Sunday, March 9, 2008

Dance Classes

Have always been fond of dancing. Having started at the age of 4 with Bharatnatyam at an age where i barely knew if this is what i want to do :) We had a superb and very passionate teacher Lata akka(Lataka). She used to work at Canara Bank at that time. Her smile, her exuberance and her dedication to dance is unmatched. 

I can still hear her rhythmic Taiyya Tai, which she made you do to perfection. If you don't practice you steps, Lataka would know. Don't ask how. She just knew it. A perfectionist and a hard task master. IF we had any stage performance, Lataka would train us like her life depended on it. 

I still remember one dance-drama called Tulasi Mahatmayam, in which i played one of the kids who were friends with Krishna and helped him to steal butter. She played Narada. I can still remember her Dance to Dhanya Naney..Lata akka's stage performances like when she does the Krish Nee beganney baaro, you can be sure, that baby Krishna does come to dance with her, its so touching

We did a number of small stage performances-right from the Guruvayoor Ambala Nadatil(which is still fresh in my mind) to Kamakshi. As I learnt under her tutelage, right from Allarippu, to Shabdam, i used to be torn between my friends who were playing every evening and I had to go to Dance Class. I don't know why, i slowly started being averse to it. The pressure was too much for my young self. I was more interested in academics and had at that time felt(all at the age of 9) that maybe this is not what i want to do.

My family eventually moved from Santa Cruz to Dahisar. The commute was tough. And somehow was difficult to continue classes. I moved on. But used to always read the newspapers to read news about Latakka's performance at Shanmukhananda hall or the other, and feel quite proud to be associated with her. Yes, I also saw the interview in which she appeared with Aishwarya Rai on TV, having taught her as well. She certains lights up any stage or screen - our Latakka. 

I had returned on "home leave" from Hong Kong a few years ago and met her in the local train. I introduced myself, and took updates about all my fellow dance mates who I knew at that time. The same spirit, the same infectious laughter, I bid her good bye as my station arrived.

I still think fondly of her and those magical days of Bharatanatyam classes.

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