Dance: The soul soother...

 Brinda is dancingShe danced so very beautifully and had the stamina to sing as well! That day began my passion for Bharatanatyam and Brindakka, unwittingly, became my first dance teacher. Though God cut short her life and took her away from our midst, whenever I think of dance she’s the one who first comes to my mind. This was during our visit to India and after we returned to Dallas, I kept on asking my mom to enroll me in a Bharatanatyam class. She took me to Revathi Satyu (popularly known as Revathi aunty) who held her dance classes at the DFW Hindu temple. Aunty told me that I was too small to start dancing  and that I needed to wait at least for one more year. "Can I sit and watch?" I pleaded. "Of course, dear!" she answered with a smile. And so I watched the grace, rhythm and expressions .....and waited. The following year, when I was 5, I started Alpana aunty's class with 'aduvus'. I began my joyous journey into the world of Bharatanatyam and my passion and fascination for dance grew more and more in years to come. I always looked forward to those classes, which were held only on Saturdays. I started taking 2 classes from that year onwards and learnt this great art from Leena aunty, Lata aunty, Sangeeta aunty and Shalini aunty under the guidance of Revathi aunty. I loved those annual recitals at Carpenter Hall. Not only was I proud to perform what I had learnt in my classes, but also enjoyed watching those items from advanced students. The teachers' dance was the best of all and  took us to a different world of the divine! Even though I didn’t understand Tamil, they dance in a way that transcends language. The harmony and the rhythm in their movements were fabulous. I am grateful to them for introducing me to this great art and want to be a dancer and a teacher like one of them.

In addition to being a wonderful body and mind work out, dance connects me to the rich heritage of Indian philosophy. It reminds me of the glorious past, the important present and to keep a vision for a rosy future. A good dancer expresses the idea without any verbal explanation. When one dances, one should forget everything and completely be engrossed in the theme. "You shouldn't just be a dancer, you should be the dance'' is what I was told. Just like a swimmer should immerse into the water to swim, so should a dancer be in dance.

Dancing is not just depicting an idea, a theme, a scene from the past, a deity, a devotee, or any other. True dance conveys the inner message to the heart. True dance changes a person. Above all, the classical art of Bharathanatyam has a meaning for each step. Every movement has a beautiful story of its own -- its origin, its growth and its use and much more. Thank you teachers for showing me the joy of Bharathanatyam! I love you all!

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