud capital city girl of Almaty. When I was 16, my biggest dream was to have a ‘foreign’ visa in my passport and this dream finally came true 4 years later when my parents took me to India. Since then I had to change my passport because there was no place for visas any more but even more – I had to change my life. Maybe because I gave such a big importance to it, but that first ‘Indian visa’ determined my life. I don’t know what would have happened if my parents took me to Africa or South America…

I’ve been dancing since the age of 5 and always wanted it to be my career. I was also interested in India and its culture, but I had no idea that I would be able to join the two passions together.

On the way to discovering Bharatanatyam, I tried different styles of dance, performed with different groups and even graduated from the university and got diploma in International Relations and foreign policy of Republic of Kazakhtsan.

When I saw classical Indian dance on my first trip to India in 2000 I was very impressed with its uniqueness – its fast rhythmic footwork, its dramatic aspect and bright beautiful costumes, all these together with the live orchestra and beautiful temple as the background made it a unique experience.

Later on, I found that there are Bharatnatyam classes at the Cultural Center of the Indian Embassy in Almaty taught by Akmaral Kainazarova (graduate of Kalakshetra) and I joined, not believing my luck in getting closer to the “magic” dance I witnessed in India.

Just after a couple of months of learning I was already performing simple dances and had developed a real passion for this art form; enough passion to accept an offer to do a 4-year course in Bharatnatyam funded by a scholarship from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. After 6 months of collecting different documents, and sending video cds of my dance to the admission committee of Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts, Chennai… and getting ready for my marriage, I was finally admitted to the full-time 4-year course in Bharatnatyam Classical Dance at the world famous Kalakshetra in Chennai.

Almost 5 years in India is a completely separate subject that I am going to describe later. Time passed very fast, I got priceless knowledge and some skill in Bharatnatyam and gained unforgettable experience of life in India.

At the moment I live and work in Hong Kong and feel very happy that I am able to teach dance to my interested and talented students and have many chances to perform.

About the Author:

Oxana Banshikova is the founder and director of Cosmic Dance Company that has been promoting Indian Dance in Hong Kong for the past 8 years.

Oxana is a scholarship recipient from Indian Council for Cultural Relations and a holder of diploma in Bharatanatyam Classical Dance from world famous Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts (Chennai, India, 2002-2007). She has also completed 3-year course and was awarded 1st class diploma in Nattuvangam (dance accompaniment) from “Kalapeetam” music school (Chennai, India, 2003-2006)

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