Her thoughts on Dance Part 1 - ZorbaBooks

Her thoughts on Dance Part 1

She was in her room. The New Year 2024 had just arrived. She had many thoughts on dance, upcoming projects in her mind. Thoughts and dreams are not to be dismissed as mere flights of fantasy. Many may come true, some may not ………….She did not mind…….. She took out her laptop and started pouring out her feelings, journey, observations-

In this modern age, it must be imperative for any dancer, dance teacher or student of any dance style to make efforts to update the understanding of the human body and mind. This is one of the most neglected aspects of dance. 

Mindfulness is a beautiful attribute of any person, also an artist.

Dignity associated with moderation, good quality choice, conscious self-control and a pleasant, soothing, calm personality is also a beautiful attribute of any person, also an artist.

It has largely come to be accepted that a dancer will sustain injuries but will continue to dance disregarding everything because of will power. It is very important to remember that the old phrase, “No pain no gain’’ is not a good one to go by, at least in modern times. 

We feel pain when our bodies are trying to alert us of a potential problem. Pain should not be ignored, the root cause should be identified and the movement causing pain should be stopped. 

There are always many alternative movements that can be incorporated prioritizing the well being of the dancer that do not cause trouble. This is not a compromise with aesthetics as many think because the alternative movements have every potential to be beautiful also. Beautiful alternative movements can be created transcending the barriers of rigidity and preconceived notions of beauty. A limitation from the opportunistic approach can also be seen to an opening door to better options and approaches, only if you have the mindset to think so.

Also, addiction is a psychopathological condition, a term largely misunderstood and misused. Many dancers get addicted to dancing or are encouraged to get addicted.  

Addiction is seen as a sign of devotion and energy.

Addiction is love, and moderation is not love-this misconception is very unfair.

 Addiction robs a person of mindfulness and loads a person with negativity and problems that the person spreads troubling others as well creating a vicious cycle. 

Love comes with responsibility and mindfulness. 

There is a fine line of difference between love and addiction. By updating our knowledge on human body and psychology, many better methods of dancing can be developed that do not encourage addiction but true love and mindfulness. Dancing is not dancing oblivious of time, body, surroundings, disregarding health conditions for hours, repeating the same movement again and again. This is not a holistic approach for dancing as a whole.

Too much dancing, too much exercise has very bad effects on health. Too much or too less is not good.

Moderation of everything is good. I know very few people understand moderation, but in the Bhagavad Geeta also moderation (“Porimiti’’) has been prioritized in the Dhyanayoga sectionwhere it has been clearly indicated that dhyan is not possible in extremes, but in moderation.

Devoting time to allied disciplines of dance- Theory to understand how the dance originated, Dance Anatomy to go on updating knowledge about the body, to understand what you are doing with your body while dancing, what is happening with your body while dancing, what did you do wrong so that you got the pain, watching the performances of other dancers of other styles also, interacting with dancers of different cultures is very necessary also for professionals. Subconsciously all this has an impact on one’s dancing and teaching making it much better experience, making one profit in multiple directions. This makes a dancer more open-minded, receptive and incorporate more progressive changes in dance movements, practices and techniques respecting the body and not abusing the body. Dancing then becomes a real joy. Professionals also should experience this joy.

I love to dance. I always feel I have something new to learn. I have no problem in unlearning and relearning and I update myself out of an inner urge. I have mainly learnt Indian dance styles and also acquainted with some western dance styles. Modern ballet dancers give importance to study and research on dance science, dance anatomy and psychology. Western dancers are far ahead in their understanding of human body and mind in many ways. Some Bharatnatyam dancers who have also been trained in modern ballet show interest in these disciplines. There are isolated and scattered efforts going on. I do not know everything. But still these aspects are largely unpopular and neglected and there is a long way to go.

For the last 10 years, I have made efforts to update myself. I have taken my own initiatives out of my inner urge to gather information and do research in this area. Research also includes periods of darkness, insults, mockery, disbelief., etc. Here I would be sharing what I have come to know. I know I have my own limitations. But I would be very happy first to compile my own findings and if other dancers benefit from my efforts. That is why instead of keeping everything to myself I am sharing my observations, information I have gathered with references. 

I will share my journey, what I have honestly felt. I have disliked certain things, but I am not blaming anybody. I am also imperfect in many ways. 

 Incorporation of more mindfulness in dance can make dancing a much more beautiful experience. The after effect of dancing will be much better and the adverse consequences on health will get much more minimized. The fun, the enjoyment will remain a fun. Dancing will also improve to a great extent- not only the after-effects, but the effect while dancing when the dancer is truly enjoying and feeling at one with himself/ herself.

I would like to incorporate and assemble what I have acquired because it is all so scattered that if I do not take an initiative now, the disorganized state of my findings will cause me more trouble than good. I have had a tough time to organize my findings, and I have done all this on my own accord. This is a self-motivated solo effort. It is surprising that the flame in me is still alive. Thankfully it is. Please pardon me for any shortcoming. I have stated towards the end also the limitations of this effort. It requires some boldness and courage on my part to take this initiative. See , I heard someone the only way to ensure not to fail is not to try. I am trying. I have the courage also to embrace my failures and limitations.

I will give all the references.


Most people are always there to scoff at new ideas and belittle, but it must have been God’s wish to make me do all this or think like this. In an Indian society creativity and critical thinking are largely discouraged. Typically also lack of awareness of health and dismissing health issues, even serious health issues casually is a lovely style. Another lovely style is not to make any effort to develop awareness but to attribute health complications to fate. Also, society at large very rarely gives credit for good constructive thinking. It depends a lot on the tenacity of a person to hold onto these abilities and find platforms to showcase these abilities. This is not at all easy. ………very very tough.

Western society comparatively tends to give a more listening and respectful ear to health issues in many ways and also encourages opening up and thinking on different grounds. There are problems of course but may be there are more options. Many may call me sensitive, but if you just see how Westerners open up a great deal and dig deep into health issues and get themselves relatively better educated and updated…………..an American motivational doctor gave such a beautiful explanation respecting sensitive people that they have beautiful hearts and special faculties of perception, and my response also got appreciation. My response was, “I live in a society where most people are very insensitive. Their shallow concern, thinking and behavior is not very appreciable. I admire the way you have given respect with proper understanding about sensitive people.’’

 May be I have not much support, but I have the support of the Almighty. May be I will not be able to write in a very organized way, but sometimes you have to do something about what you feel strongly, and you cannot be that perfect. If you want too much perfection, you will never end up communicating what you did and felt. So I am writing, rather I feel God is making me write as I do not force myself and write only when I feel like. I do feel the urge. I am trying my best. Of course, I do acknowledge my limitations.

I feel that there can be nothing more beautiful than devoting time to develop better understanding and awareness of the body rather being judgmental all the time and body shame others which many consider a very important activity in their life. Nowadays we have so many resources to develop out knowledge. The more you become aware the more you handle the body and mind in a conscientious way, also with a joy of self discovery and also do the same with others. The feelings and the after-effects become better, you feel more at peace and harmony with yourself. Most people invest time in doing more and thinking less. Thinking is a very advanced function of the brain, requires energy and is not easy. Those who are gifted think more and do less, but what they do has more sense, beauty and impact in the long run.

