Choosing a Venue

​This is a hard decision to make. Honestly. 

Here’s a list I considered:
– the size of the stage
– the size of the auditorium
– any special features
– how lighting looks
– how sound is
– the audience experience: is the audience below the stage, or is it at an arch, looking down on the stage?
– how far away is it?

When I decided on my venue, I was initially between Granville Arts, Irving Arts and Majestic Theater. Each had such amazing features! But I ended up choosing Irving primarily because it had a hydraulic pit – meaning a grand entrance. I also got the perfect stage and auditorium size, and the audience experience was also pretty awesome. In fact, when I visited, I actually sat down in the extreme side, side, and middle seat of every few rows, to make sure that the audience experience was what I wanted.
It was probably the farthest location, but for me, that wasn’t too high on my priority list. All that mattered was the show itself. Let’s just say I’ve never really been a stickler for convenience.

So that was how I chose Irving Arts! I hope you enjoyed, and see you next week! 🙂

The top 6 friends of the Arangetram student

​1. Extra makeup, extra jewelry, extra bells, extra hairpins extra safety pins, extra hair pieces – you know, extra EVERYTHING. You never know when you might need it. 

2. A big bottle of your favorite Gatorade in a convenient bottle, with a highly necessary straw. Although I never drank Gatorade during my practice sessions to help with stamina, I did have it backstage during my dress rehearsal and my arangetram.
3. A balanced diet of fruits and veggies (and meats is you’re not vegetarian or vegan)
4. Enough rest. Or you’ll knock yourself out during practice.
5. Lots of family and friends to support you throughout your performance, backstage and during your tough practices. It just really helps.
6. An “I believe in myself attitude!”

I promise, #6 will always be your bestie!

Using the stage

​Hi Everyone!

Today I thought I’d discuss one of the biggest struggles of a solo dancer – using the stage.

In order for a performance to be visually appeasing, there must be variety in movement. And that doesn’t just mean the dance moves, but also positioning.

One of the best ways to be interesting is to move a lot. There are certain steps in Bharatanatyam which sort of force you to leave one spot. Take advantage of those steps and make them bigger, so you scale more of the stage.

One thing I really made myself do was before a performance, if I knew where I’d be performing, I’d mentally mark where I wanted to be for certain parts. For example, during one of the most tense scenes of my Varnam, I knew that I wanted to be towards the apron the stage, because that was a point that I otherwise never reached until that scene in the Varnam, and so it emphasized the importance of that scene. Additionally, it worked out really well because this was the scene where Queen Kaikeyi is convinced by Mantra to exile Ram. Thus within the next couple scenes, it was much easier to establish the characters from the kingdom on the right side of the stage, where I had set up Queen Kaikeyi, Mantra and later (although much further back) King Dashrath, and the characters in the forest on the left side.

And one last note: in order to be able to cover a lot of stage, although it may seem otherwise, you actually don’t need a lot of space to practice. It definitely does help to have a lot of space, but for me I used to practice in my living room, and once a week at my teacher’s studio, which was still not as big as the Irving Arts Center stage. But mental marking in the studio, at the temple during our performances there, and on the real stage, along with enlarging steps with some movement made a big difference.

I hope this helps ya’ll out a bit. See you next week!

My first private class 

​Hi Everyone!

So as I wondered what in the world could possibly be interesting enough to share this week, I took a slight detour into memory lane. From there I thought I might share the details of my first ever private class in preparation for my arangetram.

So there I was: nervous, a bit rusty and after the school day, kind of tired. 
I remember this class being extremely  intense and tiring. We reviewed all the adavus and basically spent an hour going through them over and over at differing speeds. My legs were trembling pretty badly at the end, and I literally felt like I was made of jelly! It was quite the experience.

But what can I say? Looking back on it, it’s definitely made me stronger, and it’s made my adavus neater too. Big takeaway: practice your adavus! Seriously works like magic.

Anyway, I hope this brief anecdote was interesting and perhaps even amusing! It’s been a pleasure to share my dance stories!

We shall meet again next week!

9 things the arangetram process has taught me

​Hi Everyone! I thought I’d keep it simple this week. Instead of writing paragraphs upon paragraphs on my advice and experiences, I thought I’d just share the 9 things that the arangetram process has taught me:

1. Time management
2. Perseverance
3. Passion is more important than technique
4. Patience
5. Importance of organization
6. Improvisation and making the best of what I have
7. There is such a thing as trying too hard
8. What matters the most in the end is the dance. Not the decor, not the stage design, not the props and backdrops, not the lobby – nothing but your dance.
9. Life requires you to leave your bubble, and it’s a good thing. I had to really step out of my shell and work with the people in my community in order to figure out how to manage much of the planning and to understand what many things meant.

Well these are the biggest lessons I learned on my journey! I hope it helps those of you out there! Love you guys and see you next week!