I suppose I am a bit late in posting this post. The World Dance Day has come and gone. 29th February is indeed a special day as it celebrates the joy of dance.As it is dance makes us celebrate joy everyday.
I should know this fact, given that I started dancing at the age of six. Some of my friends started at the age of two. As a kid I would jump on the roads while walking, sway my body like a belle, try to copy Bollywood steps. It was my greatest joy when my parents let me learn Odissi first, and then Bharatnatyam after we shifted our residence. I had the privelage to learn dance under the tutelage of the great dancer Mamata Shankar at Udayan for five years. So I would say I have the experience of performing three out of many Indian classical dance forms namely Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri. I am also familiar with Kathak though I have never received training in it.
After a long experience of learning different dance forms I have gathered what makes dance so unique as an art form.
First of all, dance is ubiquitous. Anybody Can Dance. At least some dance forms are easily performed after some practice. On the other hand, it takes many years of practice to master classicals, hip-hop, ballet, etc.
Second, dance lets us work as a team. The coordination of movement in a group dance is not an easy achievement. It takes days of practice, understanding on part of team members and a great amount of trust on each other to achieve near perfection.
Third, dance combines different art forms. It combines music, dramatic elements and also sometimes paintings to tell a story. Often a dance performance contains a message.
Fourth, dance is a great way to express emotions. We dance to express joy (often Bhangra), overcome sadness, vent anger(a technique used by Lord Shiva aka Natraj himself),etc. We dance at festivals. We even use dance as a way to connect to God.Fifth, it is a great way to burn calories or at least to keep ourselves fit and flexible. I personally try to achieve fitness using aerobics. Many like to Zumba. Others use exercises from classical dances to increase flexibility. It is indeed a very effective method.
Sixth, as stated by one of my friend,”Dance gives us the sensation of flying” Indeed we sometimes feel weightless while dancing. It takes us out of the realm of reality.
I hope you enjoy dancing as much as I do. Give flight to your soul.