It’s been a while since my last How’s Life? post. I hope everyone is doing well and staying super warm during this freezing time of year!
So far, life has been good. Chilly, but good.
As I hope you do too, I still find an important part of myself drawn to dance classes. Henceforth, we’ve been continuing to follow the path towards our annual day, which is coming up soon. So far I’ve done two productions as a part of the troupe, and it is interesting. One thing I’ve noticed is that in this last year, I’ve had to get used to dancing with a group again and memorizing lots of complex formations – stuff you don’t have to do while learning to perform solo. Both have such different skill sets, that it gets weird having to go back and forth. But it’s still fun, and it makes life exciting.
So that’s how life is …
See you next week!
Well, here we are! 2016 has been many things and it’s probably been the most eventful of all of our lives thus far. It’s definitely been huge for me, especially in terms dance! Once again, I want to thank you all so much for your love and support from the very beginning of 2016 to the very end! You all are the best!
Ergo, farewell 2016 and cheers to a blessed and beautiful 2017!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!
So I recently realized that this blog has really grown a lot more in the last few months, and we are currently at over 1,200,000 views! This is huge deal for me, because it really means a lot to me to know that there are people out there who really enjoy reading what I write and have supported me for so long. To those of you out there, I want to extend my warmest thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thanks a million y’all! This is truly the best Christmas present I could have ever gotten!
I hope all of you have a warm and restful holiday break and a Merry Christmas!
Lots of love,
Hi Everyone! I hope y’all are having a heart warming holiday season thus far and having fun with the holiday shopping!
This post is a little bit different. So as I took to reflecting over my experience with an arangetram, I realized that one of my biggest takeaways was that passion is really more important than technique. Not saying that technique isn’t important – just saying that you can’t let the fire of your passion burn out because you’re too focused on technique.
Story time! One of the most important experiences I had actually didn’t have anything to do with me. It was a case of friendly rivalry. So a couple dancers whom I’d known more or less got into this “I can practice more than you” competition, and although it was just a friendly rivalry about a couple months from their debuts, one of them got some complications with her foot and could not even walk on it for a month. Not kidding, not exaggerating. Seriously. Luckily she got better in time and had a fabulous performance. But in the end, that extra extra practice, to the extent where it hurts and isn’t fun anymore doesn’t do anyone any good.
We all have times when we get hyper focused on things, and seem to suck the fun out of them. And so the biggest thing I want you guys to know is that you have to be true to yourself and keep your balance. Don’t underdo nor overdo. Love what you do and keep it that way.
I hope everyone’s a great deal more rested and relaxed after a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’m sorry I haven’t been updating for some time – I was unwell for a bit. To make up, I want to share something very special to me with all of you: a memory.
The few backstage minutes before my debut were a weird mix of happy, scared, excited, and nervous. I had my whole family backstage with me and I kept having flashbacks to when I was a kid and dreamed of this moment. Boy did I get jittery after that.
At one point I was almost in tears, and my teacher actually gave me one of her rare hugs and with a very inspiring speech. That managed to calm me down and cheered me quite a bit.
While in the hydraulic pit I could hear everything going on onstage – the welcome message, the introductions the item description, etc. It was probably only about 5 minutes but it felt like hours. When the pit started moving, I could feel myself trembling. And then the lights hit me all at once and I could see and hear the crowd. I remember that the music followed me all the way from the pit to the stage and had this really amazing and energizing effect on me. I was like “OK, this is happening. This is actually happening! Here goes… ”
This memory is still really important to me because it was in these moments that I realized that the dream I’d had for 12 years was finally coming to life. It was truly a magical moment!
I hope you guys enjoyed reading about my special memory!
See you next week! 🙂
Today I thought I’d share one of the biggest boosts to my stamina during my training – the frequency with which I had water breaks.
Here’s how it looked:
1 min water break
5 min water break
1 min water break
On the final day, I actually felt pretty good between and during dances because I wasn’t too frequent in water breaks in practice. I think overall this was something that really helped me, and that’s why I wanted to share it with all of you!
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! 🙂
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!
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!