Last Saturday I got the opportunity to perform my first Kathak Solo at a fundraiser event, ‘from Brahmaputra to Mississippi’. The proceeds would benefit women and children living much below poverty line in the northeastern state of India, Assam through providing support to two support groups; one that mainly deals with providing training and education to the weaver community by reviving the skills that were in practice for several centuries. The other organization helps through providing education and trying to prevent child labor, especially for young girls who are often shipped away to bigger cities to serve as household helps.
Before I share more about my dance experience, I want to digress from the topic a little bit. This opportunity to be able to perform a solo was a lucky break for me since I know I am not one of the best dancers that the school has and I am not saying that because I suffer from any low self-esteem but because I know where my practice stands and I am realistic. It took a lot of courage to except this opportunity and I gave it my best but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it came my way first and I played a secondary role in making it happen. I could have done everything I did and had the opportunity not presented itself, I couldn’t have turned it into anything. It’s a fact and I am driving at a point here… I know I am blessed; for things come my way sometimes even out of turn and I am forever thankful to the universe for making me feel special.
Sometime ago I wrote, ‘Is it possible to be so overwhelmed with the feeling of gratitude that one starts seeking validations for one’s own life…’ in my post Over giver. I guess, the feeling of being so blessed sometime does overwhelm me and wants me to share and give all that I can give, sometimes spreading myself too thin and I need to learn to find a balance but I am indebted and am trying to pay it forward. All that said, don’t think I never wished or dreamed for this opportunity to be able to perform solo.
I did wish that at the beginning of my teenage years standing at the back of the line being the tallest in the class, trying to deal with the awkwardness of my body’s transformations, and hiding it with a stiffness that wasn’t a trait of a dancer, wishing myself into a smaller self just so I could blend in… And I thought someday it would all pass…
But little did I know that it would lead me to something so beautiful as this, a stage just for myself where I wouldn’t have to shrink to fit in stand at the back to hide myself, in fact I can just be myself. This experience would make me more comfortable when I am performing with a group next time as well. It’s hard to imagine the kind of insecurities one can harbor and for so long.
As I was planning to prepare for the day, I did a dress rehearsal and had my daughter record it and I watched what I can do improve and emphasis. I just found out for sure two days before the actual performance so I didn’t get a chance to iron out all my flaws but I did my best within reason. I choose a cotton lehnga because it was so much more comfortable than the silk one and I was happy that I could choose to have my long hair in a braid… Luckily, yep yet again, one of my Kathak classmates was there for a singing performance and could help me with cumbersome pin tucks and eyeliners. Usually getting ready for the performance is my most favorite part but getting ready alone in a bathroom with low lights was not fun at all.
And the other wonderful thing that happened, actually it happened more than a decade ago, that’s my DH (darling husband) came to my rescue yet again and decided to stay for the performance. He is going through a very busy phase himself and our deal was that he’ll take the kids off my hands and take them home but instead he said, “how can I miss the opportunity to take your pictures when there is absolutely no one the stage that you can hide behind”. Hide I did, behind a snobbish and serious face while trying to concentrate on the footwork. I mouthed the ‘tihais’ to ground me and make sure I am not missing the beats and overall it went well. It was a technical piece so it’s tough to say if the audience understood it enough to critique or appreciate it but I am happy that there were no major fiasco and nobody left the auditorium while I was on stage.
I was hoping to keep my narrative for this post very short and focus on the pictures but I got carried away...