From time to time, we will post an article at the CAT, focussing on quote from a brilliant artiste who has gone through a life challenge and how they came through it.

This week, we focus on TED India speaker Ananda Shankar Jayant, choreographer, Indian dancer and cancer survivor.  

Ananda Shankar Jayant, who is trained in two traditional forms of classical Indian dance, Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, uses dance as a way of exploring deeper truths. It was dance that gave her the strength to battle cancer and in turn inspire her followers. In fact, she performed TEDIndia conference in November 2009. She is known to have performed without a hairpiece in India, and made it to the local newspaper list of ‘Bald Beauties of India.’  When one reads her interview with TED, one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry; it is filled with such wit and humour despite her facing a life threatening disease.

Photo taken from TED interview

Here are a few quotes by Ananda, gleaned from her website and her TED Talk interview, that touched us and we wish to share these with you. While they apply mostly to dance, we would suggest applying them to your own craft (whether that be art, music, writing) by meditating on her quotes and let them form the ‘blood stream’ of strength, power and beauty that you are.


“My language called dance paints before you a canvas of life and beyond — of our fallible self groping in the darkness for that light of eternity.”

“The only way I could escape focusing on the cancer was to focus on something that animated me and moved me and touched me. And, I found that in my dance. Dance is really who I am. Dance is really my life’s breath, in that sense of the word.”

“My lion was my own inner strength, my inner resilience — that all of us have.”

“You need to go beyond even the poetry and the music to really touch surreality, as it were. I call it “to touch one’s self” — to find yourself through your art form.”

“To me, to dance is to be, to dance is to be happy, for I dance with joy to reach that permanent state of bliss, I dance in frenzied action to seek that stillness of the soul.”

“Dance to me has always been the manifest expression of the unmanifest impression. Yes, dance is not some  rarefied, exotic activity, far removed from the perceivable. It is that act consciously performed which is the manifestation of the inner self endeavouring to shatter through screens of illusion to touch ‘reality.””

Visit Ananda’s website for further information on her performance schedules.