Bharatanatyam is an Indian classical dance form that originated in Tamil Nadu. It is one of eight Indian classical dance forms recognized by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, and expresses South Indian religious themes and spiritual ideas, particularly of Shaivism and in general of Hinduism.
I started dancing when I was five years old. Dance was not my primary emphasis at the time because I was also learning art, music, and other languages. But I ultimately lost interest in music, and later, due to moving to higher grades, I also lost interest in art. My primary concentration was solely on dance, which helped me realise and value my passion for it. Now, I am 13-years-old and am still learning Bharatanatyam.
My beginning in dance wasn’t just with Bharatanatyam; I began with hip-hop dance but felt it wasn’t meant for me. So I decided to try my hands at Bharatanatyam. I never knew I would love it so much. It was my mom who motivated me to learn the dance form.
My first class of Bharatanatyam was at the institute near my house. In the beginning, everything was fine, and the teacher was teaching well, but later, there was a different teacher who wasn’t kind to us. I didn’t find it comfortable, so I left them and joined classes that were going on in my apartment. One teacher used to come to my apartment to teach a few kids, but I found the pace of learning a bit slow, so after two years, I left her classes.
Next, I met a new teacher. It was the shortest learning experience I’ve had. I had started finding my place and passion, and everything went well during the first two months. Then we went to our native place and there was no internet, I missed those classes. Soon came Covid and I was stuck in my native for quite a long time.
Involuntarily, I had to take a break from dancing for a year and a half. But I fought against all odds, resumed my journey, and restarted my dance classes at age 12 with my new teacher. Eventually, I passed two beginner level exams and will pass another one this year that will take me to the next level. I am in awe of my teacher. I wish I had found her earlier; then I would have completed the beginner and intermediate levels by now and would be at the advanced level.
In my journey to learn Bharatanatyam, I have encountered many hurdles, not only in finding a good teacher, but also in the people around me. In the beginning of my learning, my grandparents used to ask my mother to stop sending me to classes because they did not like it. That was the main reason my mother sent me to Bharatanatyam classes, because it was her unfulfilled dream to become a classical dancer, and she could not make it happen because her parents did not support her. Since then, she made sure that her daughter does not suffer the same fate.
Until today, I have given 5–6 stage performances and will be giving many more in the future as well. In the beginning, I used to feel nervous while performing, but now I am so used to it that I can do it at any moment.
I truly believe that one can only achieve perfection with hard work and practice. So never give up something you love; always try until you succeed, because a person can only fail when they stop trying.