Dance has helped Janani stay steps ahead of her disability

In our series on Down syndrome, we profile Janani Sankaran from Chennai, who is creating quite a name for herself in the world of Bharatanatyam even before her debut performance.

In less than a week, Janani Sankaran has her debut Bharatanatyam performance in Chennai. The arangetram is a big moment for a serious Bharatanatyam dancer, and Janani is looking forward to the big moment.

My sari is blue and white in colour. I am really very excited about going on stage, but I am also a little nervous – Janani Sankaran

Janani, who is 24 years old, started learning Bharatanatyam at the age of 10. The head of the RASA School, which she attends, discovered her talent for Bharatanatyam.

At RASA, children with special needs are taught dance, theatre, and the arts.

After she started taking classes in Bharatanatyam, we noticed that her health improved tremendously. She had undergone an open-heart surgery and had thyroid problems. Dancing helped improve her stamina significantly – Radha Sankaran, Janani’s mother

Even before her debut performance, Janani’s talents are getting noticed. She is getting calls to do shows in many parts of Chennai.

As she watches her daughter prepare for the big day, mother Radha is filled with pride. Getting here has not been easy as Janani faced many setbacks in her early years.

Radha says she had no information or support to help her with her daughter’s disability. Social outings were hard to handle, given the many questions she was faced with from people. There was also unwillingness on the part of the mainstream schooling system to support and understand Janani.

They would put her in a corner in the classroom and none of the children were encouraged to socialize with her. She had a tendency to hug the children, out of love, but that was not liked – Radha Sankaran, Janani’s mother

Dancing has given Janani’s confidence. She is able to talk to anyone and is a very social person. She communicates very well and has no difficulty talking to people she meets for the first time.

Right now, her focus is on the upcoming debut show. There are photo shoots to be done and jewellery to be finalized. There is a whole new world awaiting Janani, and she is raring to go!

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