With maturity, the power of silence, the power of becoming slow, the power to feel deeply, the power to understand when to draw the line develops, the power to react spontaneously develops; the power to streamline, the power to develop simplicity, the power to remove unnecessary complications, the power to be true, the power of execution of work in a smooth non-troublesome way develops. I feel the urge to use these powers to create beauty.

One can take up life in one’s hands to design life in such a way so that from others you get what you really want and you create that space for yourself where you feel and understand your body like a child not letting the shallow judgments and preconceived notions of others creating disturbances or belittling your true feelings and honest opinions. And this is not boring, this a beautiful journey of self discovery maybe incomprehensible to many but God can also design level headed conscientious persons to be influential modern artists as well with more honesty focusing more on self-development than mad competition, blooming in natural pace and not artificial, disrespecting and abusing the body.

Dance movements, also classical dance movements were largely not created keeping in mind ergonomics (the science of correct body movement) in many ways.

Dance Science, anatomy, devoting time for understanding the body and mind may not be everybody’s cup of tea. Maybe majority are on the lookout of extreme movements, extreme levels of performance embracing injuries and addictive substances artificially enhancing energy levels, plastic abhinaya done from compulsion and not from the heart, heavy make-up, uncomfortable outfits, accessories and environment, name, fame, money, number of likes.

 Let them. They have their stage, their space, their enjoyments, big networks, professional compulsions. I am not including everybody again. There are exceptions.

They do not have to employ the faculty of critical thinking. They can stick to inherited opinions- means believing something just because someone told them without thinking whether there is enough reason to believe and accept or not.

Instead of devoting time to understanding the body and mind in a deeper level, may be majority find it more interesting to make instantaneous shallow , often incorrect judgmental talks and comments and bullying the focal points of gossiping , endless inspection and speculation, manipulation, comparing and contrasting on wrong grounds.

 Let them. I do not care about that. I have every right to be myself, be like a child, learn more about my body, create beauty with common sense and respect and simplicity and show true feelings. I am nobody’s competitor, I do not think about my level. 

My love for dancing is also a love. I dance for myself and yes, I like to improve in my art-my performance and understanding. I do need guidance, but guidance that suits me and my needs.

Many may scrutinize me for technique and perfection. Yes, I try to improve that in a steady way. I never believe that what I do everything is right. I am receptive to constructive criticism, valuable inputs and self-evaluation. It is not always possible for a person to be in form, and if I have been a bit out of form maybe sometimes because my body was not liking certain things, I am unapologetic about this. This is human. I am more concerned about my well being and honesty than false pretense and being a people pleaser. Thinking has nothing to do with level and technical perfection all the time and thinking has value. 

Of course I am not only thinking, but trying to shape to my thoughts into reality through developing my dances and communication. Attempting to write this book is one such initiative.


In childhood I used to wonder with amazement how do dancers dance so beautifully. My parents used to take me to cultural functions and events since childhood. I also watched movies.

As a little child I used to go to Children’s Little Theatre and see dance functions of children. I just used to love it. Later I got admitted and participated in a function. I still remember myself wearing a pink frock, on stage for the first time. I loved it. After that there was a gap. Again in Class 3 I resumed learning dancing in a nearby school. Then again due to studies and other reasons there was a gap.

 In Bollywood and Western movies I admired the dances a lot.

In Doordarshan I watched performances.

Towards the end of Class 7 I again felt the urge to learn dance again. In the beginning of Class 8, I got admitted to a dance school. There I did Rabindranritya and was introduced to different forms of dance- Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Odissi, folk, Kathakali. I was not a very good dancer, but somehow I started developing some special feelings and interest for dance. I wanted to know more about dance. My father had a book “Guide to Disco Dancing’’ written by Karen Lustgarten. It is now available in Amazon. I loved the photographs, the write-up, the step-by-step instructions. From then on I tried to follow the book and learn the steps. In Indian dance I could not find any such book. I remember when my father first took me to Presidency College and College Street when I was in Class X, we went to a bookstore. I wanted to see if there was any book on dance. There I found a book in Bengali “Bharater Nrityakala’’ written by Smt. Gayatri Chattopadhyay. I was so fascinated. It had the history of all Indian dance forms. My father bought the book for me.

Somehow on my own accord I read about dance theory and still continue.

I started loving Odissi dance at that time. 

Most of my friends gave up dancing after school. I was quite concerned- what would happen to my dance? I did not want to give up. After getting admitted to college, when we shifted to a new locality, I would see a dance school everyday while going by bus. I read a review of the Annual Function and liked it. One Sunday morning I went with my mother and got admitted.

There for around 7 years I learnt Odissi Classical dance, and also performed, my most memorable and challenging performance being Gativeda Pallavi , a long and tough Odissi dance item.

But after that there were certain turn of events that initiated me into the study of Dance Anatomy and Dance Science, may be thoughts related to modern dance. There started a disturbance, conflict and wrestling of thoughts inside me.

Some events had happened earlier.

Never had I developed any pain after dancing. I used to exercise regularly, enjoy my classes and practice at home. That meant, I was moving and exercising correctly contrary to the popular belief that pain is good after exercise. I remember in a dance class, a new young male trainer had come. He was hyper. He made us exercise very rigorously. As I was tall, he told me to sit even more in Chauka, matching the height of a girl far shorter than me. There is a notion that tall dancers have to sit more. In Indian dancing there is an obsession with sitting, whether in Araimandi or Chauka. The dance teacher does not analyse the body of the dancer and then determine how much sitting is good for the dancer.

Later I learnt from a classical Bharatnatyam dancer incorporating anatomical principles into her pedagogy that you just don’t force or go into the Araimandi. She had devised a warm –up routine to awaken the muscles and prepare the body for Araimandi. Not only that, the degree of turn out of a dancer should be assessed and the limitations should be respected and whatever degree of sitting is possible keeping alignment concerns in mind should be done.

 He made us exercise fast without even caring to know the fitness standard of the dancers or that sudden unusual increase in exercise can have adverse side effects. I was young and immature then. The next day I exercised in the morning, even though my mother forbid me and advised me to take rest. She was intelligent, but somehow I did not listen. Towards the evening I started feeling pain in the front part of my thighs which became more severe after waking up next morning. This had never happened before and I was new to this. It hurt while sitting, it hurt while going downstairs. I had to go to the doctor. He advised me complete rest and a tablet. The pain gradually went away. Many students complained and the male trainer was advised by the Guru not to take such classes. But she said, “You people lack energy. He can dance for 4-5 hours at a stretch.’’ An injury of a girl was taken by the Guru very casually and personally I did not like this. She was made to lie flat on the floor. The trainer put one of his feet on her back and held both of her hands making her lift her back upwards. I was flexible and it did not hurt me luckily but she was not and suffered a spinal injury as she was forced beyond her anatomical limitation. She still continued to learn.

Later one day the male trainer admitted that he had been hospitalized after falling sick after extensive dancing and been on saline. Due to forcefully trying to bend backwards while arching, he had a serious back injury in the lumbar area. The Guru also who was never satisfied with the energy level of her students had been similarly been on saline after shooting for many dances for a video at a stretch.

Here actually there is a force culture here (making you force disregarding your limitations) and refusing attracts a lot of adverse reactions. If you tell your trainer that you are not liking a movement or feeling uncomfortable, you meet with jeering or giggling or some comment in most cases, or “ See, she is so afraid’’ or in the name of helping you acquire that position, they will force you using the body in a wrong way (sit ups-for example). I have refused though at times as I have the ability to speak up.  

