“Every savage can dance”…that is what Mr Darcy said about dance in Pride and Prejudice. I couldn’t have disagreed more.
I was introduced to Kathak, a classical form of dance, at a very young age. I knew all the taals and tukdas while still in preparatory school. Joining my college’s dance team was an obvious choice then. Western dance styles are way different from kathak but it is an experience I enjoyed to the hilt.
Dance is an art. It needs devotion. It demands a lot of sacrifices, a zillion truckloads of effort and mountains of patience. I always think of it as a slow art. You can’t make a performer in a day. It takes years of silent work before one can step on stage and dazzle the audience.
I vividly remember the long practice sessions we had, dancing for close to eight hours each day, pushing ourselves beyond our limits. In those days, dance became my drug. I was addicted to it. I talked of nothing else, thought of little else. And now that I look back at that time, I think those hours spent in the company of my team-mates, twisting our bodies into impossible shapes, will be the most cherished of my college life.
Whenever I dance, I am transformed into a different person. It is like a trance. It lifts me above the worries of everyday life. When each beat of the music resonates with the beating of my heart, I lose all sense of this world. It is a state of bliss which bestows upon me a sense of achievement, of fulfillment, of being complete. It makes me love myself.
The array of emotions expressed by the slightest change in posture, the silent words said by the movement of my eyes, the great tales told without uttering so much as a word; all left me overwhelmed and humbled.
While I am dancing, I can be anyone I wish to be. I am not restrained to fit into a particular image or social norms which bind me. I can just be me, free as a bird in the purple sky of her dreams…
But even as I am reliving those moments from my not-so-distant past, I cannot help but keep in mind that that joy is forbidden to me now. Happy stories do not always have happy ends. A series of events forced me to give up my place on the team. During the days that followed, I alternated between being angry and painfully grief-stricken. It was like having a part of me snatched away. Some part of my little heart went cold. Dance was my passion, still is. But I realized, sometimes you just have to give up the things most dear to you.
Dance helped me learn a lot, from little things like taking care of my own belongings and travelling by DTC to larger lessons of life like discipline and perseverance. It has played a pivotal role in shaping me into the person I am today. It changed this fish’s perspective towards life. I interacted with new people and opened up to this world. I came out of my shell to leave others shell-shocked…
I still dance but it is within the confines of four walls. I do not hear the loud cheering anymore or the thunder-like applause, so common during our performances. That was another world. Today, dance is a form of meditation for me, a way to connect and communicate with my inner self. It is a means to escape into a different world where I am not chained down. Nobody can take away my heart’s foot-tapping beats…
“Swaying to the music, lost to the world… I live the dreams I dreamed as a little girl.”