Dancing To My Tune

Choreography is defined as primarily “the sequence of steps and movements in dance”.

If we go strictly by this definition, then yes, I’ve choreographed dances.

I love dance. I love the fact that the human body is so beautifully expressive, that just a flick of the hands or a look in the eyes can convey so much. I tried to learn formal dancing very late in life. I could not take the whirls of Kathak and so stopped even before I could put on ghungroos. Bollywood dancing was very interesting in terms of the different steps, the basic tools that they use, and the interpretation of various gestures. However, it felt rather alien to me, and I could not connect to it as much as I’d have liked to.

So, I am not a trained dancer. When I dance, it looks like I’ve stumbled onto the stage by chance, even though I know all the steps perfectly. I was told this in college once by a classmate, and I was highly offended. However, recently when I saw a dancing video of mine, I realized how accurate that assessment was! However, I am much better at choreographing. I learn steps very quickly, I’m able to break down the dance into palatable little bits, and I think I am able to get a good dance out of an interested group, even if I say so myself! 🙂

When I was a kid, I used to make up steps to popular tunes. I think TV had a huge influence on me. I loved the dance programs on Doordarshan. Some of the dance ballets deeply moved me. I began to weave fantasies about bigger and better productions. In college too, I quite enjoyed choreographing a few dances. I began branching into more abstract dances, trying to translate what I felt when I heard the music into dance. I remember chalking up a rather ambitious dance-drama based on Sleeping Beauty for Chitti Babu’s music on the veena. I choreographed a “Dance of the Waves” for one of his lovely numbers, because that was what I visualized when I heard his music.

All this was laid aside for quite a few years of my life, when career, marriage, and kid took over. The spark glowed again with DD’s interest in dance. Slowly I’ve got into the groove again. Now it’s become an almost regular feature, and I enjoy the challenge of choosing and editing the appropriate song(s), learning and coming up with the steps and expressions, and bringing the dance to shape. Now that DD and her friends are grown, they learn much faster, and I need to keep abreast with all the latest trends. It’s fun and though I’m still quite old-school, I try to keep an open mind.

I’m sure in a couple of years, DD will no longer want to be guided by me and will want to do things her own way. Till then though, I’ll derive great pleasure from making her (and her friends) dance to my tune. They are the Dancing Queens of my life!

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