Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dancing stars (Part I)

Having a ball in Trivandrum. I didn't expect it to be anything other than an isolated, marooned place only enjoyed by anachronistic souls. But I was wrong about the souls as much as the place.
15 km from Kovalam beach, overlooking the Velayini lake,  owners of this bungalow have appropriately named it as Land's end.
They are no ordinary owners. They have adopted a pg and have made her part of the family. This teen forgave all her formal education in the hope of becoming an accomplished dancer. So she left Mumbai for Kerala to train with a well-known dance company.
But just like everything famous, the founder of this company was bloated with ego. Not to mention the home-cooked guju food, which made valid contribution to her girth.
Now, this lithsome student had the knack of picking up things. Within a month she learnt many routines. This blew away the teacher's mind but not in any good sense of the word.
Her daughter is the principal dancer of this company. The teacher started seeing this young girl as a threat for her daughter.
Obsession is a sentiment that can be triggered by love as much by hate. She made it her personal business to keep this girl isolated from any new routine. Instead, she was made to all menial work like cleaning the dance floor and asked to take really long walks. The purported logic was walking helps to strengthen the feet. However, the real reason was to keep her  lightyears away from any form of dancing.
Her real learning only began, when she started living with this family as a pg. A dance company only trains one to be a background dancer and not a dancing scholar. Those serious about dance would do well to avoid the closed boundaries of a company. So the girl started realising this and slowly drifted away from the group. Luckily the couple she was living with were both broad-minded and warm people. The husband, who is ship captain by profession, started taking personal interest in the child's growth. He created a space within the house, where the girl can have some real learning. Within months the girl grew exponentially. She was doing 8th grade ballet in a couple of months. When she started she was 4th grade. Her Bharathanatiyam levels were that of a BA 1st year student. She was learning Mohiniattam from a teacher, Carnatic singing and was playing Baatz and Beethoven on the  piano.
The wife herself MA in Bharathanatiyam taught her the intricacies of the form. Her ballet was looked after by the husband, who deeply researched on the form and resourced all the literature and music for her training.
The girl is continuing her high school through the National Open University. She is also learning astrology from her landlord, who is also MA in the subject.

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