Again I continued without pain. 

But again I did a folly.

In the early morning I was accustomed to exercise. One day, out of over enthusiasm I danced in the early morning. I was unaccustomed to do this. Again the same pain came back late. I had a stage rehearsal after few days. I was alarmed. I went to the doctor and had some quick-fix allopathic medicines. Everything went well.

 I discontinued due to some personal reasons and joined again and continued for some time. But this pain would come and go after classes. It was like a suspense after class what would happen. Sometimes it came, sometimes it did not. Then I started experiencing pain in the hamstrings. Now I understand that due to increasing age my muscles were becoming tighter,my body was changing, I was developing “quadriceps-hamstring imbalance.’’

One day the hamstrings felt horrible, the pain did not go away easily and the muscle was shaken to throbbing cramps. Yes, I felt relieved after applying ice.

 I was not liking the exercises and the dance but I continued. I searched the internet and found the term-“Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.’’ That is what was happening and I did not have a very clear understanding. I did not speak about the pain. I told only my mother. I knew if I told my Guru she would tell, “ You do not have energy’’ or “ At such an age you are having such problems?’’ and raise her eyebrows. One of her students did that with me. My knees were not liking contact and friction with the ground any more. Earlier there was no problem. Then one day after doing Tribhangi basics very well in class the next day I developed severe knee pain. I was walking and it had never pained so much before. I was alarmed. I felt that I was doing something very wrong with my body.

Now I understand there were alignment problems.

Of course my body was alerting me. This is the truth. 

As I have always had the courage to listen to my inner voice rather than giving into peer pressure or unrealistic expectations, I decided to quit this dance. It was a very difficult decision taken by me. But it was correct. With rest my body recovered, legs became fine.

I know here many people say a disease or discomfort is nothing. Excessive sugar is nothing, even eye cataract operation is nothing.I am not like that. I do not like discomfort or diseases in my body. One can actually control a lot of diseases by the way one handles oneself and by developing awareness. I always try to understand what my body is disliking and why and try to make necessary adjustments to again establish a friendly relation with my body. I have seen this in my parents also. The human body is ever changing and I also change myself with the changes of my body. I do not like to torture or abuse my body. I hate the popular belief that one needs to go through torture and pain to be beautiful. 

For dancing I cannot develop pain, diseases and health problems. Many people accept, I have not. And yes, that is not impossible. I dance for myself, not for anybody, and am not ready to make mindless judgmental people make my life a pain and screw me up with their unnecessary complications, projections and comments. That does not mean I cannot adapt. The fact is most people do not give a free space to others to decide what is good and bad for your well being and introduce unnecessary complications and stress in life. Minimising interactions with them and enjoying solitude is therapeutic. And yes, now I find dancing in solitude in my own home therapeutic and lovely because I can feel, enjoy, experiment………I love it…………………..observe my videos…………learn……..improve……….

I have seen a senior reputed Indian classical dancer saying to other students with complaints of pain and injury,“ You do not have energy.’’ Her disciples also emulate her and say that. The matter is not so shallow to be overlooked and disregarded like this. This senior reputed awarded dancer has severe health issues and for energy has endless cups of strong black coffee, cold drinks and highly strong red wine and spends sleepless nights, walking in the night though she is a very good liar when she gives interviews where she falsely speaks of cultivating good habits-an absolute double standard person. She takes Ayurvedic medicines before Annual functions and she knows no limit. Why does she have so many dependencies? Can’t she do with her natural energy? After shooting for many videos at a stretch she had been hospitalized with saline, diagnosed with low pressure- she does not use her natural energy, but is a wonderful double-faced bully.

She had admitted once, “I am orthodox, not modern.’’

Other statements of senior dancers when injured,

“I do not go to doctors. It will go away if I practice.(with knee pain)’’

“What to do! This is nothing but a torture. I do not have freedom from this torture. What is the use of taking rest? Leave me. Let me dance with pain.( with severe knee pain taking class even if doctor has advised rest).’’

“Why are you wearing socks? If you dance your legs will become bad. That is the inevitable outcome. Take off your socks.’’(to a student)

“I have pain but I have come to class. I know I should take rest but what to do? I am addicted to dancing.’’

Well, while taking rest you can study about dance, watch dance videos – you can enrich yourself without straining yourself allowing time to heal.

To a student who is not being able to make sound on the ground, “Why don’t you have strength in your legs?’’(not aware about structure of foot arch, that all types of feet cannot create sound, also no awareness about dance floor and the harmful impact of stamping on the body).

I have seen senior professional dancer-Mrs. Know-It-All Mrs. Perfect gaining weight after having Gatorade energy drink. Why does she have this dependency if she has so much energy? She then started bullying slim students. This professional teacher was very short, became jealous with time. She had no melody in her voice and was jealous of me because I could sing well. In classes she would raise her voice and sing horribly. If I sang at the same time, she would try to raise her voice and overshadow mine. She often stared in to my face and then looked at her face in the mirror. One day when I told her that her face is nice, she exclaimed, “Really?’’What mentality! Cannot be at peace. She hated my interest in Anatomy and Dance Science and felt insufficient. She did not like to update herself and one day shouted at me, “Whatever we know is wrong and they Westerners know is right?’’, started showing her hatred for Americans(U.S.A. has a big contribution in these disciplines)- now I am an artist of this world. Any culture is not sufficient. We can be open minded enough to learn from different cultures. There is nothing wrong in that.

One day when I sent her some related anatomy videos, it was a winter day. She sent me in return joking, “It is so hot!’’ 

Often I have heard many pronounce the word “Anatomy’’ with taunt and ridicule.

No human body is perfect, no two bodies are the same, even Achilles had a weak spot in the heel. 

 Many force students to stretch beyond their limits, bullying students senior as well as children and generating fear in class.

One day I remember a teacher was forcing a little boy to stretch beyond limit, even though the boy was complaining of pain- this is one of the greatest mistakes by an unaware heroine of force culture which is scientifically wrong.

“Are you a brave boy? Can you do cart wheel even without thinking?’’

More customization is required.

Many students also bully others. 

A child learner once told me (about a female senior dancer, also a film actress who had commented, “I am teaching dance to a class full of idiots’)’ that “You know, she does such horrible things to maintain her beauty.Ok.May be I have done something wrong. Why will she call me Mathamota(meaning in Bengali fat-headed idiot)?’’ Yes, in our society we say children do not understand anything. Now this trainer after my very first day put the music on and asked me to dance. When I struggled, she laughed and told me,“Can’t you remember?’’ I said, “Why don’t you show me.’’ She admitted, “What to do! I myself have forgotten the dance.’’

Once she sat in front of us and felt a sharp pain in the back. She will not give up, and again try to sit in that way. After that she had to give up and went away with severe pain. 

Nicety is not well received by everyone. I told her daughter that if she needs help, I can give her my connections( I mean my Dance Anatomy connections). Her daughter shook her head and admitted, “That will be of no use. My mother does not listen to anything.’’

A Manipuri senior dancer once admitted, “ My body parts have all gone bad. My legs, my hands, my voice.’’

She was a classical dancer cum singer practicing for a long long time.

