Visual impairment : Became blind at three, due to accident
Visual impairment did not come in the way of this dancer who has mastered the Bharat natyam, especially abhinaya.
Buse Gowda has over a thousand performances to his credit. It all started 17 years ago at the Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind when Buse Gowda, as an inquisitive eight-year-old boy, chanced to meet Ashok Kumar, a dance teacher who was just then establishing his school, 'Natyanjali'.
Invited to teach dance steps to the visually impaired students, Ashok Kumar was stumped. How could one teach a highly visual and movement-based art to such children? But then, one of the children happened to be spirited. Buse Gowda simply asked Ashok Kumar to demonstrate a step and to hold the pose, and went on to feel the guru's limbs to experience the intricacy of the posture. Thereafter, he slowly started feeling every movement of the guru and tried to imitate him. Ashok Kumar quickly realised that a different technique would be required to teach dance to persons with visual impairments. A technique that could best be described as a "touch and feel" technique.
Ashok Kumar went on to refine this technique, eventually patenting it in 2000. With so much enthusiasm in flow, within 12 days, Buse Gowda and a few other visually challenged children at the academy learnt to execute renditions of 'Kolata', the folk dance, and even performed it on stage without bumping into each other. Eventually, Buse Gowda summoned enough courage to take the training and within two years mastered all the basic footwork and hand gestures, which a person with sight generally achieves in a year.
How does he do it? How does a person without sight deliver an elaborate performance on the 'Dasavathara', for instance, for over two hours without a fumble or a collision with others? Buse Gowda says that it is all a matter of timing!
Ten non-sighted dancers are now giving professional performances around the world. They started off with a 15-minute recital, but now have extended it to the regular two-and-a-half hours. Ashok Kumar choreographs dance recitals with a mixture of sighted and the visually impaired dancers. "I don't announce that some of the dancers are visually impaired and nobody can guess who they are." And even among these outstanding dancers, Buse Gowda stands out, because he can give even elaborate classical solo performances. Hisarangetram was held in 1995.
Buse Gowda excels in facial expressions, the most important aspect of his art. He wants to establish dance schools for the visually challenged, besides taking dancing to schools for the visually challenged.
Buse Gowda was awarded the Cavinkare Ability award, besides a national award in 2001 for outstanding achievement in the field of creative arts, and a plethora of titles such as 'Natya Kala Kaushala', 'Kala Premi' and 'Mayura' have been bestowed on him. He is also an auditioned artiste of Bangalore Doordarshan, the government owned national television network.
Natyanjali could be contact at: No. 25, 16th Cross, 5th Phase, J. P Nagar, Bangalore 560078. You can also contact 6490753 or firstname.lastname@example.org