Just to clarify, I do not dance just because of the religious side of it, there are other reasons, and if you are debating if you want to start dancing, here are a couple benefits that dance has!
1. Muscles and controlling weight: as you dance, you gain muscles as well as strength, and it forces you to be in a specific weight range. It is perfect if you are the type of person who tends to overeat like myself.
2. Destress: Going and doing something you love makes you forget about that pile of laundry in the corner of your room or all of the homework that you forgot to do.
3. bone health: By using a ligament repetitively, you are strengthening it and preventing osteoporosis (decrease of bone density as you age)
5. Mental: I associate dance with positivity even though it takes up a lot of energy, my smile on stage used to be forced, but now it is a genuine smile because I am with people that a love and doing what I enjoy.
Well, summer is right around the corner! Some people are going on vacation, having guests, getting their life together, or like me, all of the above. I absolutely love summer because that means that our annual recital is coming soon and we finish one more dance exam. As good as summer may seem, there are some cons. For example, all of the students are not on the same page because we are all going on vacation at different times. Another bad side of it is that there are exam stresses because as you go to the higher levels, the exams are taken more seriously. Anyways, hope you all are doing okay in the last few weeks of chaos!
May is… well many things. We have sol testing and AP exams as well as finals. Yeah, not fun, but I do love the end of may because we get to celebrate Holi. This is one of my favorite things because there is good food and I surround myself with my amazing dance group. Now, to others, we look like maniacs because we are throwing color at each other and taking interesting pictures for memories, but I would not trade it for anything. To those who do not know, Holi is the festival of colors in honor of Lord Krishna. I would say that this is the event where we truly bond as a group because it is stress free ( well maybe not stress free from all of the weird stares we get, but it is still fun and worth it!) Happy Holi!
As we all know, any sport is time consuming. In May, everything piles up; tests, sols, AP exams, sport season championships, upcoming job opportunity interviews, and all other crazy things. However, it is still important to go for practice so that you are caught up and have one less thing to stress about. In the ideal world, we would have time to do everything and still have time to sleep and be with friends, but that does not always happen. Most of the time, you would choose one or the other. My guideline is simple: if there is no game or peformance, go and have fun! Happy May!
Practice is sometimes annoying. I get it. You would rather be somewhere else, but it is important to think about the fact that your parents (or in some cases, you) paid money to be a part of this, missing practice does not benefit you, it is just adds to the stress that you might already have from school. So here is my guide to deciding if you should go to dance or skip.
If you are sick- do not go if it is contagious. If it is a stomachache or a headache, take some medications and go to avoid missing anything.
If you are injured- it is recommended that you go unless you are on bedrest. I personally would go but notify you instructor about what is going so that they know that you are going to sit out and watch or help the instructor with other paperwork. This shows that you are committed!
If there is an event- you should try to come for a part of practice and leave early or come late. In some cases, there is absolutely no way you can be in 10 places all at the same time. You should let your instructor know about a class before if this happens.
If you have an upcoming test or have something due- Now you need to ask yourself whether you are willing to go to practice and still have enough time to work. If that is a no, do not go but let someone in the class know. If that is a yes, or “I have a little bit of time” then go, you will be less stressed out about everything and you can have some fun.
I guess you could say that the chaos mentioned before performances are funny to some people, and to others its just chaos. Throughout all of the scrambling, you learn a few things on what to do to make it a more successful performance.
Start getting ready early– get ready about an 90 minutes before reporting time. If there are any problems with the make up or the costume you can buy it before. I have learnt that in order to avoid smugding lipstick, put it about ten minutes before you step foot on the stage.
Have a designated backpack for the performance– Do not carry one hundred tiny little packets, put everything in one big backpack so that everything stays organized and you do not lose things. In your backpack, there should be things like lipstick, eyeliner, eyeshadow, bobby pins, hair spray, safety pins, makeup remover, your wallet, a comb, and extra clothes.
Extra clothes– Now imagine this, you have just finished a performance, and you are sweating and you are in the mood for having a dinner out with your dance friends, if you want to avoid drawing attention to yourself, bring some clothes which you can afford to get makeup stains on (avoid wearing white shirts). I also recommend that you wear something that is comfortable, maybe not a sweatshirt, but like a sweater or a nice shirt.