She said her husband made her to repeat, and repeat and repeat unless and until she got it right.

One male dancer had admitted, “Diseases will happen if dance is done professionally. What to do?’’

In one program he had admitted that he became famous and also developed famous diseases like severe eye infection (his revered Guru Ma Beauty Queen had terrible eye operations and also eye to swallow everything she saw), nerve problems and his Guru had arranged for the best doctors.

A Guru knew I hated stamping of foot and one day intentionally dictated me a letter when all the students were creating a terrible sound stamping their foot. She hated my interest in Anatomy and Dance Science.

Her husband came home one evening when I was working. He asked me, “ My eyes, neck and legs are bad and affected by disease. Do you think I am well?’’

I had always received ridicule and scorn from his wife and majority of students when I have raised the issue. I answered, “ Yes, you must be well.’’

He nodded his head and answered, “ No, I am not.’’

Now, all this is very unpleasant and may not be liked by everybody. It is an individual’s decision. For example, if I don’t like all this there is nothing wrong. I have every right to decide and do what I like. 

All this shows lack of awareness and updation, insecurity , clinging on to age-old practices and beliefs, lack of self-respect, disrespect and the tendency to overlook individual differences and limitations.

It is time to make efforts to come out of all this, and of course this is not impossible.

Not everybody is like this, but these are some of my real-life experiences.


One day in the internet I searched “Dance Injuries’’ and came across the subjects Dance Science and Dance Anatomy. I was so fascinated. From then onwards I would search in the internet and found interesting papers. I will give all the references. I also went through on-line research papers and reports where it was written that injuries remain a largely neglected and unaddressed part of Indian dance. Maybe I was not learning in a dance school, but this hiatus was a period of self-conducted research.

I came across an exercise video of American fitness pioneer Jane Fonda where there were beautiful exercises explaining posture, alignment and the muscles involved. She was so humble and honest with a gentle and calm voice, explaining slowly so that a person can follow. 

One coach once highlighted that in Indian culture, there is harshness in communication, often very impolite. In many foreign countries, there is comparatively more use of verbal softeners.

 In her exercises, she never told to force beyond limit. If one could extend only little, let it be that much-that was her instruction. That is sensible and scientific. With time she had updated herself. Those exercises suited me. I read an article in the Telegraph about Leonardo da Vinci who had made great efforts to understand anatomy and the science behind his art. It influenced me to write an article, extending the context to the importance to anatomy given by Western artists, even by dancers but not by Indian artists, highlighting the dance part. With due respect to my thoughts, a beautiful format of the write-up got published on Sunday in ‘’The Letter to the Editor’’ of The Telegraph. My eyes were filled with tears. 

But most of my dancers from known quarters did not appreciate it and made me feel it was my fault. Also I was not in good form at that time because the dances I knew were not kind of suiting my body-that was not my fault.

I was delighted to attend a Dance Anatomy workshop In Kolkata conducted by two Swedish female dancers of Moderna Dansstudion. I still remember that Sunday morning in Sparsh studio. I was so excited! I had reached first, even before the dancers came. They complimented me, “ It is nice to see here that someone has reached even before us.’’  

That was a very memorable day for me. I had taken a special diary. The dancers were very well mannered……not always talking on the top of their voice. I kept contact with them. Western dancers give more listening ear to health issues and have more honesty in many ways. With me there were a small group of girls who were eager about this subject. When I was coming back I felt I was on cloud nine. From them I got the contact of Lisa Howell. She is now my Facebook friend –the Ballet Blog where I see her delving deep into the understanding of anatomy to help dancers understand their body and move in a better way.

Of course, I had to embrace a string of disappointments. First of all, the coverage of this event did not get published in the newspaper much to my disappointment. I had taken the phone numbers of the participants with hope that they may support or collaborate with me. They came with a lot of enthusiasm but when I rang them up, I understood they have lost interest.

I started learning dance but different form that my body was liking. During this period I worked in my old dance school in the office and learnt background jobs.

In went to a workshop on Laban Movement Analysis conducted by a French dancer. I gained valuable insights about the dance thoughts of Rudolph Laban, author of Modern Educational Dance. My mother took me on the first day.

When I told one reputed female Kathak dancer there about anatomy, she exclaimed, “Anatomy is meant for Western dance. It is not meant for Indian dance!’’Now this Kathak dancer had been to foreign countries but just see the narrow-mindedness.

 Of course attending this workshop -this has a painful story of insult. My dear Madam had handed me a diary of contacts of a reputed club where she will perform and instructed me to invite everybody which was a very unreasonable proposition. When I wanted some clarity she got enraged at me and from the next day I was not called to work for no fault of my own, even though I have sent mails to so many people.

It was during this period of uncertainty that I attended this workshop. Later I got my job back. In the photos of one of the newspapers it was published with Madam’s photo that over 1000 visitors had dropped in. It was my credit for doing so in such a confusing situation but I was not there in the event. When I messaged her about this and praised her looks she called me back. 

There are many inside stories I have seen that have generated a lot of hatred and disrespect. A young dancer practicing Bharatnatyam had admitted in her you tube videos that her knees are like that of a 80 year old woman with terrible cracking sound. She still continues as she cannot give up dancing for her mind but does not alter her ways and make changes.

I was becoming very disinterested in the subject without getting any motivation when suddenly I started seeing you tube and facebook videos of a young Bharatnatyam dancer about anatomical problems in Indian classical dance practice. Actually she had also learnt modern ballet in U.S.A. Artists motivate and inspire other artists. It helped me to regain belief in my thoughts. I became her Facebook friend and attended an on-line workshop very excitedly on how to avoid dance injuries.

 It was very enlightening and the participants had so many pent up questions. The questions are there, but pent up………..I learnt a lot from this.

There are a breed of Bharatnatyam dancers who have learnt modern ballet as well as Bharatnatyam, Indian or western. They know more of anatomy and the anatomical problems of dance.

The way of sitting and how you use your knees is very important. For the last few years I take special classes from a teacher, and do the movements that suit me. 

I perform alone in my home, make videos, post them on-line, study my videos and try to improve. I dance painlessly and enjoy. My mother is a beautiful company. On-line has given me peace. I like peace, to be at peace with myself, away from the eyes of multitude of peace-breakers(a big category comes under this), only viewers impartially seeing and commenting on the performances. 

I believe that torture and abuse is a form of self-abuse resulting from lack of proper understanding, inability to change oneself and lack of awareness. I am a straight person with straight ways. I believe in the philosophy “Less is more’’ and hate too much and unnecessary complications. I am beautiful in my own way and I prioritize being at peace with myself. Most people do not run for peace but for greed, name, fame. In the process they get screwed up and they cannot rest at peace if they do not screw up others. They do not care if they disregard their health or go for shortcut means or addictions.

 I do not have this desperate attitude. I am also an achiever, I am also an artist. I am also a university topper but I have never spent sleepless nights and driven myself to extremes. I am the least troublesome person and I have seen that even though I do not trouble people, make my own arrangements, troublesome people have a big problem with me.

I also have a big problem with them and I establish my boundaries with them.

 I know my limits, most people do not have any sense of limit. And I do not feel deprived or I am missing out on something . If I choose, I choose the best. Quality matters more to me than quantity.

