This is a first draft of a post of NUS Indian Dance’s blog (very recently started) http://nusid.tumblr.com/ – Feedback much appreciated in comments/ emails. 🙂 Lalli is a name that sounded very right for this post- very random, I know. But I like it!
I have learnt Bharatnatyam right from when I was a kid. I started off when I was all of four years of age- my grandmother keeps repeating stories of how I used keep dancing (and showing off) in front of unsuspecting guests at our home. When I was 5 and my sister was born, paati had just got off the Navjeevan Express and hurried to see her second granddaughter. Apparently I did not let her enter the room containing my sister until she had watched me dance a good 15 minutes! Such was my love for dance.
It changed a few years later though, when I was a kid who just wanted to sit at home and watch Swat Kats on TV after school, instead of being pushed into a salwar kameez, a big bindi plastered on my forehead and lugged off to dance class. That was the painful part however- once I got to class all my laziness generally used to vanish! My teacher was a perfectionist and a disciplinarian and I was in awe of her. She was a beautiful dancer of course, and a brilliant teacher. I (think) I have got most of my basics in place- it is only because of her. The akkas (all in class nine and ten) were all amazing in my eyes and I fervently used to pray to dance and look “cool” like them.
And the years rolled by… I slowly got better and eventually went on to perform my Arangetram – a degree of competence for an artiste! It was a lot of fun and a crazy amount of hard work. I really enjoyed it though, and it was a very memorable event in my young life. I practiced for three hours every day and all day during weekends. This continued for almost 6 months, and by the end of it I was a pro (if I may say so myself). My doting parents blew up a lot of money to ensure that the Sabha (hall) was a good one and I got the best musicians for the live orchestra. I also had 3 dance costumes made from Kancheevarams, lots of temple jewellery and even a professional photo shoot done before the show! To a fourteen year old girl, all this was unimaginable glamour and excitement. All my friends from school came to watch me perform, of course and it was great fun.
After that I sort of became a “Padips” (nerd) and decided to pore over my books instead of dancing my life out. As a result, class eleven and twelve saw me dancing only inside my house, trying to remember complex equations in Chemistry and reciting poems for English Lit. class.
Next stop- Singapore, with me joining NUS Indian Dance!