Day 26 – Clash of Consciousness

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Last night I was looking at Youtube videos and thinking about which dancers I want to emulate. Although there are several people I admire, I don’t actually aspire to dance like them. In that sense, I haven’t found someone whose footsteps I can follow. When it comes to traditional Bharata Natyam, however, Leela Samson or Akka as we call her is my foremost rolemodel. For example, she was 57 when I saw her dance, an age where many other dancers have long since put their own dance on the shelf. I mean, I’m barely 30 and I’ve heard comments like, “You better start dancing, because the end of your time is coming closer.” There is this assumption that dance is only for the young, and Leela Akka completely busts that myth, and that’s just one of the reasons I think she is so cool. Anyway, I will write about her another day, but my point is, I decided to try out one of Akka’s choreographies, just like I tried on Shantala Shivalinappa’s. It seemed like a perfectly sound idea:

 

But no sooner had I done this, than I felt a constriction in my throat and a heaviness in my chest. It almost got hard to breath. I felt crushed by a voice full of contempt asking me, “do you think anything you do can be even close to what Leela Akka does?” Even though that had not been my motive at all, the relentless voice mocked me, crushing me down. And I felt like my realization from yesterday was just slipping through my hands and disappearing. When I looked deeper to understand this sudden onset of feelings, I found this question, “Why are you trying to fit me into this mold?” Or rather, “Why are you forcing me to be someone else?”

Unwilling to be haunted by these emotions all day, I went outside and tried again. My thoughts were about fullness, giving, and taking:

 

Doing this left me free. For now…

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