And thereby hangs a tale…
This in no means is a rip off from Geoffrey Archer’s novel, but I like the name and somehow I feel this experience has one too many stories involved and it is still going on, I think the name suits it.
It all began when I was told I was to take part in a collaborative project with Chitraleka Dance Company from Birmingham, UK and do a full-fledged Bharatnatyam production. After these many years of dancing (I can call myself a fairly versatile dancer) to do a classical inspired dance production, it was beyond my imagination.
Keeping all my fears and doubts aside my colleague Madhuri and I set out on this incredible project.
Well, in three weeks’ time, three pieces were set (Dashavatar-a bharatnatyam based piece from Chitraleka Dance Company and two short pieces from Nritaurtya – Swayam Shivam and Ardhanarishwara). The project was to tour both India (4 shows) and the UK (3 shows), so visas were applied and arrangements made for the big tour. Let me tell you it is no mean feat to set a complete production of 1 ½ hrs in such a short time that too with only 4 dancers, but yet putting in 9 – 10 hours of dancing each day and amidst falling ill and recovering, we did it!! When I heard the applause of our first showcase, there was no end to my happiness, I had done it, I who had very little training in Bharatnatyam managed to pull a 40 minute long sequence in the style.
The India leg of the tour turned out extremely well with our auditoriums being houseful and us receiving rave reviews. I am starting to feel like a classical dancer now!!
After completing our performances in India, we left to Birmingham – our home for the next 24 days while we finish our tour here.
Arrival at Birmingham, our Indian passports ensured that we were queued for more than an hour to clear immigration. While I was prepared to face the very spoken about cold in the city, I still froze when I took my first step into the soils of Birmingham. Whoa! The cold chilled my bones literally.
Braving the extreme cold, Madhuri and me ventured out to see the city a bit (sometimes by ourselves sometimes with a friend) amid having some rehearsal time as well.
Yesterday, our first show, at the Midlands Arts Centre – I was keen to see what the ‘gore’s’ would think of the very traditional, mythological production. What should I say? I was pleasantly surprised at the feedback – our first performance had the auditorium full and the audiences walking up to us with wide grins and claps and ‘wow, that was one great performance’ on their lips!!! What better way to start our tour? 🙂
All the nervousness I felt before the show had vanished and a pride of performing my best and being a good dancer had taken its place. One down two to go – our next performance is at the EDGE Centre, Shropshire on 4th February, hoping it too will go off well.
I am enjoying being in Birmingham and happy that my dance has got me this far – to be able to adapt to any style of dance and carry it with panache, to be able to wow audiences across cultures! I am proud more than ever to be the dancer I am!!