I remember feeling excited and nervous, earnest and apprehensive hesitant and confident all at the same time as I entered Kalari Institute of performing arts, the venue of Nritarutya’s dance class for the very first time. As I entered the hall, I was genuinely surprised to be greeted by the sight of a jolly bunch of people in tracks laughing their head of at….. Well, I never found out what! I’d expected to see a grim gathering of austere people rehearsing their steps showing no signs of wanting to commune with a new addition to their passionate species. Well that was exactly what didn’t happen. Everybody in the room called out in excitement and greeted with: ‘hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii’ and: ‘are you neeew???’
Just then, as I was starting to repudiate my hasty judgment on the place the smart trainer in sleeveless and tracks walked in and said “UP! now I am going to try very hard to kill all of you” if it wouldn’t have been for that ever so friendly smile on his face after the dark statement, who knows, I might have run out of the place at record speed. And the class started, we warmed up, learnt a new sequence, practiced it, warmed down and wrapped up.
An hour up….sigh… already?
It was either that the universe conspired against me and on that day was just set to prove me wrong on every way OR I got so engrossed in the magic of that place, the grace of a pointed toe, the strength of a Kalari kick, the perfection embodied in a plie, the ocean of theory behind the movement of every single muscle that I never stopped to notice that I had finally made one of the better decisions in my life.
Nritarutya’s classes provide a forum to the earnest learner of dance to discover his talent and a platform to bond with the ever elusive right techniques and information. Basically, one is sculpted, his movement refined, his knowledge on the subject rarefied and his entity poised to enter that magnanimous world called the stage.
Each class with a few rare exceptions, (where we take time out to have fun but with dance and exercise of course) begins with a warm up, several warm ups actually! These are the kind that push one’s physical endurance beyond his maximum limit, and that’s the only way to grow, says Vishwa, our trainer. but the really scary part is when Vishwa’s in the right mood to put us all through an extra dose of extra toughened extrovert exercises to give us that extra edge.(forgive me for my love of alliterations!) well, everything will go ok as long as, we all think to ourselves…. come on we can do it! Push a little harder, try a little more, kick a little higher (higher than your neighbor at least!) but the real effect of Vishwa’s foresighted spell unfolds on the next day when the strenuous session takes its toll on the body inlump sum! But these are designed to condition the body to administer spectacular moves when demanded and to adhere to the understanding of the working of one’s body and the co ordination of the body and the mind.
Well, that takes a major part of the class as it is, but we still manage to learn a few well crafted and strategic steps in the form of sequences tabulated into bars of 8. Skill, precision, control, concentration, strength, stamina, clarity, perfection and a lot more goes into the understanding and execution of every step so you can’t help but call it strategic. Every class, the previous sequence is carried on by adding dimensions, creating spatial beauty, embodying the rhythm of the movement and music, texturing the strata of the steps, adding various parallels to the movement by imbibing an element of thought based dance.
All this in the short span of an hour which at the same time seems like an era and a indefinite moment, which is the way it should be perceived by an ardent lover and student of dance. A quick note on the styles of the various teachers we had till date, all of them have their own individuality in the same plane of our concentric syllabus, it’s like all of them represent parallel congeniality… whatever that means!
Madhuri’s warm ups are very deceptive as they are the classic case of wrong perception, to feel and look at, her movements seem light and easy but once she’s got you in the position she wants,she can snareyou with a quick “put your heel on the floor” or something of the sort, her exercises are designed to condition the body and demand long term dedication from the performer, her sequences have been based on the lines of yoga, kathak and pure energy incorporated with the beautiful control of the movement.
Sathya’s steps are simple and geometric, but simple is not equal to easy… no that would not be true of the fitness expert of Nritarutya .Would it? His depiction of the movement is artistically and scientifically justified to the needs of a dancer’s muscle network, he wipes out fatigue as if they were Jews and he was Hitler. Ok bad example!
Vishwa’s class somehow resembles a human anatomy class with all the information about our bodies and muscles being provided! Vishwa’s warm ups and choreography tend to have elements of martial art in them, be it kick boxing or Kalaripayattu. His steps also makes the body host a plethora of classical movements, sometimes without the knowledge of the dancer himself. He’s like a walking talking nritarutya.com!!
Nritarutya’s dance classes symbolize a torch of realization to the wandering dancer who is yet unenlightened about the……blah blah blah….in simpler and I am sure, in better accepted words, these dance classes rock and are a must to dance lovers and to those who want to make dance an integral part of who they are. (Try not to hit me with shoes and tomatoes)