An educationist, a trained dancer and now an author, Deepa Kiran, who was in the city for the Vizag Junior Literature Festival, dons many roles and takes us into her world of storytelling.
Does your extrovert personality help in connecting with your listeners during storytelling?
I am very private person. However I started dance when I was 6 years old and stage is a space I’m very comfortable with. We all have our sides; there is a side of me which loves to be quiet.
I am not a completely outward person but I have the tendency to connect with a large audience and see them collectively as one person.
I am not the one who will speak up but any interaction comes my way and I find myself engrossed. I guess my curiosity takes over my shyness.
How has the journey of storytelling been so far?
Over time I have gotten better but I have had my share of mess ups – when I got the story wrong or when I thought a story could work but it didn’t. Now I know what works and when.
Have your performances always been solo?
I have collaborated with groups for musicals which have dance drama and story telling.
Do you have a troupe of your own?
Not really my own but it’s sort of floating, I have collaborated with international storytellers.
It’s not planned but happens on its own especially in festivals. Somebody brings it up and I end up working with another person.
Your most special collaboration?
Maryann Kenny and I have done several collaborations. She is also a musician and a dancer and deeply interested in literature.
So we connect in these three levels. Our worldviews are similar and we believe in going beyond borders.
I have ended up working with a lot of people in South India too. Some are dancers, story tellers, music teachers or who train with us.
How often do you travel?
The last two years I have been to 11 countries. In India, I travel as a teacher trainer as I am an educationist.
Does your storytelling help you with other activities?
I was in Chhattisgarh and worked with the Gondi Tribal community and other tribes to revive the Gondi language.
I felt storytelling was a great way to help them revive their culture.
Do you have an agency to get the word around?
Not yet, but we have a registered trust and our work mostly happens by word of mouth. It works best that way in my line of work.
When people do not understand your craft does that bother you?
No. I don’t see this as a challenge and when people don’t understand my work it doesn’t cause a sense of despair.
In fact there has been a mushrooming of storytellers and people wanting storytelling parallel to those who don’t understand.
I would rather develop a small space where the craft is appreciated than jump into something which needs to be done with more caution.