Day 11 – Just Dance!


Yesterday I didn’t dance. I honored my Challenge by going on a two mile walk. Still, I can’t tell you how my mind pounced on that opportunity to jump on its usual treadmill, spouting well-rehearsed lines from a movie I’ve watched far too many times: “All the True Reasons why Vrinda should give up Dance Now and Forever”

It’s like I NEED a daily reminder that hey, this body of mine can actually dance. I can actually dance. I’m aware that this seems silly or completely strange to people who see me dance and wonder what my question is all about. From their perception it seems obvious that I can dance. If you can’t understand why I would get into this loop of self-defeating thinking, just identify an area in your own life where you might have an “irrational” fear, or where you are simply convinced that you can’t do something. This parallel mainly works if it’s also something you very much desire to do. Your desire attracts you to it, but your conviction that you can’t/shouldn’t has you endlessly circling around it.

Long (mental) story short, today I knew I had to dance, no matter what.

I came across a Bharata Natyam jati via fellow dance enthusiast Madhana Raghavan Nitiyananda Rahavan who also keeps me updated on important news from Chennai’s dance world. The rhythmic syllables in a jati supports pure dance sections. This particular one comes from the full-length dance piece Huseni Varnam choreographed by Rukmini Devi. My seniors at Kalakshetra were learning this varnam when I was in my first year, so I had heard this jati before.

I lost count how many times I played and danced to this jati today, but at least 15 (if you need to know anything about us Kalakshetrians it’s that we’ve repeated the same movement/dance at least 100’s of times!) I began in a playful mood, just improving:


As I started understanding the pattern and where the emphasis comes, I came up with a more choreographed movement where I follow the nattuvangam, the rhythms played by the cymbals:


Also my fellow dancer in this Challenge Jamuna Chiarini is back in action, and I was moved by her offering today. I decided to improv to the the same music she used, Arvo Part – Tabula Rasa. I had a lot of fun with this since I’ve never danced to classical music before. It felt dramatic and emotionally evocative:


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