Soniksha Venkatesh

  • Tell us about your experience with Ragini Bhajanka.

It’s difficult to put words to what my experience with Ragini’s classes have been; simply because they take me to someplace within myself that’s curiously beyond words but so wholly intimate. In a way, my experience with Ragini has been an experience of my own self, as I experience her and she experiences her students. In one of her classes, she asked us to think of ourselves as the biggest ocean, “your body is 70% water, so in this moment you are the ocean”, she said. I suppose that sums up my experience: like the oceans, her classes are deep going, transient, each wave like each class is enough in itself and there’s always much more to explore and find than what appears on the surface. 

  • What makes Ragini different?

What makes Ragini different is that she is Ragini. I can say with confidence, there’s no one like her and more than that, there are no other classes providing what her classes are: a chance to know our body and movement, through our own self, slowly and steadily. Nobody teaches you how to listen to your body, how to speak its language but Ragini does and that’s extremely special. 

  • What is your biggest takeaway from Ragini’s Program? 

My biggest takeaway has been that life, dance and movement are magically entwined and in many ways, most of my learnings in classes are thoughts and questions I take back into my non dance life. So I’d say my takeaway from her classes is learning how to be me, how to find movement in anything and everything outside of ‘dance class.’  

  • What skills did you gain as a result of being with her?

To not compare or chase after moves, to pause and understand where my body is and what it can do and then slowly prepare it enough so it can endure more without collapsing, so I can dance for longer without risking bodily injuries is the most fundamental skill I am learning. 

  • What is your advice to people on the fence?

My advice to people on the fence is to stop thinking about it and just jump right over the fence and into her classes! It’s what I did and that’s perhaps the best thing about her classes: You are taken care of, mind and body, because once you’re there, she does the thinking for you and all you have to do is just let go, give into the here and now of her class. 

  • Where would you be today if you hadn’t joined Ragini’s classes?

I don’t know where I would have been but I know wherever I’d have been, I’d be far away from my body and not nearly as accepting, kind or nurturing towards it as I am now. I’d be someplace where movement would continue to only be about the big fancy moves, the performance, the mastery instead of being something much more simpler, purer; something much more me.

  • What makes her student community special?

The student community is simply beautiful. There’s always an air of acceptance and safety in Ragini’s classes, not just because of all she does to ensure you feel safe and accepted but also because of the students who make up the class; who are always encouraging, kind and welcoming. 

  • Anything else you’d like to share, a personal anecdote or story. 

In my first Raga class, I spoke about how I was scared but I closed my eyes and just moved, maybe because I knew Ragini would be watching so I didn’t need to watch myself, I could trust her eyes. She in response told me: “You don’t always have to be the adult, you can be the baby and this is where you can and should become the baby. Let me take care of you.” It’s something that’ll always stay with me because it’s one of those rare moments when I felt seen in a way I hadn’t known before.

I think that sums up what kind of a teacher Ragini is: someone who honestly and profoundly cares  and has so much knowledge to share, but also so much love and life to share with her students, too.

Published by Ragini Bhajanka

Exploration as a way of life