Friday, October 31, 2008

Rhythms of Mohabbatein!

Have you ever been hypnotized? Been so caught by a phenomenon that you lost the sense of time or place and forgot your troubles and worries? I was! Quite recently in fact. It was the day before Diwali and my local TSC Ballroom was electrified with the anticipation of the event. Students decorating, staff organizing, volunteers in their dance practices, people preparing presentations - it was what had come to be, the best part of college life in the U.S. - a chance to represent India. As for me, I was busy pacing to and fro - talking - trying to get a sense of what would hold the crowd, I was to be the Master of Ceremonies, and as always it turned out to be a little more stressful than I had hoped it would be. But in the midst of this chaos, I was happily distracted by a dance practice on stage. The music playing, had a long history with me - and so I was riveted instantly! It turned out two of my close friends, Poonam and Arti were practicing a fusion dance for the 'Rhythms of Mohabbatein' - it is a brilliant piece of music - but for the moment - my attention was on the dance moves.

There is a way to do things, and then, there is a way things are meant to be done. If you saw Poonam and Arti dance, you would know it’s the latter. Their movements were perfectly synchronized, and their choice of dance steps was in impeccable resonance with the music. The 'Rhythms of Mohabbatein' is a most unique melody, in that it combines classical Indian and Western music to form competitive polarized expressions. If observed closely, one will notice that the Indian classical dance moves and the musical instruments used - portray a myriad of traditional Indian values. Even at the peak of passion, the dance moves and the music display a reserve and dignity - that is unique to Indian heritage. The Western dance steps on the other hand, are of a more free form, self enjoyment and celebration being the key expression in them, they portray a freedom of expression and a freedom of choice, that one has come to associate the west with. What intrigued me most was the fact that even though their dance moves were the same, their expressions gave a most transparent glimpse into the personalities they were in real life.

When Arti dances, the expressions display an unparalleled concentration, her movements full of grace. You see the beauty of controlled discipline and immense hard work in her dance. This is a person who takes diligent care and effort in the perfect execution of her steps. Her smile radiating sincere innocence and a refreshing sweetness that cannot leave you untouched. Arti loves to dance! You do not see her kind of commitment unless the person has a deep love of art. It is very easy to see that she would put the same kind of care and fidelity in all facets of life.

Poonam's dance on the other hand flows in stages. At first, her steps are correct but her expressions betray a distant focus, this until she breathes in the music - and then the change is evident. Her movements pick up a zing and her expressions are accented with mischief. Then you know - this is full on - signature Poonam. She goes into a world of her own, the crowd irrelevant, the worries cast aside and her muscles respond off their own accord. She is free - Bold and Beautiful! And then she dances with a carefree assurance that stems from genuine confidence. This is a person - who knows she is gorgeous. Her aura challenging you as if to ask - 'Can you handle it??'

In unison they are sight you cannot afford to miss. Every aspect of their dance speaks volumes. There is joy and there is elegance, there is poise and there is arrogance, there is a mischief and then, there is also innocence. It is a personification of youth and a celebration of being alive. Watching them energizes you - makes you eager to face life. As I stood there mesmerized by the act, my friend Sameer commented - "Dance is in their blood!! You can feel it."

Indeed it is! It is dance the way dancing is meant to be. There is a power to its beauty you cannot imitate and an honesty in its voice you can never fake. And when all the pieces fall in place, they create a mysterious force- That - is what hypnotizes you. And so this piece is dedicated to Poonam and Arti, may the gods of youth continue to shed upon them their magnificent glory. And may we be gifted with their endearing benevolence - in many dances yet to see!

- Sanket


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