While our pursuit of finding people with an artistic vision is still on, we bring to you the last gem of this series – Mruga Shroff
Defying Surat’s old adage: “dancing” is all about the nine nights of graceful whirls, Noopur Nritya Academy has succeeded in bringing the culture of classical dance form to life in the city. 33-years-old Mruga Jenish Shroff is a Kathak dancer who teaches the art to others at the academy and believes in enacting the beauty of this expressive art in the new generation.
Growing up in a household occupied by artists since generations, Mruga Shroff knew she will find her own symphony only in the dance beats. Her childhood was filled with the buzz of rhyme and rhythm in the air, steps matching with steps, people practising and dancing their hearts out. Being the only child of Kathak and folk dance gurus Smt. Smruti Vora and Shree Paresh Vora, it came naturally for Mruga to fall for Kathak. Noopur Nritya Academy was founded by her mother in 1981, with the aim of promoting Indian classical dance and thus preserving Indian culture by teaching it to the younger generations. Her mother had a strong inclination towards dancing, but she had to move to Mumbai to learn authentic classical dance, as it wasn’t available anywhere in Surat. So when she got back, she decided to establish the academy with the aim of spreading authentic knowledge of the discipline in Surat. Mruga being a Diploma holder in Dance from Terence Lewis Dance Foundation Scholarship Trust, a Kathak Visharad & a Diploma holder in Commercial Arts (Graphic designing) knew where are calling was taking her.
Her Inspiration Story:
Mruga’s grandparents had fought in the freedom struggle for the country and were scholars in Sanskrit and Indian classical music. She grew up in a house where every corner bustled with the beats of music. Despite, being married to Mr Jenish Shroff since 2014 and jointly owning a graphic design firm, Mruga always found her heartbeats syncing with music.
Being a professional Kathak performer, she reflects how the lineage she belongs to has always been uplifting her to pursue her artistic inclinations. Her all-time support and inspiration have been her mother, who was determined & bold enough to start a classical dance institute 38 years ago in a city like Surat.
Back then the academy was the only source of bread butter for her family, where her mother was raising her and looking after her retired grandparents, one of whom was fighting a battle with blood cancer. She later got Mruga’s father on board with her and together they have been delivering only quality to all the aspirants. Thousands of students have witnessed the stringent work culture that reinforced quality and has religiously followed the day-to-day routine at their academy. And this determination and hard work that each soul at the academy is what keeps Mruga going.
Mruga believes that they are a link between the past and the present. They bear the huge responsibility of preserving the Indian culture and taking forward the essence for the upcoming generations. One of the biggest challenges that they face is the commitment required from the children & their parents. Any classical art form demands a lot of time, patience and practice. With a number of other activities as diversions; school work, career pressure and fast pacing lifestyle, kids, as well as adults, are not able to focus. They don’t want to give the art form the time that it requires, but at the same time expect the results.
Chapters to Come:
Mruga would love to turn admirers to aspirants and get more people attracted towards the Indian culture. There’s a whole world about which not many are aware of and Mruga hopes to serve as a medium between the two.