Performances for Isha Utsav In America
I had the opportunity to perform at the “Isha Utsavs” that were being conducted in the USA in the month of June. The experience is one I will never forget. This was my first performance trip outside of India and also the first trip without live musicians to accompany me! This means that my teacher wasn’t going to be around to help me with little things like fixing my make up or moving things off the stage!
We started off in Chicago and travelled to San Jose, Seattle, Atlanta, III (the Isha Ashram in Tennessee) and finally Detroit, dancing for audiences between 70 to 250 people.
Performing for a mixed audience of people who are aware of the culture and the stories of Indian mythology and people who have never had any exposure, always presents a challenge. My descriptions of the pieces needed to be appreciated by the people who have a background but also be an introduction to those who don’t.The pieces needed to be easy to understand without being simplistic. How successful I was in doing that you must ask the audiences!
Performing to recorded music made me nervous initially, but after the first performance it got easier. Having the choice I will always pick live musicians but there is undoubtedly, much less stress with recorded music!! At one of the initial performances someone mentioned that it was nice to see me transform from the little girl explaining her pieces to a grown, graceful woman performing them. I attribute that to the fact that they hadn’t seen me since I was 12 but worked rather unsuccessfully from then on to sound more grown up!
As always it is a wonderful experience to be around people who are part of Isha. Everywhere that I travelled I was included so easily into the families I was with. The audiences were always open-minded and inquisitive. It was new for me to sit with my audience after a performance and talk to them or answer any questions they had and have them suggest some wonderful new ways of looking at dance. I met two wonderful older women, one who was a contemporary dancer in her a younger days and another who was a Cuban dancer! Their insight and observations about Bharatanatyam were quite unique. Same as Isha, Kalakshetra also has a very wide distributed extended family! Everywhere that I performed I met alumni who had started their own schools or were performing. They too made me feel at home almost immediately!
Hopefully I will be able to travel and perform across America sometime soon. It was wonderful to perform and travel with Isha meditators. There was one person who was with me through almost the entre trip who took care of me, gave me the best company, ensured that my stage and green room requirements were met and felt so much like an older sister. I cannot thank her enough!
…And now to gear up for the performances coming up this month!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 at 8:15 pm
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