Sunday, April 27, 2008

Convince Me

Nrityagram dance ensemble

I’ve been teaching my roommate, Shalagram, how to convince people to do stuff. You know, things they kinda wanna do and they would be so thrilled if they did, but they don’t (catch that?). So they need some persuasion.

So she was trying to convince me to attend her Odissi dance class. I refused. She tried several of my tactics – reverse psychology, reassurance: there’s no intense footwork, etc., – but I still refused.

Finally I said, “Look, Shalagram, I’m not going, okay? I had two exams and a presentation this morning and I’m exhausted." Then I paused. "But… if I were you trying to convince me to go, this is what I would say:

“Look, Bhakti, it’s the last time you’ll be able to come with me to dance class. It’s such a beautiful dance form, and my teacher is excellent. You haven’t danced in so long, and you won’t have to stress your foot out. And look, once you get dancing you’ll forget you were tired, you’ll be so thrilled to dance once again. When will you have this chance again?” I said. Yeah, that's what I said.

Shalagram just looked at me and started to grin.

I shifted in my seat, starting to smile, too. Then I laughed. “Um… wait… what do you wear? Same as for a Bharatanatyam class?”

So in a stuffy, carpeted, and tiny living room, I learned the base steps for Odissi.

My muscles were thrumming, my mind alive! At one point, the three other students transitioned into more intricate steps, so I simply stepped back to watch.

I found myself not calculating movements and timing and examining the students’ posture. I just watched, mesmerized. Every girl, no matter their physical appearance, held me spellbound by their grace. The movements so fluid, so full of grace, so drawn from a deep and ancient culture… these are the things that had me utterly devoted to Bharatanatyam, so completely in love with dance.

My eyes shone, and my body kind of numbed up, too, as it feels like when your whole body is crying as well.

Dance. Dance with discipline.

I swear to you, I felt connected with my soul in that stuffy little living room, moving my shoulders, creating circles, listening to the teacher speak out the rhythm, and feeling the blood rush through my veins… with a gentle smile on my face as I danced.

1 comment:

Priya said...

Yes, dance is amazing. It gives life to me. I really love your writings. By the way, I'm Amal's sister.
Take care,

To write is to dare the soul. So write.