Someone told me you are blessed not to have addiction. I also LOVE……. People who go steady are people with more in-depth feelings. It is important for me to have favorable reactions in my body, also the after-effect…whatever I am doing… I am choosy and selective. I am not like whatever people will give me I will accept in whatever time without even thinking…..I will go on pleasing people on wrong grounds…….I speak up, I refuse, I think before doing something, I listen to my inner voice……….what is wrong with that? A flower has its own pace of blooming and becoming beautiful without artificial additives. I am also like a flower blooming at my own pace. My honesty is very important to me and yes my inner well being and peace. Addiction, obsession and too much just does not go with me, and is very irritating and does not help me give my best. It is a torture for me. I try to understand my body and decide accordingly what is good and bad for me irrespectively of outside opinions, pressure and people’s comments. It is important for me to keep my fun a fun, my joy a joy being guilt free. I have a certain sense of self-control, judgment and deciding ability that makes me do this. I inherit this from my parents and my upbringing. This is what sets me apart from the majority and though many have tried to make me rid of these good qualities by bullying, rejection and gaslighting I have not changed. 

I continue to update myself. But it is also very important to assimilate and use the updated information, organize the updated information and try to apply it. How I wish to have a dance institution where there will be a lovely team of dancers of different styles, experts on dance anatomy, dance science, modern dance properly trained as well as to think out-of-the box –who would love to update themselves about knowledge and understanding of the bodies of students and dancers. Students will also be taught in a fun way and given space to understand their body, not compare themselves with each other and to decide what movement suits them the best among different options. 

I used to sit in an office in a locality known as Katapukur where dead bodies are brought in a morgue. In foreign countries dancers of my mentality can do a course and become Dancer’s Doctor and channel their love for dancing by helping fellow dancers- love does not always signify extremes, madness or addiction. They are well paid also. This is an upcoming field. In the west at least there is such a career option. In India there is no such option or dancers cannot even think like this- they are always looking for technical perfection. I had often felt like I am in the building in Katapukur making anatomical dissections to understand the human body in more detail…..dance anatomy research involves that. I have asked myself whether I would be able to see blood and corpses ,cadavers. Once this imagination became so real that may be it had come out from my mouth,“I am a doctor’’ but that has received much ridicule here. But ridicule will be a part of this journey.

Here Indians do not try to develop any awareness of the body and blame fate. What a mentality! In the west also many people do disrespectful things with their body. I recently read a Hollywood actress taking a lot of pride in fracturing a rib and tearing knee cartilage after falling during a dance performance. She also broke another rib after constricting corset forcefully tapered her waist to 18 inches – she claimed that she danced in high heels, broke ribs, tore knee and did all the things meant to create great art. I don’t know what kind of mentality is this! I do not support.

 But the option of safe dancing is there. In India the option is not there largely due to the mentality of the dancers. 

But that cannot stop someone who is interested. I am not a narrow minded person. I am part of a big world, and may be in my environment I am a bit exceptional, but that does not mean no artist thinks like me. I am just bold enough to state my thoughts and be myself.

 I can apply on myself at least in my own space, in my own home. 

Such studies are happening in isolated quarters, and now as it is said that instead of giving so much importance to external validation, it is important for oneself to be one’s best friend and form opinion about yourself. From that standpoint I congratulate every effort I have taken to update my understanding within my limitations. I would like to communicate and give shape to my thoughts. My thoughts and realizations need to be properly written and compiled- for myself and of course for other dancers who may apply this to their benefit in the future.

I am not knowing everything, neither am I perfect. I also need guidance. But I cannot tolerate abuse of the body or madness to create beauty. 

Great art can also be created without mindless abuse.

Majority of dancers take it for granted that dancing is painful, it is beautiful to embrace pain and dance and they silently bear many dirty secrets in their body with a lot of pride.

If you go through the history of dance, development of dance has had a large connection with different modes of prostitution. It became acceptable and educational much later, and still there is a long way to go to make it more educational, I mean incorporating more education about the mind and body. This education can be achieved from different quarters, with an open mind like a child, not a mind stuffed with inherited opinions.

Why would an educated mindful dancer dance like that and accept this? I feel more beauty can be created by cultivating mindfulness, awareness and respect.

Some facts I have tried to compile:

Please pardon my limitations. 


90% of injuries can be avoided if we develop more awareness to minimize imbalances, faulty posture, technique and alignment.

a)Poor alignment and faulty technique-

Faulty technique not suitable for the body practiced repeatedly is a major area of concern.

Alignment problems are very common and overlooked in dance.

Alignment means maintenance of safe posture where the spine and other joints are in proper placement balancing the body properly, making the dancer recruit the muscles and joints properly and not erratically.

Understanding alignment is important and maintaining proper alignment while moving requires


Common incorrect postural patterns like

Forward head(head not in alignment with spine and torso)

Forward shoulders (rounded shoulders)

Lumbar lordosis (swayback)-increased inner curvature of the lumbar area(just above the back)

Low back pain 

Anterior pelvic tilt

In an attempt to increase the turnout in the hip joint ,there is a compensatory increase in lumbar lordosis which places the hip joint in a position where the capsular ligaments are loosened leading to anterior pelvic tilt. This increased lumbar lordosis elongates the abdominal muscles causing weakness, whereas the erector spinae and hip flexor muscles undergo shortening which further causes an imbalance in the lumbopelvic complex. Many dancers show increased anterior pelvic tilt which leads to imbalance in muscular attachments that control the lumbar spine and pelvis. This causes compensatory movements and alteration in the muscle length tension relationship and may predispose to lower extremity injuries.

Lordotic postures in dance is an important topic of discussion

Improper turnout- turnout should be from the groin, from inside of hip joint socket, turnout should not be from feet.

Thoracic hyperextension(protruding ribcage)-very common in Odissi dancers while doing tribhangi)

Maintenance of different postures for prolonged duration-repetitive movements place tremendous physical demands on the body at young age and may alter the postural profile of the dancer and permanent structural alteration.

Example: Staying in Chauka position for a long time(Odissi)

Staying in Araimandi or Muzhumandi for a long time(Bharatnatyam dancers)

This strains the quadriceps muscles a lot and generates tremendous shearing stress on the knees

In children, it is a very age-old concept that they have young bones and so are more flexible. Often, due to demands of staying in a position for a long time, change in posture profile happens with deleterious consequences that are overlooked.

Hyperextended knees(knees straightened beyond 180 degree)

Knees are hinge joints. There should be no twisting in the knees. Muscles go over patella and attach, operates according to science of pully-torque goes over patella and attach muscle all over joints. Knee pain occurs when one muscle pulls more from knee cap. Due to muscular imbalance, muscles work erratically and out of alignment.

Some suggestions:

Do not attempt movements beyond your ability. Be aware of your body’s limitations.

Floppy arms can result in injury to the shoulder/arm. Avoid thumb injuries by not grasping your partner’s hands with your thumb.

Foot pronation or supination(rolling in or rolling out) often seen due to stamping can also be avoided

Good alignment results in efficient movement using only muscles and amount of energy necessary to accomplish the movement, making it less likely to be putting strain and tension on soft tissue(ligaments/tendons/muscles) around the joint , thus resulting in less probability of injury.

E.g.patellofemoral syndrome-due to knees not aligning over toes

Frequently involves the patella(kneecap)not tracking properly in the patellar femoral groove(the groove in the femur through which the patella glides,on knee flexion and extension). Can happen due to forcing turn-out-advised to use natural turnout,can be accompanied by foot pronation(rolling in) and lumbar lordosis.

