I was two years old, according to my mother, when I expressed my excitement and interest in learning Indian classical dance. I had just seen the movie Chandni starring Sri Devi and Rishi Kapoor. The Tandav dance she did in that movie inspired me for many years to come. I was mesmerized by the movement, music, the dancer.
At the age of four, my mother asked a family friend who had a dance school to accept me as a student and teach me. However the school did not accept students under the age six years old.
So I waited...
Finally, after waiting two more years, at the age of six, I joined Tarana Dance school under the tutelage of Mrs. Deviekha Chetram - my very first Guru. The most wonderful years of my life began as I found the thing I was really good at - Dance. I fell in love with Kathak and very early on - merely six years later decided that I wanted this artform to be my career.
Throughout my life dance has been my outlet. I practiced every waking moment as a young person. In high school I would carry my little boombox to school and beg my teachers to let me use the photocopy room over the lunch hour to do my riyaaz. I then found something else I loved: performing. Any chance I got to dance on stage be it large or small I took it. I learned so much with every performance. I quickly realized that I took on a different persona on stage. A shy, quiet girl transformed into a young woman who took command of her stage. Expressive pieces came so easily to me. Classical music is what inspired me to develop my craft.
This is when dance became my therapy. Pushing your body to its physical limits, surrendering your emotional self and being vulnerable to your audience - This is why I dance. Feeling the music as if it were coursing through your veins, filling your being up with each note - This is why I dance. Matching each step, each hand movement, each expression to the music, the lyrics - This is why I dance. The essence of Indian culture, the colors, the sounds - This is why I dance. The emotion, the submission, the immersion - This is why I dance.
To dance is to live...
...This is why I dance