As Maa always narrates, I started grooving to music way before I started walking….
My dance journey began with me dancing away all day, in every space, to any music, in any circumstance, to express any emotion. Maa and Baba soon knew that my dancing needed some formal channelling and hence my first dance form was Kathak and Rabindranritya, which I started learning at 4 years of age under my guru Molly Das. Initially the child in me did not enjoy it much, as it had a lot of disciplining and rules to abide to, like any other classical dance form. Eventually as I mingled more in class, I started enjoying the class and also the dance form.
Alongside the classes, I started performing in the annual shows and gave a few Kathak/ Rabindranritya exams. I learned the same for around 7 years and by then I had reached the higher grades in school, which took away most of my time. Though, I never needed to squeeze out time for dancing because I was dancing away through all my academic years, in interschool/college competitions, annual days, dance shows and of course my favourite place, in front of the mirror. It was now that, my craving to learn more, inquisitiveness and exposure to other dance forms started leading me to Latin styles.
This was absolutely out of my comfort zone initially because I was a complete tom boy throughout my school life and the only equation I shared with the boys was thinking of them as potential enemies or ones who had to be outwitted all the time. After that, these dance styles seemed like a huge leap. I started challenging myself to learn Salsa, Jive and Bachata under Elizabeth Pareira and Darren Das. It brought out an altogether different side to me and my dancing. I enjoyed dancing now to a whole new level and got a major confidence boost.
Life so far was being too ideal and eventually I dealt with one blow after the other. One of side effects being, I put on a lot of weight in a short span of time. My new found confidence started taking a major dip.
Ta-daa! There were body image issues saying a big HELLO to me. As usual ‘Dancing’ always got my back. This time I evolved through Belly Dance. And- as a prelude here, there was no stopping.
What followed was…
Body positivity check
New found confidence check
Self love check
…. And this was just the beginning.
I was completely immersed in this dance form which helped me learn, express , practice, understand, create and improvise much more than before. It felt so fluid and natural. I believed it would be my driving force through all odds.
Soon I chose to quit my masters and eventually my job.It felt as if everything had aligned, bringing me closer to my calling.Here I need to mention that the ‘wind below my wings’ , were my three pillars – Maa, Baba and my life partner.
Now its been seven years of being a belly dance student to Raksha Kumar and Payal Gupta( current trainer) and three years as a dance trainer and two years as a bellydance instructor.
I can’t deny that this ride came with its own share of struggles, compromises and retaliation….
I guess it was my dedication and love for the ‘Art of Movement’ that helped me rise above all of this.
We must all remember the journey and respect the positives because the roadblocks make us stronger and rest of it is just preparing us for the bigger picture.