What Dancing Means to Me
From the age of four, I have been learning the renowned art form of the Indian Classical dance style, Bharatnatyam. At first I did not realize the value it would have in my life, but today, I could not be more grateful that my parents enrolled me in the Vedanta Dance Academy at such a young age. Just like most young dancers, and most children in general, I was clumsy and lacked the grace dancers need to execute a successful performance. However, I persevered and eventually that phase passed. I continued learning dance throughout the years and it was always my favorite outlet. It seemed that when everything else was continuously changing in my life, dance was my constant, my haven, and my passion.
At the age of thirteen I was finally ready to give my solo graduation dance performance, known as an Arangetram, which is a three hour long dance debut in which a dancer gives his/her graduation performance that not only marks the end of the amateur phase, but also marks the beginning of a whole new journey filled with opportunities to perform as a certified “expert”. In order to prepare for this tedious, but definitely fulfilling event, I was required to practice a minimum of five hours a day for two months to improve my dexterity in dance. Over time, I was able to build up my endurance, grace, and technique to cumulatively create synergy and ultimately perform with utmost elegance and precision. Performing evoked a feeling unlike any other and it was one of those indescribable moments when I truly felt like there was no one else in the world and reality was composed of just the dance floor and me.
Aside from the performances, dance has also given me many other benefits. It has allowed me to make life-long friends and memories that I will forever cherish and it has taught me to be disciplined, respectful, and passionate. Furthermore, dance has ensured that I never forget where I came from. As Bharatnatyam originates in India, this art form in particular helps connect me to my roots. From the age of five I have been dancing in cultural shows held at our local temple with styles ranging from Bollywood fusion to Bharatnatyam and those shows hold some of my best memories.
I hope that my dance memories continue as I proceed on my dance journey here at Penn State. I have joined two dance teams here at college as my method of decompression. I have joined the Indian Classical team called Penn Natya and the Bollywood fusion team called JaDhoom, both of which compete with other collegiate dance teams across the country. In the midst of all the chaos that comes with college life, dance serves as my stress reliever so joining these dance teams will definitely serve as my nonacademic getaway. Dancing allows me to take a break from reality and get lost in the music as my thoughts drift away into nothing but happiness.