It is said that real dance is when you are in sync with nature. Nature is probably the best dancer—it’s every step revealed in the clapping of the leaves and the swinging of the branches, every pause hidden in the cessation of the breeze, and every posture witnessed in the loftiness of a mountain. Dance brings you closer to yourself.
There might be times when you've had some personal turmoil before getting onto stage.Only you have the power to change the state of your mind! But how?
Have you noticed that your breath pattern changes with your emotions? Say when you're angry the breath is faster, when sad- it is shorter. So all you do is reverse the process. Use your breath to handle your emotions. A few minutes of deep breathing helps bring back that focus and clarity to perform. So make sure you take some deeps breaths before you get on to the stage. You could also do it before your practice sessions to make them more effective.
Srividya Varchaswi has been learning Bharatnatyam, an Indian classical dance form, since the tender age of four; now, two decades later, she is spreading her rhythms far and wide. We invite her to share some secrets of being a better performer through a series of articles. Let’s dance our way through this journey of unravelling and perfecting expression within and without.
Your talents are for others
If you are a gifted singer, you want your audience to be overwhelmed by your songs! You want them to cry, smile, fall in love, and sing along. You want the song to reach their hearts. If you’re a humourist, how long will you crack jokes and laugh all by yourself? If you love cooking, you’d seldom make a feast when you’re alone at home! You’d probably settle for a take-away. Similarly, if you are a good dancer, you’d like it when you make others experience a different realm altogether. You are inspired to perform better. When you share your talents with others, it makes you grow in that space. You experience a rush of prana/energy, which makes you feel uplifted. So, your dance as a form of expression becomes a medium to contribute back to society.
Stage fright isn't something unusual! It happens even to some of the most accomplished dancers. But have you wondered what causes this nervousness? It happens because you are worried about what people might think or how they will judge you. But the mind settles down the moment you become aware of this.Give yourself the permission to make mistakes. That is the fastest way to succeed. What is the worst that can happen if you fail? People laugh and you learn! It's a wise deal.
How meditation helps?
Meditation opens up the gates of expression and enhances its quality manifold.Your thoughts, ideas, and emotions flow forth effortlessly in such a manner that the connect with your audience becomes unbreakable. You make them travel with you into different times and sail them through different tales, never once losing their attention. It is like spell-binding the audience and making their hearts beat to your beats.
With regular meditation, you are deeply connected to yourself and understand yourself better, and it becomes much easier to connect to your audience. Then there is no two. And the dance, the dancer, and the audience all merge into one.
Take to a Sahaj meditation course and find connect with the audience stronger.
Snippets from Srividya’s dancing career
When I performed as part of a troupe in Berlin at the World Cultural Festival in 2011 (an event to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Art of Living Foundation, which was observed by people from 151 countries and brought together 50,000 participants), my role as ‘Sakti’ was deeply appreciated. One thing that a lot of spectators told me was how good they felt after seeing the whole story of creation. Several artistes came to applaud my expression and requested that I teach them how to get better at this. Meditation is the answer. I would urge artistes to make it a part of their daily routine.
I decided that when I come back to India I should take this up and recently got an opportunity to teach a group of 1,100 people for an event here in Bangalore, India. It was so refreshing to see that people who have never danced in their lives were performing so well! This motivates me to take this art to a greater number of people. Meditation has not only helped me become a better dancer, but also an effective teacher.
The author has written this article based on meditation inputs by Bharathy Harish, Sahaj Samadhi Meditation Teacher