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Dance: A void filled

Preethi Tatambhotla
We, at the Parva, asked Preethi, a Kuchipudi danseuse practicing in Hyderabad, to pen for us what her rangapravesham meant to her then, and what it means to her now. Here's Preethi sharing her treasured moments...

The fifth of June 2011 takes me back to one of the biggest days of my life, the day I performed my Rangapravesam.

As a child, each time I saw someone dance on stage, it was beyond my imagination to picture myself as a dancer. Yet, my mother could see me as one and enrolled me for dance classes when I was eight years old. I, however, could only realize its significance after I turned 16.

At such a time, my dreams took a turn when I started training under the doyen of Kuchipudi Padmasri Dr. Sobha Naidu. She has always been a role model and a great source of inspiration, and motivation to me. I feel I’m blessed to be able to understand nuances of Kuchipudi under her able guidance. She always encouraged me by providing opportunities in her various productions and enabled me to realize my passion for dance.

Rangapravesam was a dream come true for me. It was more a journey than a destination; a journey that started several months before the actual day. It was a beautiful journey that transformed a hobby into a passion. I eagerly looked forward to attend my class, spend quality time with my guru, and better understand the arm form each morning. Persevering with great dedication to learn the intricacies of this art form was a great experience. Gradually, academy became my second home.

Rangapravesam not only helped me learn to dance better but also helped me understand how difficult organizing a program can be. Planning the guests to printing invitations, A lot went into the preparation. Nothing would have been possible without the tremendous support I got from my family who always encouraged me, believed in my passion and went to any extent to support me.

Finally on the day, I took my guru’s blessings, tied my bells and ascended the stage. I have never felt more nervousness in my life as I did on that day when the opening prayer started. I set off to perform with a mixture of feelings. Little nervous, scared, excited and anxious but in just about minutes I could feel from within the beautiful feeling of being on stage. As I performed, blinded by the lights, sweat trickling down my face, dancing along with a great orchestra, the stage all for myself, I was carried into an entirely different world. At the end of it my brain tried in vain to figure out what had just happened in the three hours that passed like three minutes. Though it has been a year since my Rangapravesam, I still remember how I exactly felt while I was doing each piece of the recital.

I have seen lots of people doing a Rangapravesam to flaunt recklessly, to bid adieu to dance and later live like it made no difference in their lives. Everyone has his or her own perspective towards it. To me it was not a mere event that gave a few pictures of beautiful memories. Rangapravesam literally means ascending the stage and the climb isn’t over with the event – that is just the beginning. Beginning of a journey that directs me through the path of happiness and transports me into a world of bliss. Since that day I have been yearning to learn, practice and perform.

In the past year, I have performed at places like Narada Gana Sabha in Chennai, Bhadrachalam, Cuttack, Mysore Palace, Bangalore, and Bhilai. During these performances, I encountered a diverse audience that has been a great motivation. Furthermore, the past year has given me lots of exposure that helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses.

I realized that there is lot more to learn and now an year after my Rangapravesam, reminiscing one of the most beautiful memories of my life I cannot imagine how my world would have been if my mother didn’t put me into dance classes years ago. There would have left a void in me that couldn’t have been filled by anything else. I offer my salutations to my beloved guru and my dearest parents without whose support I would have missed out on such a beautiful world!

Rangapravesam – A profound experience that will always remain very close to my heart.