Featured Artist – Mani Chao

Mani Chao is a young passionate Bharat Natyam dancer, art teacher and actor from Karachi. He is one of Sheema Kirmanis students known for his wonderful form and excellent pieces he performed with Sheema.

Dancer, Art Teacher, Actor : Mani Chao

Name : Mani Chao

City : Karachi

Age : 30

Field : Dancer, Art Teacher, Actor


Email : budhanme@yahoo.com

Cell :

Website :

Current Motto :

About your work:
My first performance was at my sister’s wedding. I always danced with friends and started in my childhood. I was feeling really proud when I was dancing and I got appreciation. My family liked me seeing dancing at home. Seriously I started 1991 with Sheema Karmani in Karachi. I saw Shema Karmanis picture in a magazine and decided to join her classes. In this time she was leaving for India so I had to wait for a while until I became her student. I was really excited of joining her class and on her side there was a lot of excitement as well and she started teaching me without fees. Because of my passion and excitement I was able to perform just after three months at a seminar for physically challenged people. Whatever I am as a dancer or actor is because of Sheema. Sadia Khan was a college and a friend of mine and pushed me not to quit dance. I am also teaching in Karachi Grammar School as an art&craft teacher. There I am also teaching Bharata Natyam with about 30 or 35 young pupils (age 5-9).

Feel as a dancer now? What is the value of dance?
Dance is really important for my life. I sometimes thought about quitting dance and concentrate on some other job, but I realized that I have to go back to try my best as a dancer. I think it is difficult to make a life with dancing in our society, but after all the energy I spent for Dance and my great passion for it I continued doing it.You also acted in few plays, why?
In the beginning there were forcing me to act and I helped Shema with different plays. I didn’t really enjoy doing it, but after some plays I grew into it and nowadays it is nice to do stage plays as well. Dance is coming from my soul, with acting it was more difficult. It was important for me to get appreciation to get more self confidence as an actor on stage. I would also like to work as a choreographer, but there hasn’t been an opportunity so far.

What is the state of dance in 
Pakistan as an art form?
In the 60s people were appreciating dance, even people from the middle class used to take classes. During Zia ul Haq a lot of dancers had to leave like Nahid Siddiqui, Khan Sham and all the academies closed down. Later there used to be a flourishing scene even in the 90s, but nowadays there are hardly any performances. Mostly people are not that interested in doing it seriously, as a profession. The society and the state are not supportive in promoting classical art forms. In Lahore there are more Kathak Dancers and students, but for Paratnatin there are no new students in Pakistan. Even NAPA is not supporting dance.

Why people need art? What is the essence of Art?

People need art to be relaxed and to express their feelings and themselves. The environment of a lot of people is depressing and stressful. Art can be a way out of this pressure of society.

What could improve the situation of art in Pakistan?
Government support, to have more dance schools, media support, dancing programs, more art education at schools, more chances for performances, family support, visa situation should be a little bit more relaxed to have an exchange with classical arts

What are your upcoming projects?
There is a play to join the Youth Theatre Festival in October in Lahore with my theatre group Naweed I Nou and I am going to perform my first solo show in Karachi.
Two TV productions for private channels, Doku Film

Favourite Food?
Bryani, Dhal Jawell

What is you favorite music?
Classical and instrumental music

What kind of events do you attend?
Dance performances and theatre

About Karachi or Pakistani culture:
I like Karachi very much, but more cultural events and performances have to be developed. In Lahore there is a bigger scene, it is very difficult with promotion in Karachi.

What would you express with?
Sa relax

Re free

Ga happy

Ma self

Pa sit

dha jump

ni loud shout

Do the following colors have some meaning for you?
Black – sad

White – peace

Red – aggression

Yellow – romance

Green – fresh

Blue – lonely, sad, myself

Turquoise – pure

Brown – heavy

Violet –

Orange – juicy

I want to be like rainbow

Since when are you in the music/art scene?

Who is your inspiration?
Sheema Karmani, Sadia Khan and my eldest sister baji

What is your message?
Inqilab-e-artist azadi-e-artist
Revolution and freedom of and for artists