Moumita Vaats (Ghosh) - "Dance" a meditative escape - Contributed to Times of India "Speaking Tree" page
(Ghosh) - "Dance" a meditative escape
Indian classical dances as they are known to have made their journey from temples to performing spaces have uplifted the human soul profoundly towards self actualization. The world currently we live in, is engulfed with chaos, worries and turbulence of varied nature. The art of dance produces a positive shift for the practitioner allowing him to leave the mundane and enjoy the inner bliss emanating out of his daily Sadhana aimed towards surrendering to the almighty. Practicing dance for long hours or doing Riyaz propels a sense of immense satisfaction and connect one to the higher self and thus this interconnections with the core transports one to silence of another kind or in a state of raised awareness, while the body constantly moves with songs and syllables. But then when there is so much is going around a person’s day today activity and one is trying to meet dance in his current circumstances, one wonders, where does this great art stand in the practical life messed up with struggles, insecurities, violence and other countless tragedies that have seeped into the human life, clouding the mind with fear and stress. Thus the mind is constantly in need of a medicine that can heal and bring a sense of well being, and that’s when the art’s holistic approach comes to rescue.
The artist or dancer effortlessly travels from one situational thought to the other with the tools of his trained body and mind that has undergone the gruelling sessions of riyaz or practice over the years in learning dance. This moment of being with the ever flowing grace of the movements cease to bring the flashes of the agonies of the outer world, thus produce positive and progressive thoughts. Even if the truth prevails in all in its harshness, dance elevates one and manifests as courage, love, beauty and devotion—all that is so enigmatic and powerful.
The dancer has this ability to take self and the observer through the journey of devotion and surrender, creating sacred spaces or worlds which are not unreal. There, the metaphysical state is as complete as the physical state. If we think our life as a plethora of emotions, then, in an aesthetic presentation, the colours of life are being accentuated by ‘rasas’—the flavour of all that is being experienced in life, enlivened on stage. And because the aim of the practitioner is to reach the Supreme reality or higher consciousness through the continuous working of mind, body and spirit—it reaches a harmonious state or a deepest zone creating zillion moments of happiness.
Indian dances with their ancient roots in the divine, have been revived, redefined and reinvented throughout in their remarkable journey from being rituals to formal performances .Because of its emergence out of the spiritual consciousness, there is an influx of pure energy revitalize each soul. So limiting it just to a visual confluence of attractive costumes, pacey rhythm and brilliant movements would rather pose shallow when there is so much more to savour.
When the spontaneity of rhythm and music fuse with the renderings of devotional verses from the ancient scriptures, there’s an outpouring of pure emotions, and there, the most beautiful exchange takes place between the dancer and the Dance or between the devotee and God. In a simpler way, it goes on to weave portions of life consist of subtle and beautiful tales, striking deep chords of human hearts.
I remain constantly appreciative of the fact that how fortunate I am to have lived in the times of Guruji. On Guruji’s 16h year of passing, I reminisce one of my earliest dance tours abroad under my Guru, Madhavi Didi and Guruji (Kelu babu Sir). It was the autumn of 1999, and we were to go to Brazil for nearly a month long tour. I ,along with Piyali di and Arushi were rehearsing under the watchful eye of our Guru, Madhavi didi supported by a very good team of musicians in the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya. Till the last week before leaving, I was not aware that Guruji was to join us for the tour, or perhaps I was little unmindful…since I was very young at that time, and in my formative years, where I was gaining experience as a travelling artist, I was more to myself and concentrated on the dance part only. Guruji joined us at the rehearsals in Delhi, 2 or 3 days before the trip. Madhavi didi conceptualised the programme as “Generations”, with Guruji spearheading the movement of Odissi,
Dance gently guides us to enter the realised state. By increasing the awareness of our energy, beginning with our bodies which know of the complex patterns traced in the space ,recognise the rise and fall of the breath and create all of those geometry and symmetry of the form, gradually slow down and stop reacting. The dancing body/ ego doesn’t exist anymore. All that is remained is the state of awareness and just the dance in the present moment. In this process the spirit embrace compassion and kindness for all beings while continuing its journey to be immersed into the practice/DANCE.