Having learnt and practiced the art form for almost two decades, Bharatanatyam has shaped me into the person I am today. It has influenced me in every way possible. Right from the way I walk, to the way my thoughts and opinions are formed. Identifying myself as a dancer, I owe the art form my entire existentence.
One of the foremost things that I realised dance has done is help me become more disciplined. Hours of meticulous practice have taught me that making and following a regular routine can do wonders for you. It has taught me the importance of making plans and sticking to it. Countless rehearsals and stage runs have given me an impeccable sense of time as well.
Planning a dance performance involves a plethora of tasks. The invites, the lights, the stage decor, the music ensemble, the guests, the costumes and the list goes on. And after having done this for a while, I have realised that planning things out and having a plan B (C, D and E sometimes) goes a really long way. It has also taught me to think on my feet and to be quick executing said thoughts.
Dance has taught me to appreciate the rich culture that our country has. The breathtaking Hindustani and Carnatic music, the beautiful temple architecture, the brilliantly composed epics and poems by Indian authors and saints. It has taught me to appreciate and see the beauty in the artforms; not just those belonging to India but those of the world as well.
Dance has a huge role to play in the way I walk, talk and dress. My theatrical hand gestures, my over expressive face, my extreme love for Indian clothes and jewellery, all thanks to dance.
Teaching dance to a room full of enthusiastic preteens has taught me to have immense patience and also a thing or two about dealing with children. It has taught me to respect them and has also made me realise that they are extremely impressionable and they’re really quick learners.
Dance has taught me that art is a human act. It is ephemeral, yet capable of having an everlasting impression. It has taught me to be mindful of people and their pursuits; artistic or otherwise. It has taught me that it’s completely okay to take risks. Art, after all, is reckless like that. It has taught me to be generous and be carefree. It has taught me to make art.
But most importantly, dance has taught me to have a firm head on my shoulders. Dance has taught me to live.