Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance
What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?
Dance has always been a major part of my life. Even as I am sitting here writing his post I am dancing to Shake Senora Pitbull Ft. Sean Paul & T-Pain.
All of my toddler home videos are filled with me dancing in my pajamas, dancing around the carpet, and walking up to my dad dragging him into the living room to dance with me. I like to say that I’ve been dancing since before I was able to walk, which I attribute as the reason why I walk funny and don’t pick up my feet when I walk.
Perhaps my earliest memory of dance was doing Indian classical dance, Bharatanatyam, when I was 7 years old. Since I was 21 days old, I would be in the back of my sister’s classroom, watching her grace the dance floor with her beautiful moves. I knew at a very early age that all I ever wanted to do was dance. I would beg her guru every chance I got to take me as her student, but I was always too young.
Until the magic day that I wasn’t. I was 7 years old and finally had something in common with my sister. I remember performing on stage to what looked to the little me an audience of 10,000 people. I wasn’t nervous at all. I had been practicing for a year for this and I couldn’t wait to show off my dance moves. I remember being in the front row and loving the spotlight. I felt that I had found my calling, dance was from then on my everything.
I moved quickly through Bharatanatyam, moving ahead into classes of age groups that were older than me. I was always significantly younger than those in my class. I made many best friends as I moved along, and leaving most of them behind. I had moved so quickly and was sure to finish at a young age. Many even said the youngest person to finish that they’d known.
I didn’t grow up in the richest family. I had overheard my parents talk a lot about pulling me out of dance class. At such a young age, I didn’t understand our financial situation or even the concept of earning and spending money. I begged my parents year after year to keep me in classes I now know they couldn’t afford. They obliged and I should have been more grateful.
Then came the day when I turned 13 and we had to move to another state, which meant dance class was now an hour away. I had to leave my guru behind, and with it, Bharatanatyam. That was one of the saddest days of my life.
6 years later, once I was old enough to drive, I wanted to go back to dance. It had then become a competitive program, but my guru believed in me, so she gave me private dance lessons. That meant waking up at 6am and driving over an hour away, but I didn’t care. I was excited to go back to dance again.
I danced my heart out, practicing every single day. I quickly remembered everything I had learned before, learning more advanced dances. My guru put me back into group classes again. I was the shining student always asked to set an example for all of the other students.
But this was short lived. I eventually moved far away to go to college. I wanted to find another guru around me, but it was no use. Al bharatanatyam gurus were different and I would never be happy with another one.
I hope that one day I can find dance again, learn from my guru again, and rekindle my passion for Bharanatyam.
Until that day, I’ll just have to settle for Pitbull and dancing around my living room with my dad.
Cheers to never letting go of your dreams.