After full rehab if the faulty technique is again practised, then the injury can happen again. 

Injuries can occur due to direct fall or excessive contraction of the muscles or repeated use of the same steps hundreds and thousands of times over a period of years causing Repititive Strain Injuries.

Instead, devoting more time to help students understand a movement and then execute it minimizes repetition. 

Anatomical limitations:

Every dancer’s body is different with different capabilities and different limitations. A dance teacher also has limitations even though many of them pretend that nothing is wrong with them. Understanding this is very important.

And please teachers, do not ask someone, “ Why are you not like everybody?’’ or any student, do not ask this to anybody. Everybody is different. You are also different.

Some dancers are very flexible, sometimes too flexible. They may not have desirable strength. Extreme flexibility can be due to Joint Hypermobility Syndrome- it is a genetic condition that can predispose a dancer for injury as they are often unable to control the end range of movement in a joint. Their bodies have increased difficulty understanding “core control’’ and stability. 

Others may be strong, but lack high extensions.

Many have uneven hip turn-out capacity. If the dancer constantly forces the lesser turned-out hip to match the other one, problems may result around the hip joint of the side with lesser turnout, and possibly also further up and down the kinetic chain in the knee, foot,lower back.

Tibial torsion is a common anatomical condition about which most students and trainers are unaware. It affects foot and knee alignment patterns. It is often genetic, a slight bowing out of the tibia often with kneecaps pointing slightly inward.


Temperature: not too hot or too cold


Concrete floor or poorly sprung floor laid over concrete is not good for dancing. 

Concrete floor is better than marble tiled floor which is worst for dancers.

Overuse of rosin causing uneven and irregular patches on floor is not good also.

Karate mats are too soft, you can likely go out of alignment.

Linoleum mats are good.

Marley mats are best.

Good dance mats are not available in India.


It is not good to stay in a room with all doors and windows closed. 

There should be some inlet of fresh air, oxygen to prevent accumulation of carbon monoxide. Here many people keep all doors and windows closed, but turn the fan on. This does not help because the carbon monoxide goes on accumulating. The air continues to become more stale, and this is very unhealthy. After A.C. is switched off many people keep all doors and windows closed because they do not sense the accumulation of carbon monoxide. This is not correct. Earlier there used to be ventilators in rooms but now we do not see. Sometimes all doors and windows are closed to prevent the passage of sound, dirt, mosquitoes coming from outside. Mosquito nets can be applied on windows. 

 In winter, often all doors and windows are kept closed which is not good for anyone. A small outlet of fresh air is always necessary. Often special permission is required to open a window. I really laugh at the wonderful common sense working behind this!

Due to repetitive loading of the ankle and foot complex during dance practicing from a younger age, stress over the foot arches increase leading to flattening of arch(pes planus) and that causes the foot and ankle rolling medially ‘’pronated foot’’ and laterally “Supinated foot.’’

Fractures to the 5th metatarsal, or the pinky toe, are quite common. When the fracture occurs in the middle section of the metatarsal, it is known as a Jones fracture. The main cause is sudden force on the outside of the foot. A Jones fracture is common to dancers who stand for long periods.

The little toe can also get hurt in Muzhumandi where heels are under the hips. To make the position more powerful there should be some distance between heel and hips.

Unrealistic expectations

Competitions/examination, peer pressure, bullying, jeering, comparisons, expectations from trainers and parents can push dancers to injure themselves during dancing. Most of them do not have any awareness. Dancers force upon themselves, teachers force and if one cannot perform mindlessly body shame and bully instead of understanding the causes and limitations.

Some common mistakes are:

Natural loading of joints /limbs with fatigued muscles

Excessive loading of joints/limbs with normal muscles

Unnatural loading of joints/limbs with either fatigued or normal muscles

Footwear can have a soft sole to absorb impacts on the feet

Avoiding hard floors and uneven surfaces while dancing

Avoiding extremes of temperatures during dancing

Avoiding very difficult or complex steps after 35-40 years of age, especially stamping or staying in one posture for a long time

Very intensive sessions, long duration with little interval, too little rest before a performance are not advisable.

If you experience problems in a dance form at any stage you can switch the dance form, be selective, make some modifications and still dance beautifully

Muscular imbalance-

The muscles surrounding a given joint should be relatively equal in strength and flexibility, so that one side of the joint is not being stressed than the other. 

Quadriceps(front of the thigh) vs. Hamstrings(back of the thigh):

Hamstrings are usually weaker, and one of the most frequently injured muscle groups in dance because of emphasis on forward motion powered by quadriceps. Besides hamstring strengthening exercises, class sequences of moving backwards will be very helpful.

Gastrosoleus(calf muscles) vs. anterior tibialis(front of the shin) –in ballet, because of constant pointing of the foot, the calf muscles are usually stronger of this muscle pair-one of the possible causes of shinsplint pain. Using exercises which flex the ankles often in dance training can help to address this imbalance.

External hip rotators (turn-out muscles) vs. internal hip rotators(turn-in-muscles)

If excessive amount of turn-out is used as in ballet,then use of parallel or turn-in movements are less. The muscles that are concerned with internal rotation are usually weaker and more frequently injured because of imbalance. 

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness-

Describes a phenomenon of muscle pain, muscle soreness or muscle stiffness that is felt 12- 48 hours after the exercise, particularly at the beginning of a new exercise program, after a change in exercise activities, or after a dramatic increase in the duration or intensity of exercise. This muscle pain is a normal response to unusual exertion. It is generally at its worst within the first 2 days following the activity and subsides over the next few days. Any movement one is not used to can lead to DOMS, but eccentric muscle contractions (movements that cause muscle to forcefully contract while it lengthens) seem to cause the most soreness. Examples of eccentric muscle contractions include going downstairs, running downhill, lowering weights and the downward motion of squats and push -ups. In addition to small muscle tears there can be associated swelling in a muscle which may contribute to soreness.

Not advisable:

 Holding a position for too long and do too many repetitions in a warm up.

Strenuous Yoga before dancing- instead dynamic movements more preferable

Back-bending during warm-up.

For adults, jogging before a good warm up not advisable

`Sit ups’, often used as a stomach exercise actually don’t move the stomach muscles appreciably. They cannot, because the sit up is powered by the shoulders and bends at the hip joints which the stomach muscles do not cross. Stomach exercises are best done lying down because you get the most movement out of the abdominal muscles in that position. Slow floor exercises work very well. Core strength sit ups engaging the transverses abdominis without the rectus abdominis protruding is a good exercise.

Don’t lower two legs at a time flat on your back.

Don’t do straight leg sit-ups. Sit ups should be performed with the back rounded and the legs bent. For men, these are good shoulder and chest strengtheners. They are not, as is often supposed, to be the best tummy trimmers for women, as they do not engage all the abdominal muscles.

Don’t bend from the waist with straight knees to touch the floor or bounce with a flat back.

Don’t do kneeling exercises unsupervised.-The knee, one of nature’s mistakes, is very vulnerable to displacement and will take so much punishment and no more. In some people, the tip of the knee cap is particularly sensitive and when it gets bruised, it makes knee movement very painful.

