I’m Back


I’m sure this happens to every blogger, you disappear for a while and then finally make your way back.  At this point I feel that I do not really have any followers and that is fine. This is more of a personal documentation, so that I can track how I have been doing. Anyway, apologies for being away, work, dance, just everything kind of pulled me away from the blogging world. That coupled with my broken laptop charging cord kind of put a damper in everything.

Update:

I have progressed quite a bit in terms of the arangetram. I am actually quite proud of how things are going seeing how I have no real idea of what I am doing. I feel a bit lost most days when it comes to these things, and I know that I have not just one Guru/Aunty, but three to look to if things get crazy. But I hate running to them every step of the way. A part of me wishes I was able to do this when I was in high school and could have left all the details up to my parents. Unfortunately that is not the cup of tea I am drinking. And I have come to terms with that. But I still feel frazzled.

On that note, I have to say, without Rajam aunty and Kausi aunty, I would have truly lost my mind. They have been the only steady rock in this tumultuous storm, and I am more thankful for that than they can imagine.

So, to the details.

     

  1. I have finished learning the Pushpanjali
  2. I am almost done with the Murugan Kavithuvam (which is taking the place of my Jathiswaram).
  3. Alarippu is on a DVD… that will be very easy once I get it.
  4. My varnam is finished, I just need to work on my stamina to make it through the 30 minute piece.
  5. I still need to speak with Malathi aunty about when to begin working on the Krishna Padam
  6. Hopefully, I begin work on the Mahakali item soon.
  7. I begin working on my Kuruthi with Rajam aunty next week.
  8. I am 1/2 through my thillana, which I am surprised about because guess what….. I am choreographing it myself!
  9.  

So in a nutshell, I consider my alarippu already done since I have been practicing the school version for the past few days, that means I am halfway through with my items. And I am hoping by the end of April I will have finished learning my items and I can just work on perfecting the pieces and my stamina.

On a very very very off topic note, I just wanted to toot my own horn by saying since I last posted on here, I have lost 15 pounds. Which is amazing seeing how I have gained muscle as well! I am just saying… I’m awesome!

I have a lot more things to say, but I don’t want to crowd one post, so I’ll save it for the next one.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Videos and photo stream coming soon!


Schedule For Getting Dressed For A Bharatanatyam Performance


I will have a how-to category for all things related to “how-to’s”!

This will be a general overview of the morning of a performance.

As I was getting ready for the Texas Folklife Festival 2010, I had a schedule I followed. I needed to be at the Institute at 4:00 for the performance which began at 4:30. And of course, I wanted to be there 30 minutes earlier (3:30 pm) to ensure nothing went wrong, and because I had friends with me so this would ensure that weren’t late because of parking and helping my friends figure out how to get around. So I began to get dressed about 5 hours before I was schedule to leave @ 2:45 pm.


SCHEDULE

10:00 AM – Showered & Towel Dry Hair

10:30 AM – Get everything for hair ready and put hair in initial position with some watered down gel

11:00 AM – Hair (You need even more time if you are doing a braid or are doing it yourself)

12:30 PM – Makeup (Take time to do your makeup so that you don’t sweat through your makeup or mess it up)

01:30 PM – Put on costume and bells

02:00 PM – Jewelry (Belt, necklaces, etc)

02:30 PM – Relax and think about your dance

02:45 PM – Pack the car with the stuff I need and LEAVE


Maybe I am a bit too organized, or maybe it’s just the way my family is, but without good planning, getting dressed for a performance is usually chaotic. Even with all this planning and lots of hours to do everything I needed to do, I ended up running behind schedule. But because it was all planned out and I had planned to leave early, we made great time and got to the Institute of Texan Cultures at 3:30 PM, thirty minutes ahead of schedule and exactly the time I wanted to be there. This extra time gave us the opportunity for me to be dropped off, my friends to find parking in the hassle of downtown, walk all the way back to the festival, find me and the stage in all the hallaballu, and get great seating to set up the video camera! It made my life a lot easier and I was able to stake out a nice cool indoor spot to beat out the heat until the performance.

