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Why I Dance - By: Kashmeena Mangal

Dance is the hidden language of the soul- Maratha Graham.

Why do I love to dance? A simple question yet with a very complicated answer. I cherish dancing as it allows for freedom of agility, expression, and design in the physical sense. It can be cumbersome or very straightforward. This activity can showcase anger or happiness, or even pain. Dance empowers a woman’s beauty through makeup and costumes. The red rosy petaled lips, the bold dark outlined eyes, to the shimmering face. The flashing and bright colours of the dress to the intricate jewelry and white-flowered bun. It makes me feel like a Bharat (Indian) princess from the 1600s or even an Apsara, a dancer from Indra’s heavens. Dance gives me the pride of being a woman and the grace of movement; I also love dance as it has helped me through many difficult stages throughout my life. When I moved schools or when I felt lonely, it was always there for me. Even today, when I feel intense academic pressure, dance allows me to feel lighter and happier. To forget all my worries about all those exams and demanding and utterly frustrating project deadlines.

I have had two main inspirations for dance: Hinduism and the Bollywood film industry. When I saw Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai’s Dola Re Dola in Devdas, I was captivated by the piece’s flawlessness. From the rich and ostentatious costumes to the swift and specific movements, it left me speechless. I began to wonder if I could be like that. Is it possible for me to transform into such a dancing queen? Hailing from a religious family, I cannot lie by saying that no inspiration came from there. Radha-Krishna’s rasleela was a massive influence on me personally. As a child, I watched other dance groups and listened to infinite kathas about this dance of love, and I wanted to experience that. Even the dance of Shiva and Shakti creating the universe amazed me. It inspired me that dance can be the birth and rebirth of not only stories but myself. The dance of Mahakali also encouraged me that dance is not only about the graceful times. Dance can be vigorous and discordant but still entertaining.

I have enjoyed the most within dance because its ability is for my inner self to be a book for the audience to read. I can express my devotion to my religion, such as Lord Krishna’s dance on kaliya that we learned in class. My feelings of distress, anger, happiness, etc. There are no necessary words.

To be able to communicate on a deeper level. To show my secret language of my soul is why I dance.

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