Thigh stretching exercise going backwards is very dangerous, forcing the body to strain against the knee joints. If you must kneel, be sure to pull up the thighs and tighten the pelvis so the weight of the body doesn’t rest on the knees.

Don’t snap the head from side to side or roll it quickly round. It is better to follow the path of your hands with your eyes as you exercise and dance.

Don’t do the squatting side stretch of the leg unless you are an advanced dancer or exerciser. It creates a tremendous pull on the inner thigh tendons which are easily strained or torn. They are devilish hard to heal. 

Don’t try to breathe in a pattern while dancing. As the rate and depth of breathing is very individual, to be asked to breathe in a set rhythm or timing could create tenseness. Just take care not to hold your breath as you concentrate or exert yourself.

Don’t eat beforehand, because you will use up your oxygen digesting, and food on your stomach is uncomfortable when you move. Dancing just after eating especially heavy food substances or may be a meal like lunch is very bad. A meal should be had at least 2 hours before dancing. You can do light snacking on fruits, plain yoghurt or a drink(coconut water, natural and not artificial fruit juices).

Do not slouch.

We have to do dynamic stretches for warm up to wake up the muscles.

You can include pulse raisers, mobilisers and dynamic stretches in warm up.

Good exercises for cooling down are gentle stretches that continuously move and don’t stop in static positions. You can also lower the pace of the dance movements you have done to cool down.

A known Kathak dancer once dismissed the idea as a joke and one of her students said, “Cooling down is only for Zumba.’’ A non-Bengali Kathak dancer, senior and very graceful has highlighted the neglect of proper cooling down after a class or a dance exercise. The student needs to understand the body, musculature and movements and from conception can devise proper cool down routines.

Kathak-lower back gets more pressure-While turning it is better to turn out leg from groin

When you wear 100 bell ghungroo in front of leg, hamstrings and quadriceps do not work, so pain develops inside and above knee.

There are certain style specific strains as a group of muscles or bones are used more. You can incorporate other types of exercise or dance styles where strain gets neutralized and you work the other muscles.

Do not bang heel on ground-body gets tight after practice.

Often what happens is, teachers bully or scold or force or ridicule students who cannot make sound with the feet. This is written in shastras of course, but there has been progress in understanding of the human body. There is lack of understanding the differences in structure of feet, feet arch, foot triangle- and why many dancers cannot make sound but they can dance beautifully. I know many dancers like sound, but many do not. Once a dancer told me that the sound generates fear and sounds very unpleasant. I do agree, it sound very ancient and uncanny. Now smooth gliding movements also have beauty. Many students out of fright may bang the foot. When we walk, it is considered bad manners if we make thumping sound with our feet. It often appears very undignified also. Another thing teachers do not think about is the floor.

Making a person stretch beyond limit and thinking that the pain generated is good is one of the most rubbish predominating misconceptions. Stretching should be done gently and the limit should be a bit less than the range possible. (please see references)

It is very important to understand the basic structure of the body.

Upper part of the body is more associated with perception, emotion, communication. The lower part is more associated with locomotion.

Hands and feet, we have many types of bones.

Joints are connected by ligaments. Joints are the junctions where bones meet. Each joint has several ligaments.

Muscles are connected to bones by tendons(white areas). Fascia is the tissue around every muscle. Around each muscle fibre there is fascia, around whole muscles also there are fascia.

Hips are the heaviest part of the body with more bones. Sacrum is the holy bone. Hip joint has deep socket so there is less movement. If ligaments are tight, movements are smaller. Muscles cannot become longer or shorter. They can contract or relax. In case of hard and tight muscles there is tension we are not aware.

Core is the inside of the torso close to the spine. Closer to the skeleton we have smaller muscles that have much more working capacity. Bigger muscles are there for sudden big explosive movement. They are like short distance runners. 

Fascia is the most fascinating element of mobility and is responsible a lot for feeling well. It is amazing that in the fascial tissues, an individual’s history is mapped out in the body. We can get the story behind the human from the family and keep it in mind when doing a detailed exploration of individual anatomy.

There are 4 layers of abdominal muscles-

External obliques-2 layers-going diagonal, helps us to twist

Run diagonally upward and outward from the lower part of the abdomen in to the rib cage and look like an open-based V from the front

Internal obliques-fan out diagonally from the back pelvic bones (where the dimples are) up and forwards towards the pubic bone

Rectus abdominis: run down in a long flat band from the lower part of the chest to the pubic bone

Tranversus abdominis-march horizontally from the middle of the back to the middle of the front. It wraps around the body like a natural corset. It is the real stabilizer muscle that needs to be strong to have naturally good posture.

For flaccid stomach, the muscles have to be strengthened.

Palm and feet have multiple bones gliding. 

Elbow-can bend and stretch,turn it over, not a full turn,uses your shoulder

Shoulder and hip- full mobility,can do circles,shoulders can pull out more easily. Hip –socket in pelvis, acetabulum,difficult to pull femur out of socket, more stability.

Knees-hinge joint, no twisting should be there in the knees


There are two types of isotonic contractions: concentric and eccentric. Isotonic contractions generate force by changing the length of the muscles.

Concentric- muscle tension rises to meet the resistance then remains stable as the muscle shortens. Such contractions require more oxygen and thus make you burn more calories.

Eccentric contraction-muscle lengthens as the resistance becomes greater than the force the muscle is producing. These are easier but break parts of the muscle and make you feel sore for many days.

If you overstress your muscles, your sarcomeres break, and you lose strength. The harder you exercise the more sore you will be. The pain is due to bodily processes that help rebuild damaged muscle fibers. When the sarcomeres within your muscle fibre are broken, delayed onset muscle soreness appears within 24 hours and lasts for 3-4 days. Soreness is more likely to oocur after performing many eccentric contractions because in the eccentric phase your muscles stretch. –running downhill, landing from a jump. The further you stretch your muscles, the more muscle fibres are broken. This happens, for example, when the knee on the side of the foot touching the ground bends a lot. You can preserve your muscles while running by taking shorter, quicker strides.

Isometric exercises are more helpful for arthiritis. 

The plantar aponeurosis ,a strong tissue extends from the heel to the toes. It is a source of heel pain for many Indian classical dancers since it may be strained, partially torn, or simply inflamed (inflammation causes plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the plantar fascia).


Understanding of child psychology is a big problem, because mostly, children and the feelings of children are treated with disregard. 

Laban Movement Analysis, thoughts of Rudolph Laban on modern educational dance have importance.

Work with the mood, not the count of the music. Children don’t have very good sense of rhythmic movement. Children love rocking or swaying motion, so work with music of 3 beats. At the most can work with 5 beats, not more than that. 

Can also try 4 counts.

Children can make sounds while dancing also which is very natural, like laughing, a “Ho’’.

For specially abled or autistic children do not use 3 counts, use 12 12 12 rhythm pattern.

Make children create movement patterns resembling alphabets and numbers. This will help improve the memorisation ability of the children. Adults can also use numbers and alphabets to create their own movements.

Children have free movements which go with their instinct. Children should be allowed some freedom. A rigid and very structured curriculum is not advisable.

Kids do not turn with legs, but with their arms. Their arms should be outstretched. I heard a little child complaining that the kids were being made to turn and they were falling down and the teacher was laughing. The children felt that there was something wrong with them. If trainers care to update themselves such scenarios can be avoided.

