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Diving within with dance

What is it exactly that you feel when you dance? Someone asked me recently after a short performance I gave to a close group of 70-odd women in a casual outdoor setting. I searched for a simple answer that could make sense to an absolute non-dancer. Joy. Happiness. A sense of bliss. But that would be to over-simplify a feeling that rarely can be put to words. Any form of dancing can be joyful. Any movements, even out-of-rhythm can be expressing happiness. Add technique to it and it may seem a better version.

The dances from India, which we commonly called “classical dances” are much beyond that. Much beyond technique, disciple and art. Much beyond an expression of happiness, or any other human emotion. These dances are a means of connecting us to our deep, unheard, inner selves. Indian classical dances are mediums of meditation in themselves. Being a meditator from an early age, I found a natural inclination and connection with dance when I took to learning Kathak at 26 years of age.

Not being much of a “rituals” person, the dance soon became that ritual, the prayer that I offered to that formless, with-in and with-out Me. And that perhaps, has remained with me through my journey with dance.

This ancient Vedic knowledge of the Indian arts have the potential to not just broaden our understanding of our inner selves but also to equip us to better handle life’s situations. As we dance, we open our physiologies to the higher values of compassion, tolerance, perseverance, inclusivity and love. It is with this experience that I continue to share all the joy that comes from following the practice of dance with whoever has been willing to explore this dimension.

And it may take me a hundred more years to answer this very simple question: what is it exactly that I feel when I dance. But as I dance today, I feel connected, within and without.

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