Reporting time- The reporting time is not an extra cushion, there is no cushion. Usually reporting time is an hour before the performance so that you can see the stage and practice and have last minute costume changes, etc.
March is the time to start studying for upcoming exams and SOLS. For people who play year-round sport, it is time for championship. For dance, it is the same way, we start preparing for our Annual Recital which is usually during late summer, but this year our instructor has signed us up for our first competition. Since December, we have been taught a dance for both the recital and the competition. It is a lot more complex compared to the choreography that we have done for last year’s annual recital. Due to my health, my doctor has told me that I can’t take on a lot of pressure from school and dance and that I have to commit to one until I can give my 100% to dance. However, I am really proud of the team who will be dancing, I know that it won’t be possible to get 1st place because it is our very first competitive performance, but we will improve!
Treat practices like performances– practice and performances are basically the same thing except one is where you go all out with your costume and hair,and the other is where you show up to go over the dance for the performance. Keeping this in mind will lead you to show your instructor that you are serious and ready to learn an advanced dance.
Stretch– if your dance class does not stretch every class, you should stretch before you leave the house so that you are warmed up. For Kathak dancers, it is important to stretch out your legs. Some dancers are not required to be flexible but it is a good thing to try to have.
Keep hair up– never keep your hair down while practice, because it will impact you and people around you. In Kathak, we do fast spins so find a suitable hair style that keeps your hair in place so you don’t have to continue adjusting.
Location on stage– usually when the dance performance is close, dancers tend to get competitive for the middle spot, it is important to remember that your dance teacher will give you the spotlight when you do your best without putting other’s down. Also remember that if your dance teacher places you in the middle, you are still equal to people in your class. Eventually they will get the center position as well.
Practice– now, I am going to be completely honest, I don’t practice everyday after school, but I do listen to the music whenever I get a chance and try to remember the choreography. Before you leave for your class, go over the dance and remember to take all materials.
Communicate with your group and instructor- If you feel like a certain step in choreography will be too complicated to do, give another option that you think will be more effective.
Problems- Leave all problems at the door and don’t keep tension.
Smile!– Remember to smile during practice to get in the habit of smiling on stage as well. I usually don’t do this, but I will start smiling to show my teacher that I am ready to take a challenge
Cushion– For ghungroos (bells) it is important to wear some type of padding underneath your leggings to make sure you do not get marks on your legs or cut off blood circulation.
(The following link is for a section of the Shape of You choreography).
I sometimes question myself as to why I chose to dance instead of all of the other activities I could do like soccer, swim, or track. As a reader, you would assume it is because of my interest in dance, but in reality it was because two of my close friends were going to dance class. Eventually it stuck with me and I continued to do it after one of my friends moved and the other was in another dance class in the same academy. After a while, we could not do it in the same place, so my teacher rented a studio and classes got merged. I was reunited with my friend and we met new friends. I like to think that the other reason why I continue to dance is because of the group and I get the opportunity to learn about the history of India, I am not a big fan of history but the myths in India are fascinating.
Now, we are all procrastinators in some way. It may be from school work or simply just getting out of bed in the morning. For my dance group and I, it is choreographing a dance and making it look presentable. During practice, I admit, we are a mess, but on stage we are collected.
Have a reasonable deadline- if the song is four minutes long, do not expect it to be done within a week if you spend five minutes a day doing it and then constantly change the steps. It is important to give you and your group time to review and learn.
Take it slow- Not all of your group will get the steps immedietly. You must take it slow and teach it carefully and correctly, because if you get frustrated, your dance will not be performed the way you imagined.
Be open to opinions and ideas- You must remember to take input from everyone. If one person in the group states that they do not like a step, you should ask them if they have another option and once you agree with a choreography, you should be fine.
Communicate with the instructor- if you have an issue about the dancers or a step, talk to your dance teacher for her opinions and her options. You must get their approval before you proceed. As mentioned in step one, setting a deadline is important, but you should plan out everything before continuing.
Persist- work hard and make this dance worth it!
It is also good to know that things change, last minute things come up. Do not get frustrated because one day that person might be you.