We should not go too fast with children- we should be slow, giving the child time to understand and memorise.

I know now there will be statements like such and such child performed so well with such a difficult rhythm or did an adult type performance so well.

Of course many people like children to behave like adults , killing or ignoring the natural development and feelings of a child. One of the most common incorrect notion is children have more tender bones and muscles and should learn hard dance and gymnastics from a very tender age. Young teenagers and children are in the growing stage, and often repetitive practice or being in long demanding postures for a long time alters the postural profile and affects the normal development of bones and limbs.

In the Natyashastra it is mentioned that the minimum age of starting to learn classical dance is 7, but I see children as little as 3 year olds doing it. Once when I asked why the admission age is so small, one of the staff smiled at me and said, “Greed, greed of Madam for more money. Parents also want their children to learn. ’How wonderful!

The do’s and don’t are not boring like many think. I think more boring and disgusting are the mindless conversations, judgments, wrong practices, tortures, pains, diseases and negativity spreading from irritability.

Most dancers go to doctors. They do not like what they are forbidden. What they cannot do is make some simple adjustments instead of repeating what has been forbidden or is causing pain.

The practice of hitting or beating the body into shape is one of my most despised practices. We live in the 21st century, not in middle age. In this modern age many other methods can be employed. Often teachers who hit lack awareness of the body part where they are hitting and the bad after effects. Many students want the teacher to hit them otherwise they feel ignored. For those who prefer hitting, scolding, generating fear in the class and those who like to be taught in that way, well and good. I would say may be you cannot think of any other way , or you may think this is what has been going on – fine, but that does not mean there cannot be other ways or this is something very pleasant.  

What I have realized is, it is important to dance in front of a teacher in a class, otherwise the flow of the body gets disturbed and stiffness comes. As I like to do composition and choreography, there also you need an understanding teacher to choreograph , correct you. This learning should always be there if you want to make presentable compositions and choreography. There is also importance to understand the music. Over the years, I have been learning classical in a customised way and also music, the rhythm as well. Earlier my rhythm sense was poor but now with the guidance of a very good Tabla teacher and going through choreographies with different musical compositions, my rhythm sense has improved and I feel more relaxed when the music is on. 

What I understand that classical music has so much freedom- I can play with the notes of a raga creating different patterns of that raga in different moods. One thing I enjoy sometimes is spontaneously dancing with different compact raga compositions when I truly get the mood. It is a self-discovery when different movement patterns, not typical classical movements but having the classical feel are created. A student having limited or uneven turn-out- can’t we select other classical postures? Can’t we get out of obsessions of sitting and stamping and execute more natural movements with the classical feel and touch? In Indian dance a lot goes on with the thighs, knees, heels. Heels have a very complex anatomy and source of trouble. Naturally the balance of the foot is on the soft upper part of the lower surface, mainly on the big toe.

 Can’t choreography be made more mindful and more full of variety to minimize muscular imbalances and style specific strains? There are so many different sitting positions. We can find more better ways to go full down. Here many dancers go down but the alignment gets disturbed which is overlooked. Instead of going full down, you can sit elegantly in Indian postures on a rostrum or nice prop, or sitting can also be implied by different beautiful standing postures.

So much of torsional and shearing stress on knees-can’t we improvise?

Yes, we can, if we only change our mindset.

In some quarters, I am happy to see some changes. I feel positive.

It must be not a very nice job to sit and write all this. But this was one of my New year resolutions.

I know, there are many ugly truths, realities from which many try to run away, ignore , camouflage or conceal, or may be not aware of what you are doing with the body. All this does not solve the problems. These are problem areas.

I see on-line courses on body education offered to dance teachers in Ballet Blog. What’s the harm if a teacher or student wants to educate oneself about all this? What is wrong, so wrong if I have tried to update myself on modern developments?

Why am I writing or thinking like this? There must be something about the time and yes, God’s wish.

Nataraj , the Lord of Dance is an avatar of Lord Shiva and Vaidyanath, incarnation of Lord Shiva is a healer of diseases. Now if dancing means development of so many problems to be camouflaged or concealed , there must be something wrong in the dancing, whether one admits or not. 

 Limitations of this effort:

Many dancers do not know the English language and find the anatomical terms intimidating. 

This should be communicated in more simple language, also in vernacular in a fun and entertaining way. 

May be this write up requires better editing.

A doctor who can make things easy and simple and deepen my understanding and make the explanations also simple can help. 

Supporting photographs and videos taken under proper supervision of experts will make this more communicable.

In my subconscious certain things are operating of course. But much of it is very unsystematic.

If I can get senior and junior dancers who are willing to think a bit out-of-the-box and are open to new learning and views, then I can collaborate and be instrumental to apply all this in dance. Of course the audience will see the dance, but also know about the thoughts and applications that went behind it.

Time can be spend in studying theory, studying different videos, research papers and recent developments, thinking more and understanding what you are doing with your body. Watching different dance forms also enriches the mind. Appreciate the limitations of your body, respect the natural urges, try to figure out what works best for you without having adverse effects. Adjust your environment, think what can be done to improve at your own natural pace. 

Professional dancers can also be made to work more mindfully. 

One can streamline what needs to be chosen , what needs to be done instead of doing excess. Observation and practice at a steady pace will obviously yield good dividends in the long run.

It can be God’s wish to make mindful dancing also create magic in the dancing and learning process shattering conventions and preconceived notions. And why not?

There is obviously a glimmer of hope.

Many years ago, I was confused about what to write in a magazine. One of my senior male elders told me to write an article relating education and dance. I wrote on Rabindranritya because Rabindranath Tagore made a huge revolution in our society to make dance a part of the education system. The writing got praise.

In the letters to the Editor section, my first writing that was published which I wrote on my own accord was on Scientific Art- the truth is published on the Editorial page. 

I do not believe much in astrology but one astrologer said you will one day have a dance institution of your own. I am not sure……….

Life has many surprising turning points. 

Above all, God’s wish. ……………..

I have always dreamt of a beautiful garden, if possible in my institution. …………

Big companies and organizations recruit landscape architecture companies…………………..how lovely…………………………..

Maybe funds will come. I will utilize the funds properly, not corruptly.

I will spend money for proper dance floor-proper wooden sprung dance floor. It will be maintained properly and I will feel so blessed if I can dance on it…………..I have thought so many times…………….a room of my own with a sprung dance floor……………………..

The floor of the stage of Rabindra Sadan is one of the best. You will understand when you dance- it absorbs the impact of the body and sound cannot be made by the feet.

But just see how a known male Indian dancer who is a very judgmental person right from the moment he enters office has evaluated it, “I do not like the floor of Rabindra Sadan because no sound as such can be made.’’ This dancer does not have the faculty to appreciate the quality of the floor and the mastermind that went behind the design.

Rabindra Sadan planning was conceived by a very intelligent and advanced engineer. I came to know his daughter who had worked in U.S.A. for a long time.

That is why I sometimes doubt whether a proper sprung dance floor will be appreciated here by others, or whether it should be my own………………..

After all, I can have a room of my own with a sprung dance floor and a garden in front in future……………..I should think of myself more than others……may be…………………………and be happy my own way…….if I am happy that matters the most……………………………and even if this is not possible still I am happy…………………I give gratitude to God to whatever God has and will make possible for me.

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