I have the soul of a dancer. For as long a I can remember, I have only wanted to dance. Surprising, since I am the only dancer in my family. Yet for the timeless dancer in me, I suppose no hereditary influences were necessary. Many life times of an unfulfilled desire to dance seems to have fuelled my passion to be a dancer, and for dance to be a metaphor of my existence.
I reached out to dance nearly two decades ago, flirting with the sensuous movement of Bharata Natyam and the more aggressive, evocative Kathakali.
My early search brought me to the door steps of Odissi, which challenged me with its lyrical grace and classical technique. My desire for dancing quickly took root in the able hands of a good teacher and the fertile traditions of a grand ancient temple art forms.
The thirst quenched for the moment, I took to the exploration of Odissi, growing profoundly over many hours, days and years of intense and rigourous practice, finding new meanings and expressions to what had simply been the seeds of desire.
Somewhere in search of myself, I started sharing what I new. Student became teacher and paradoxically, teacher became the taught. Teaching Odissi brought me closer to my limitations, as well as my potential.
There was an inner conflict, dissatisfaction, unfulfilled expectations and unexpressed intentions. Desire re-ignited from a state of disillusion and the natural urge to grow manifested again. A decade after venturing into Odissi, I branched out, looking for that something I realized was missing.
First, a trip to Orissa, a re-introduction to Odissi from the perspective of a different and wonderful teacher. Then, a purposeful into the delightful, mythical and masked world of sereikela Chhau. And along the way, a prolonged visit to the United States to whet the curiosity for the modern dance contraction, a midst inspiring people - teachers and friends.
It has been a process of metamorphosis, this love for dance. The awkward student has turned into a more reliable exponent. The spirit is steadier, the feet more grounded, the Odissi deeper and more exiting.
You will find various influences there if you care to look closely enough - the classical rhythm of Odissi, enhanced with the geometric precision of Chhau, wafted by the irreverence of modern dance. You will find expressions of the hard work with my previous teacher and the interpretations learned at the feet of my current guru.
The search is far from over. The desire still bums deep. The inner struggle to express continues.
I want to be an Odissi dancer. A Chhau dancer. A Modern dancer. Just a dancer.
I am the dancer. I am the dance.
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