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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Was Dance my first love??




My very dear friend, Pooja Venugopal made this happen! A guest post from Ambili Babu. That's psychology + emotions + dancing + creativity & attitude for you!

Read on...


No it 
wasn't!! It was just another extra curricular activity. I recall as a 5 year old,when every Saturday and Wednesday I would wear my red salwar kameez accessorized with a long bindi, largely drawn eyes and a dangling earring would rush to my class to meet my friends and of course, my guru.

But my early memories of dance are strenuous dance postures with severe cramps and repeated ‘adavus’ (basic steps), I could never understand the purpose of trying so hard to emote something so simple. If communication was the purpose might as well ‘Say it’!!

I was moulded into it, fitted into theories of dance and Natya shastra, as years rolled on dance became an integral part of my Soul, I began to think, breathe and feel dance. But sometimes I pondered if I was restricting myself to the frames of the conventional theories, but what use was it if I couldn't use it for a divine purpose? Was I limiting myself to be just a an entertainer or performer?? These were just questions that juggled within, I needed an answer but I never did.

Years later when I finished my schooling and I headed to Bangalore to pursue my studies, I was a part of a reputed institution, where arts of all kinds and forms were nurtured and developed, I was happy to be there, but I was afraid if I would lose my identity as a dancer. When one fine evening as I walked through the streets of Koramangala, I found a flyer with a dance pose on the ground, I picked it up, it read ‘Indian Contemporary dance.’ I was wondering what this could be. But I had a spark within and thought what if I found an answer to the question I always asked myself!! That weekend I prepared and enrolled myself to a journey that turned my life!

Freedom ‘of the dancer in you, there was no limitations, no boundaries, it was an endless ocean of experience and learning! My guru told me in the first class ‘you are a bad dancer and I wonder if u know that!' It crushed me. I cried and thought was all my prior training in vain? What was I doing?

But as my training progressed the mysteries and the purpose of dance began to unveil. We were trained with the basics of 12 formal styles of dance and martial arts. My guru once said, ‘you have conceived dance, it is still an embryo, you need to nurture it, protect it, think effectively of its growth, you should be aware of what is within you, until you deliver a full grown healthy baby-your choreography’ that becomes your own production a combination of your creative and intellectual power. This changed my life and yes I found an answer to the questions I had. Training under him for 6 years brought tremendous meaning in my life, as a dancer and above all as a human being!

Whatever you feel becomes an emotion which in turn could be directed to a movement, your body reacts to that movement, your eyes, your limbs, even your breath is controlled in respect to your emotion, so why not use these movements as a powerful medium of communication? Dance should not be limited to just movements, and showcasing mythological and historic events, it has divine power to evoke a thought, to translate a social message or sometimes to just reflect the expression of your soul.

When I look back at my journey, I realize all my prior training as a child has strengthened me to use abhinaya (expressions), mudras (hand gestures) and adavus to create newer movements and to use it effectively!!  When we create, every movement has an intellectual and creative flavor and thus enables us to produce a well crafted piece, and may be it could be your masterpiece.

I moved on then to create pieces I called, Women empowerment, Suicide, Abortion - Oh My Child!, Choice- A temptation? and many more. Some were huge successes while some a failure, but I am still learning and believe I will keep translating  my thoughts as long as The Lord enables me.

Today, when I train a bundle of kids, all I tell them is ‘Experience and feel every movement and it will transform your lives and thoughts. Nurture your body and mind and each of you have a great purpose as a dancer which they have to unveil themselves!!

And of course I strongly believe and know today ‘ Dance was my First Love’!!
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