A Story Of Dance
Since I haven’t written a story for a hot minute now, here’s a personal one you didn’t ask for.
My earliest memories of dance dates back to when I was three, enrolled in my first ever dance class, my Bharatanatyam classes (An Indian classical dance form). I don’t have fond memories from it because a few classes in, I was hit on the head with the edge of a wooden ruler because my plump self couldn’t squat low enough for that devil of a teacher who refused to excuse the extra cushioning of love on my thighs.
The dance pose is called ‘Muzhumandalam’.
When showing the above picture to my parents and recounting what had happened in that class, I learned that we weren’t visiting memories together. I was the only one visiting that particular memory. My parents had no idea that it had happened. *dun dun dun dunnnn* I had never told them because…..
My sister was pulled out of classes immediately because she didn’t like it and she complained of her feet hurting. If I had told them I was hit on the head with a ruler, I’d have been pulled out too, without a second’s thought and the picture you just saw now would’ve never happened. (But look where we are.)
Dance and writing are two of the few things I’m extremely passionate about. They stand on a slightly higher pedestal compared to the other things I like to keep myself occupied with. However, they don’t stand together.
Writing to me although a form of escape can tend to sap the energy out of me because my reading self demands perfection out of it. Up until recently, my own writing would rob me of the experience and tire me because I had to fit a perfect story into each piece. I would visit each line and revisit it to make it impactful. I had to make fun ‘perfect’ and that was just the stupidest thing I was letting myself believe.
Coming to dance, it’s always been quite the opposite. Dance stands as my actual escape even though writing is drawing close. I’ve been dancing since before I can remember. It defines what a break from reality means to me and I’ve never stressed on it’s perfection because to me, it flows as easy as water.
Dance is associated with my first ever achievement of owning a Walkman. I was asked to earn it through academics because Indian parents. The only thing that drove me to score the marks I needed was the fact that I was borrowing my father’s system EVERY TIME I wanted to dance and it was limiting my dancing time. I soon realized that owning a device that was my own would resolve that limitation.
Over time I realized I didn’t need music to dance. I needed a rhythm that my body found even without music notes. I’d be dancing the same routine for close to six hours. I’d dance till I’d have blisters and those blisters popped. And then I’d bandage them, pull on thick cotton socks and dance some more. I’d plaster whole balls of cotton onto my toes and dance some more. I blister a lot more because added to my other great physical qualities, I’m flat footed so yay for that.
*plays sad music*
I was used to stages when I was little and I remember loving them. That was until I stopped loving them (Huh?) Stages, audiences and blinding lights soon became details of terrible nightmares. I struggled with battles with myself, not related to dance, which somehow found it’s way to affect how I felt about dance.
I started drawing parallels to stage fear and dance which was the worst thing I let myself accept. I associated the feeling of getting off stage, completely unhappy with the way I’d performed knowing full well that wasn’t the best I was capable of, with how I felt about dance. I was nervous and scared and nauseous.
While it was a fear of something else that brought those feelings, I was reminded of it when dancing. And so, I stopped. I resented it because in my head, I was only as good as what I was on stage- a scared, stiff, dead ‘dancer’.
To fight off the frustration that dance gave me, *drum rolls* I danced.
That wasn’t too hard to guess because if you paid attention, you’d have know that it’s wired in me to find that escape route every time.
This time, I was back in a room by myself, angry and thoroughly done feeling beat. I had found the rhythm I had kept boxed.
I didn’t remember what it felt like to get off the last stage I got off. I didn’t remember the camera that flashed in between the last routine I’d danced in front of an audience. I remembered nothing of what it felt like to be on stage. I’d cut the connection.
I absolutely hate stages. I thought each stage would be different but after getting off each of them, the bubble of fear only grew. It’s going to take a while to combat the real issue at hand but while I do that, the easiest thing for it to prey on is dance. Having lost that before, I don’t intend on consciously feeding that passion to something bigger than it at the moment.
Through the experience of letting myself almost hate dance, I realized that the best things about yourself can be the first things to crumble and fall. If you think you’re good, you’re good, regardless of someone not telling you that or someone telling you the opposite of it. Having something you pour your heart and soul into is more protection to your being than you realize. So, do whatever it takes to keep that.
Which is why, I’m dancing to my grave. *mic drop*
Thanks for reading 🙂
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