Friday, May 16, 2008
I am so thrilled! My daughter has started her Bharatanatyam classes!
When a daughter was born to us, my friends said..'Good... you can teach her dance AND music'. I have learnt South Indian classical dance forms for almost 15 years and done quite a bit of dancing in school and college and my husband is a very talented singer and even now a key bhajan singer at Sai bhajans. Our friends were quite convinced that our daughter will be a singer AND a dancer. But we were not so sure! We knew that each of us contributed only half of the chromosomes...and remembered what we were taught in school about dominant and recessive genes... what if she sang like me and danced like him!!!! Oh! The horror of it!!! So we used to give a sheepish smile to our enthusiastic friends and subtly change the topic!!!
As she grew older, we were able to make out that she has some talent for singing. My husband, who is the severest critic when it comes to music and singing, admitted that she seems to sing well with the right notes and all that. It is indeed high praise coming from him! If I happen to hum a song while doing my cooking or in the bathroom, he starts screaming 'Shruti! Shruti!!!'....making the listeners think that maybe he suddenly forgot his wife's name and remembered an ex-girlfriend... nooo... it's just that I'm singing all the wrong notes... ('shruti' means 'pitch/tone' )
I was relieved! Singing is the one thing I wish with all my heart I could do. So I was thrilled that my daughter has not got my singing chromosomes!!! Forget about dance... I can teach her music.. and who knows, when she grows old enough she might even win us an apartment or two worth crores of rupees in some musical reality show!!!
So I was busy looking out for some good music teacher and was not able to find any in Dubai. Oh, how I regret leaving Singara Chennai, the heaven for classical arts and artists!!!
And then one day, my daughter tells me that she wants to learn Bharatanatyam. She has a few friends learning it and has also watched on with interest when I get into one of my dancing moods and practice at home. But I was not so sure... unlike music, you really cannot make out the talent for dance until you start learning and performing. But still I made a half-hearted attempt at searching for a good dance teacher. I'm quite a critic when it comes to dance as well. My regret at leaving Chennai surfaced again... I used to live in Adyar...within kilometers from the greats like Padma Subrahmaniam, Dhananjayans and the famous Kalakshetra itself!
But two weeks back, luckily, I came across a good teacher and was even able to watch her perform on stage before my daughter started her classes. So finally, last week, my daughter went for her first dance class! It was so nostalgic to watch her give the 'dakshina' to the teacher and start her first steps...
From the looks of it, she is enjoying the classes and learning quite fast.... and even teaching the younger kid next door who is also going with her to the class... It's touching when she takes my advice on dance seriously and tells me...'Amma, even though my legs hurt a little, I still danced like you said I should'...or...'Today I watched the big kids and learnt some new steps...like you used to do when you were small'.
I don't like the idea of parents forcing their children to do the things they love to do (or could not do)... but I'm really glad that she would get to experience the beauty and grace of Indian classical dance.