I did my first and last total Bharatanatyam performance after 15 years of training with my teacher, in January 2006, just a month before I was getting married…I have done loads of performances in annual days at school and college, but my first official performance was just a couple of weeks before I got married, which was the first one my teacher had organized..the driving force behind this, of course, was my cousin K because she had agreed to sing for our class students…and we could not thank her enough..she did a fab job singing and we all had fun doing the entire ‘Margam’ on stage!
After that, I did perform at my own wedding (yaa yaa..I am crazy that ways) and at my cousin’s weddings and my brother’s wedding..but it was more for family and friends and nothing hardcore Bharatanatyam..It was more fluid and fusion..and on movie songs..
I joined a Bharatanatyam class last year end, when I found a teacher in the next suburb to where I live and she took classes on weekends, which meant that RD could take care of the girls while I spent an hour in the class…While the teacher is younger to me (by 3 years, hehehe) I enjoyed learning from her..honestly..it was more of brushing the basics for me than anything else…Its funny how you remember stuff that you have learnt in childhood but forget stuff that you learnt 5 years ago!
So when I came to know about this multi-cultural festival being held, I asked my teacher if we could participate and she agreed..I filled the forms etc and we got a time of 10 minutes for our performance 🙂
And my teacher decided that we could do a Tillana..now a Tillana is that part of the dance in which there are no facial expressions involved, but is extremely fast paced and is usually done at the end of the dance performance. After so many years, I wasnt sure I could do a 5 minute tillana…but I was like..why not! Nothing wrong in trying..
Starting with 5 seconds we went ahead and did the whole 5 minutes dance with regular practice..Trust me, I used to practice at random times..before lunch, before dinner and what not..R2 thought I was mad at times..Amma what you doing..she would ask me as I would break into beserk moves and poses at weird times..
But I persevered and finally I could actually perform for 5 minutes without feeling I was dying!
On the day of the performance, my teacher and I had to do each other’s hair…while I have shoulder length hair so teacher could tied it up with the false hair and all (a thousand hairpins later!), my teacher had shorter hair..which meant, the I-dont-know-a-thing-about-hairstyles me had to actually get her hair in place with the rakodi and kunjalam and what not..It took us 2 hours to just get the hair done..the saree was half an hour and one of my teacher’s friend who is a make up specialist did our eye make up..Trust me, I have never put so much make up in my life..not even when I was getting married! Infact, when I got married I had only eyeliner and lipstick on! anyways, so after a million safety pins and thousands of hair pins..we got ready to go on stage..
and I loved it..I loved doing my performance, I was grinning like an idiot through out the performance..I did not worry about the audience, I did not worry about forgetting and I did not worry about anything…When people say dancing is a good spiritual experience, I think this is what they meant!
I had folks telling me I looked too fat and I had folks telling me I could have doing a bit more of sitting down while dancing…But honestly, it doesn’t matter…I am fat and I cant change it..but I loved loved loved dancing..I had a wonderful set of friends who came to cheer me up just for that 5 minutes dance and again, I cant thank God enough for the wonderful support system I have built in Tasmania…
I am not sure if I will go onstage again, but this experience, I will cherish all my life..at the age of 35, I managed to do a 5 minutes tillana without stopping or losing my breath! Life is fantastic 🙂