My Guru gave me yet another opportunity to perform on two more stages in the span of a week ( Bharathanatyam recitals) as a part of our Dance school troupe. That makes it the eighth stage performance in the last one year! I find it hard to believe.
I enjoyed every moment.
I enjoyed the company of the young girls- young enough to be my daughters and yet they did not make me feel my age. I enjoyed the camaraderie, the light hearted banter- the leg pulling- though I was more of the amused, indulgent spectator. The friendly orchestra members, the family atmosphere.
I enjoyed the travel to the venues in a spacious van – with a movie playing which I watched intermittently with half open eyes and gave me a headache further on. I enjoyed the eating together in a small, clean abandoned wayside temple premises which we left even cleaner. I enjoyed the make up sessions, the mutual helping with the cumbersome costumes, the laughter, the giggles, the excitement coupled with nervousness as we waited backstage for our turn. The clasping of hands and praying together with closed eyes before the programme commenced, the amused stares of the people around and finally the Magic while on stage.
I enjoyed the trepidation in my heart, the glare of the lights, the feel of the stage below my feet, the sound of the ringing applause, the presenting of mementos, the clicking of photos.
I enjoyed the words of reassurance that my Guru spoke after each item, the thrill of achievement as a team …I enjoyed the scramble to unfasten the millions of pins and threads from the hair, the removal of layers of make up- the hurried dress change, and then finally the voracious attack at dinner packets. And finally the tired, yet relaxed homeward journey through the night as some of us slept and others talked. I savoured the mutual playful raillery of mistakes made, all of us fatigued and yet happy.
The two stages were as different as could be in every way- while one was so small that we were a crowd on it. It was a rickety one with criss cross beams covered by heavy mats- and we could feel gaping holes beneath our feet- my Guru was so worried that one of us would fall through the holes that we practically tiptoed gingerly through our steps. Here, there were a couple more stages close by with other performances going on simultaneously and as a result our musicians had a tough time playing by shruthi, making themselves heard- we mostly danced by a sense of feel and memory rather than actually hearing the music to which we were playing. Nothing could be done about it though because it was festival time! A new learning experience!
The next stage was so sprawling that we looked like ants on a football field! We danced (ran) across the length and the breadth of the yawning space called the stage. Here, however the sound system, the organising everything was perfect and we reigned over the arena. Another experience.
DH picks me up early next morning from my Guru’s place and I sleepily recount to him about how the programmes went, on the drive back home. Once home, I look for my sons-talk gibberish - they ask me questions which I answer hardly knowing what I’m saying. I then have a bath and then hit the bed and then it’s the proverbial log.
DH cooks breakfast and lunch, the boys help him. (Thankfully both the times it was Sunday after the programmes being on Saturday). I’m woken up at Breakfast and then lunch time and though I protest and plead that I want no food- only sleep- I’m literally dragged to the dining table and made to eat. I go back to slumber land again- and by early evening I’m more coherent and sensible.
One thing I realise though is that now at this age, while I’m dancing I’m too conscious about not forgetting my steps or missing my cue and so sometimes I miss out on enjoying letting go and to just emote - the technical nuances requires me to be so totally alert that I 'm not able to indulge in my passion for expression. I suppose it must be due to my age.
The Alta (red dye used to adorn the feet and hands ) on my palms and feet have almost faded but the memories of the experience will remain forever- and for that I’ve lots of people to thank for- My guru of course, the young girls with whom I learn, and who help me out…my most supportive and encouraging DH, my sons…and everybody else in my family …and The Almighty.