Dance and V -2

If you have not read Dance and V – 1, please read it first

V writes,

Continuing my dance and me series,

To me learning dance is a continuous process, there is never an end and there is always something I can improve upon. It is my eternal quest for perfection. Today I have learnt for more than 10 years, on and off and I still feel I want to learn more. Might be I am obsessed with dance, might be I just am passionate about dance but whatever it is, I enjoy learning Bharatnatyam. And in that way I was lucky to get two teachers who nurtured my love for dance. As a young girl, I had the guidance from a teacher who installed in me a love for the dance form more than anything else and now I have a teacher who motivates me to keep going. Yes I have been really lucky with my teachers and that matters a lot. I have heard teachers give the cold shoulder to 10 year olds and you wonder why the child hates dance. Well let’s leave that side of dance for now. It is an ugly side I have heard about.

I was talking about my dance classes, in my classes I learn not just the art of moving my limbs and emoting, I also learn about the history of the land and dance which I find very fascinating. Most of the dance postures and poses are derived from the sculptures in the temples. There is so much history our land has and we are so ignorant. I feel bad for the days when I grumbled when my mother used to drag me to the temples. I wish I had paid a lil more attention in the sleepy history classes at school. I try to make up for that today. Whatever item I learn, I try to read a bit about is history, its composer and other facts.

Dance can be represented and interpreted in different ways by different people and it sure is something I love. It is sort of like understanding human psychology. As a performer, I need to get the audience attention on me and then retain it till I get off stage. For that it is just not my precise steps and movements, there is something more, might be the charisma, and might be the act of story-telling, the connection you make with the numerous unknown people looking at you. I am not sure if I am making sense here. It is something to be felt and not explained. It is like watching a movie, you see numerous actors come and go but finally the accolades go to few, few who were able to capture your attention. That is infact what a dancer tries to do.

No dance is the effort of one person. It is a team effort. Even when I am doing solo on stage, I still need to interact with the orchestra that provides music. These interactions are subtle, sort of like chemistry. A perfect mix gives an explosive performance. Team effort is much greater when we dance as a group which is often my case. Doing a group item involves not just learning and perfection on stage; it involves a good understanding between the performers. It also involves quick thinking and the ability to improvise at unexpected situations. There will be chances someone forgets some steps and any innumerable happenings. A comfort level with all the participants is essential for a good on stage show. Not just on stage you need to be comfortable with the group you practice with. If there are some rotten apples in your sack, that’s the end of it! And as you probably know, put a group of women together and you’ll see some big time ego clashes and issues. Overcoming them is indeed an effort!

Thinking about it, dance itself is a complex relationship between math, music, science, history, psychology and whatever you want to add in between.

And then there is the being on stage part of a dancer. When I went back to dance, I didn’t want to be on stage because I didn’t think it was worth the effort. I am neither a accomplished dancer nor am I a teenager looking for recognization and certificates. I have had my share of spot-lights and makeup and I did not look forward to being on stage. But I went on stage and the first time I performed (it was Jan 1st 2006) it was a disaster. Well I did my steps right, but I lacked the elation and joy I used to enjoy while on stage when I was kid. As I grew up, somewhere along the line, I started expecting perfection from myself. And then there is this process of spending hours getting ready. When I was young, mom and granny where around co-coordinating everything, ironing my dance dress, selecting the jewelry and the worst braiding my hair and here I am now grown-up enough to get ready myself. I hate it. And at times wonder why I go on stage yet again. The answer is simple, because every time I have a performance ahead; I challenge myself to the extreme. I give 110% when there is a deadline, typical human I am! And then there is the being-on-stage feeling, I forget everything and am blind to the audience, I dance because I love it. My hands move on their own accord, the legs keep the rhythm, my face captures various emotions, well if not to the 100% perfection mark but atleast to the maximum I can do. Being on stage changes something and I have not been able to find what it is! It is just a feeling. And ofcourse there is the adrenaline rush after the performance. The applause ringing in my ears I sit back to think what next? When I was younger, after the performance were times when I screamed with joy but today after the performance I am subdued. I have learnt to look at what went wrong. The audience applause is really not my gauge mark; I know what I could have done. Might be I too harsh on myself but it is way I want to be.

Learning and growing towards the elusive perfection. And that is what I hope to keep doing. This ends my series on dance, I am not sure if you were able to make sense of this but if you have any questions I would be glad to answer them.


Kavi said...

The series just brought out the passion you have for dance ! And i guess when does it for the love of it, and not looking at the reward in applause or money or whatever, it is quite rare and quite profound !

I have always believed that such passions are the moorings of life. Glad you have a fantastic one at that. And thanks for sharing !

Anjali said...

Nice series.It made me remember my aversion to the maths part of it. I was introduced to me when i was around 11. They were the most difficult classes I have had. Its true with every thing in life. The subtle aspects are less interesting and least attractive. But we grow only when we move towards learning them. I also appreciate your attitude while learning. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and keep writing about your passion.

Anjali Nandan said...

Also do visit Your suggestions are always welcome.

V said...

Thanks Anjali. These days I write about dance at