And to let you know what happened and why I was off schedule. Of course, doing hair is hard. And I have pretty short hair (only shoulder-length) so we had to do just a bun. So, my mother trying to figure out how to do my hair caused some arguments and a lot of frustration. On top of that, we had to start over at one point and my head jewelry wasn’t all fitted with strings. It was a bit of poor planning on my part, but because I was organized ahead of time, when I fell behind with the hair time, and the makeup time, and rushed to put my costume on, I was still dressed before my friends even showed up on my doorstep.🙂


Getting Ready to Take the Dive


So, tomorrow will be my first bharatanatyam performance in a very long time

To get ready, I am doing many things.

  1. Obviously Practice!
  2. I tried on my costume to make sure everything fit properly. Turns out the blouse didn’t, so I just borrowed a blouse from another. It doesn’t look very professional, and I know other dancers will be confused. But it is a primarily non-Indian audience, so I think I can get away with it😉
  3. I ironed my costume tonight to make sure everything looked spectacular.
  4. I got all my dance makeup ready (will post further information on getting dressed tomorrow!)
  5. I charged my cameras and made sure I had room on the card and extra dvd’s
  6. I packed a bag of extra clothes so that after the performance I can just take them off!
  7. I have directions and a map of downtown for parking and the streetcar
  8. I put my backup CD with my extra clothes
  9. I have a copy of the emcee program sheet🙂
  10. I made sure my cash, my entrance ticket, and everything else was already in my bag
  11. And of course I set out my costume with my timeline for getting ready

I just wanted to put all that not only because I wanted to show how much work actually goes into pulling off a simple 6 minute piece at a festival, but to show how much can go into any dance performance.

I can’t imagine what the night before an arangetram must feel like. All this planning but sooo much more.

A little extra thing I did: I played with my point and shoot camera. I don’t have a SLR or DSLR (as much as I would like one), so I have to make the most out of what I have. I know enough about digital photography that I know what I want. So I tested out my camera on my dogs. I think I got a few nice pictures in actually🙂

I think I like this because it is soft focus, Bella looks just so darn adorable, and the natural light is pretty😉

And I love silhouette shots. This isn’t quite there, but one day I will get a great one… still like it🙂

The texture, the lack of grain, the clarity, the dark background…❤      I could do without the glare in her eyes😦

Pic Spam! Just a few more pics I liked and some closeups of my crazy getting dressed for bharatanatyam table

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Funny… But True


I found this a few days ago while I was perusing through the massive amounts of stuff out on the web about bharatanatyam. It’s a cute little facebook group, but I think it is nice to see the light and funny side of bharatanatyam. When you are practicing and preparing you have to be so focused that it is nice to take a step back and be amused by all the silly things about bharatanatyam (and I’m sure other Indian classical dances can draw from this list). It’s a bit long, but I found it very amusing. Feel free to add your own theories in the comments!

(And I love how it ties into my blog title!)


