I 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. May be 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 Bharatnatyam, 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 foot work, 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 Bharatntyam 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.
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.