Thursday, February 07, 2019

2458 : In praise of movement

Journeying is quite a urban phenomenon. It’s different from motion. It’s purposefully gliding towards a singular destination. And in there lies the essential difference between a “modern day” workout and “what we call as traditional body movement” -dance.

A workout’s basis is ambition. A dance’s foundation lie in spirit and hence beauty. On one hand the cold calculated expenses towards an outcome, on another the fluidity of a river bending around an access channel.

A motion defined by spirit is its own purpose. There is no other purpose to a dance Mudra (the lovely poised interplay between the fingers trapped in a palm), than the explicit desire to sculpt something beautiful. The goal of a tango is just that, harmony between the body(ies) and the air its cuts through. The essence of Kathak is to essay a narrative.

Dance is nothing but motion. Motion which is not without purpose, but one whose victory is a reward for the spirit. Our bodies are natural motion engines. Motive engines which are driven by emotions : and hence “e”motive :-)

What comes in the dance(s) way, is our own blockages. The inhibitions born out of urban “civility”, the walls that we build around our expression engines. It’s the same suppressive force that culls our desire to wail, when all we want to do is to mourn a loss. It’s the same sense of transgression (albeit wrongly) that we nurture when we sing loudly (but in a tone which we self judge as being tuneless). A blasé world where being child-like is frowned upon in an game where “being an adult” or being an urban “sophisticated” adult is the minimum standard (and so it goes till the “gold” standard).

When I was younger, being uninhibited was considered unbecoming too, but I chose to dance, because my body was naturally harmonising with the world around me. The guile of a snake, the grace of a peacock, and the glide of a feline - all inspired me towards motion.

I remember on my first set, an infectious dance “master” coaching, guiding us through the dance steps. As we endlessly practised, I remember the one thing that she told me/us - on the day of the actual shoot, improvise (not just overall), but with every take. “Make every re-take a fresh dance of the soul. Make every movement the script of a new story. With every gesture, give your life a new spirit.Let go.”

In the last 20 years, that reminder to “let go” guides me in all my excursions. My body, my temple, my dance, my pilgrimage.

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