You Know You’re A Bharatanatyam Dancer When…

You have a certain place in your house devoted to your Bharat Natyam stuff
You have pony tails with fake hair longer than your own.
You’ve had bruises on your feet from ghoongro before
You think its normal that your head weighs more than the rest of your body when you dance
You know what fake flowers made out of paper look like
You know exactly where every piece of your jewelry goes
Your skin becomes 6 shades lighter when you perform because of makeup
You have worn kajal and pancake before
You’ve substituted blush with lipstick
You have a red sharpie just for bharat natyam
You have red nail polish just for bharat natyam
You have special makeup just for bharat natyam that is lighter and brighter than normal makeup
Your first time wearing makeup was thanks to bharat natyam
It takes you 1/2 an hour to put your fan on
You know what a fan is
You know what “half sitting” is
You can be smiling one minute during a jaathi one minute, and be portraying heartbroken radha the next.
You know what a jaathi is
You have chanlos that are specially for bharatnatyam
You can recognize the taal of any music
You know how to wear a bharatnatyam dress/you know what shoulder the sari goes over
Your ultimate goal is to make your teacher cry at your arangetram
You know what an Arangetram is
You’ve spent more money on makeup than on a shirt at the mall
You have makeup devoted to dance
All your dance makeup is waterproof
You have an uncountable number/types of eyeliner
You know the difference between naang and temple jewelry
You know the different kinds of fan styles (cross fan, skirt, three tier, one tier, the three tier that has a fake fan on the butt piece)
You know the pose of each god thanks to bharat natyam
When you’re out with your friends, a lot seems to relate back to bharat natyam
You know how Krishna grew up thanks to bharat natyam
You know the difference between each god
You can say words like “Mridangam”
You know what a mridangam is.
The phrase “did ith thai” makes sense to you
You can balance for a long time
Your thighs are amazing (from all that half sitting) [thunder thighs]
You can figure out the meaning of the dance even though u don’t know the language by the mudras
You know what mudras are
You find the music very soothing
You catch yourself either humming or singing bharat natyam songs
You catch urself going thru dances in the middle of math class in ur head
You know the importance of Varnams
You can do a thirty minute dance-nooo problemm
You know its impossible to get ready for a performance on your own.
You dance down the hallway instead of walking.
You refer to a crowd as an “audience” and half-time as “intermission.”
Every floor is a dance floor
In any dance, you pay close attention to facial expression and choreography
Nail Polish is not restricted to nails…you also put nailpolish on your fingertips and palms.

To see the facebook page: CLICK ME

Thank you for reading. Happy dancing!.


Hello world!


Hello world indeed. A little about me.

 

I am an Indian Classical Dancer, Bharatanatyam to be specific. I was born and brought up in the United States; in the extremely hot state of Texas. I began my instruction at the age of four under a wonderful woman at an amazing dance school in my community. After learning my basics from an Aunty who was so sweet, she made candy seem sour, I began my tutelage under an Akka who would become my guru for the remainder of my training.

I began work on my arangetram at the age that my school usually allows their students to “graduate”, from the age of 15-17. Unfortunately, things did not work out and I left for college without any official status in the dance community. I was okay with this as much as any dancer is okay with not having an arangetram.

For four years I lived in places that had an extremely small Indian population and I was no longer able to pursue that which filled the gaps in my soul: dance. Finally, I am back home where I belong, in hot state but a beautiful city. I was nervous to come back to the Indian community after so long, but the wonderful Aunty who taught be my basics came in for the save. She asked me to help her set up a small function and I ended up seeing many Aunties I had not in a very long time. Then she invited me to come practice my basics with the youngest classes and eventually she allowed me the chance to “teach” the littlest kids.

I am by no means a teacher (yet), and if I stay here I hope that I am offered the chance to continue to teach. I work with the youngest children on their adavus to allow Aunty time to work with the more advanced younger children. This opportunity not only humble’s me every time I come to class, but it teaches me patience and discipline and drives me to make sure my adavus are stellar. It also taught me a lesson I wasn’t expecting to learn. I have an amazing new found respect for my guru and any teacher (dancer or not) who works with young children.

I recently had the opportunity to thank my guru and tell her of my newly learned respect. Don’t get me wrong, I have always respected this woman, even when she worked us harder than ever before, I have always been impressed by her. When she was my akka, when it came to a point where she was aunty status, and even know when I don’t know what to call her (do I still say aunty!).

Now, more than ever, I know I would like to complete my arangetram. I think at my age, though I am older than most students doing their arangetram, I want it more. I don’t care for the frivolities, the arangetram function which can rival a wedding, but I care for the dance itself. Now, more than ever, I actual want to learn about the tradition and the beauty of it. How it came to be, the different styles, what each dance means, the 108 karanas, everything. I find myself googling things everyday, at least six or seven times. I can not get enough information about this wonderful dance which I feel can knock the socks off any western classical dance🙂

So, now, I would like to highlight the next year and a half or so as I work towards my arangetram at the ripe old age of 21! I will happily include anything else I find amazing and interesting. I will self-promote and stroke my ego and post any performances and the likes that I do (including this Saturday’s performance!). And I will also go over something that I know can play a big factor in a dancer’s arangetram: the finances. I plan on doing my performance in under $2000. If I can make it under $1500 I’ll be especially happy🙂

Thank you for reading. Happy dancing!


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