When I was around 14, my sister was taking dance classes at a local Bollywood dance studio. I can't remember why, but I asked my mom if I could take dance classes too and she was shocked at first because she never thought I would ever do anything performance related. I was a pretty shy kid. So I joined the class and for the first month or two was very awkward and tight and reserved with my movements. I performed at my 8th grade talent show with a friend and I think, even though in retrospect it was not very good at all, that first on stage performance was what made me want to keep dancing. Hearing people applaud for movement you have created with your body, or anything at all that you have created actually, is one of the best feelings I've ever felt. My first year of learning dance, my parents always told me that I was very stiff, that I was too focused on getting the steps right as opposed to having fun and looking like I was enjoying myself. I was enjoying myself though, but it clearly didn't come through at the time. But I kept dancing and I kept improving, and I kept loving the way my body could move. I remember those few years that I did dance in high school when everywhere I went, my feet would always be moving. I wouldn't just stand in the kitchen or sit idly, I would spin and twirl and jump around everywhere. I remember when I had to switch teachers and we thought that her dance moves were too provocative; in retrospect, they were just body rolls and shimmies, an essential part of our routines in college (lol). I remember my sister getting mad because I became a better dancer than her in a shorter amount of time. Dance is the last thing that anyone in my family, including me, thought I would ever do, but here I am, years later, on Duke's Indian fusion dance team, not being able to imagine my life without it. 

Performing at Dance Council Showcase on Thursday was probably the most rewarding performance I've done in my life. First, because the amount of applause that we got surpassed any amount of applause I've ever gotten for a performance, and applause and excitement of the audience is energy that performers feed off of essentially. Hearing people cheer that loudly, the lights hitting your face, unable to see anything but a blur of clapping hands, it was such an amazing feeling. Second, because this performance was primarily for freshmen and so many freshmen came up to me and to the whole team afterwards and told us that they loved our performance and definitely would be trying out for the team. That we were able to inspire and convince people to try out just by the way that we moved together as a team is the most rewarding thing I could ask for. I dance because feeling my body create meaning with my movements and follow the beats of the music takes me to a world where I don't have to worry about anything but creating muscle memory and enjoying myself.

I can't wait for tryouts. 

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2 Responses so far.

  1. Well, I had a reason to get mad. I started learning before you and suddenly you became and expert and I am still working my best and being "tight and reserved" here. :( not fair.

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