My first encounter with Indian dance

Today I would like to share with you a page from my dancing diary, about my first meeting with the one who later became my Indian dance teacher and the emotions that came from it...

For years now I had been practicing the most diverse dances.

I dove into intensive courses in ballet, contemporary dance, Middle Eastern dance, dance theatre, hip-hop... I was eager for movement, for different languages to experiment on my skin and above all for training and sweat. Anyone who dances or practices a sport will be able to understand that physical need to feel the body disciplined, how at the end of the lesson, almost trudging towards the changing room with sweat dripping from the forehead, one feels like taking a breath of fresh air in the mountains: everything returns to its place, the mind settles down and the rest of life can calmly resume.

In this sense every bodily practice can become a meditation tool, a concrete help to tame the hypertrophic and undisciplined mind that can so affect one's serenity on a daily basis: a lesson that I had learned from the regular practice of yoga and which had helped me so much in knowing how to find breathing spaces even in the midst of the storm. For this reason, for a few months at the time I was been thinking about committing myself to a yoga teacher training, so as to be able to delve deeper into this practice and learn about the tools to pass it on to others.

Then, one morning in July, I suddenly changed course. 

In my frantic search for movement I finally landed at an Indian dance seminar: I was already partially familiar with this practice but I had never approached it with the rigor that only a live teacher can convey. I believed, from the pedestal of my arrogance and my years of study and training, that I could tackle any body discipline without major difficulties: I immediately had to change my mind. 

Shots from one of my first Indian classical dance performances in Athens, Greece.

Nuria kept time with her wooden sticks and every pulse was like a proverbial zen beating to my ego: I suddenly found myself immersed in positions and movements that were totally unknown to me and yet so intensely familiar, as if I felt I had finally found what I was looking for. 

Nothing of my body and my attention could remain outside the execution of the gesture: the precise geometries of the body, the positions of the hands, the movement of the eyes... Every centimeter of me danced, and every thought or distraction was inevitably put aside. The fast pace and intoxicating music they dragged me towards a world that I felt was rich in beauty, as if spying through the keyhole on an immense garden whose borders cannot be seen. 

At the end of the lesson a wave of contrasting emotions overwhelmed me: I felt defeated in my arrogance and yet somehow lighter inside, and above all I felt a deep desire to continue, deepen, learn about this art and study with this teacher who had lit this spark inside me. I remember talking to her about it, I told her that I would like to invest the nest egg I had put aside for her in the yoga teacher training course, and she, with her usual smile, told me: “But you, you have to dance!”

A week later I sent my application for the three-year course dedicated to Indian dance at the Vicenza Conservatory. It was the beginning of a journey that continues today and of which, as in that imaginary garden, I cannot see the boundaries: a complexity and beauty that instead of discouraging me invite me to continue with renewed passion, where dance and yoga come together harmoniously.

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