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Aayana

What I learnt traveling with a bunch of Millennial Contemporary Dancers in India.


This vast fabric you’ve clothed yourself with, that you adorn yourself with, this false prejudice,

What happens when you feel uncomfortable in your cloth with all these prejudices?

What happens when you realize?

When you realize that all that you’ll ever do is only for yourself, only to satisfy you?

All your ideas associating yourself with the goal of a greater society,

your belief system structured around ideas of the yesteryear,

all in a closed circuit, coming back to yourself,

All answers leading to one person, you! Do you ever hope to find yourself?

To undress yourself off these false prejudices, values and thought patterns that you have cocooned yourself with?

Laying bare, listening to your breath as you breathe, in the dark solitude,

It gets scary, at the same time it is surreal,

It’s cold and dark, you’re all of a sudden surprised! Surprised that you’re able to bear the dark!

To lead a life of adventure,creativity, love, is to thrive in the dark, being the light of life!

Speaking for myself, honestly I’ve always been skeptical about going all in,putting all my coins on the table! about realizing all that is in my head, feeling that intensity and converting that into something real! In the end, bearing physical results, that leaves everyone else wonder, appreciate, in awe, in doubt, apprehensive, inspired, and interested.

So when I was offered a chance to have a go at this world for three days, I was all in! I was excited! This was my chance to discover the world I’ve been running away from, that I’ve been so scared to peep into, ironically, also the world I thought I fit into.

Aayana is a dance company currently based out of Bangalore, India, run by a dear friend, Manognya Balaraju. So when I was invited to spend three days with them for their performance at a dance festival in Hyderabad, it was a nonsensical yes!

For me the trip was a ride into the unknown, it was about learning and it was about experiences with amazing strangers.

There is no time to regret. There is no time to think, only time to live.

Your past is your library of learnings, to help you make better decisions, your future doesn’t exist if you don’t push your self in the present to do things that will get you to be in the places you’ve always wanted to be in! In the present though, you can only act, you can be brilliant or you can goof up. Also, you cannot be brilliant without goofing up! Goof ups are so important to get you to understand your realities. Dance through your goofups! Dance into your brilliance! Aayana as a dance team thrive on goofing up! Goofing up helps them walk through the tight rope of disciplined practice.

Physical Pain is a reality.

As I was walking myself through the elements in the studio, I came across a huge container of painkillers. None of these dancers should an iota of pain in their practice sessions, in reality, they were in pain also in reality, they are booked, the shows keep coming! No problem there! For success to show up, you’ll need to say yes to whatever kind of opportunity you’re getting, even if it means you’re doing it for free! Practice! Make it a habit to practice your art! Say yes! Make sure you’re busy! Yes, even when you’re in pain, pain you can manage. Remember you signed up for this!

Quantify your output!

It’s easy to have fun, get lost in the work you’re doing, make sure all that effort is seen in the performance of your craft. Make leaps,jump as high as you can, show it!

Being nice. Being beautiful from the inside.

Its tough to get around the fact that many of us discount ourselves into believing, it’s ok, it’s ok to slack. Not being the best version of ourselves, instead in the name of self love, we discount ourselves into accepting our not so nice, shitty selves. Being nice these days is rare, Aayana functions less like a company and more like a family! It takes quite a lot of work to mold yourself to let go sometimes, trying to snap at the other person at every opportunity. You don’t form teams by pointing peoples misgivings, you form them by accommodating! Be nice!

Detaching yourself from the world around, the world of doubts, the world of ifs and buts.

Be the best/strive for the best and you’ll automatically become deaf to negative clutter. This is where the practice part finds true meaning, this is where we talk about the flow. A state of trance, you never know how those two hours went by, just dancing! At the end of it, you’re full of life! Full of sweat! And of course, you’re grinnning to yourself for no reason! Talk about getting high on work!

Surprise! Be silly!

This was something I picked up for myself. For a long time I’ve never surprised anyone, I’ve always found it a little silly for a start. Well, it is silly, so what? When I try to think of moments that I can truly remember, it’s always the silly ones that come to mind, the first. They make you chuckle, they make you come alive! Let the guard down for a bit! Be silly!

Embracing the bitterness, realizing the highs, surviving the lows.

Sometimes it’s just not going to work out, sometimes you’re bitter on yourself, you’d want to be hard on yourself. This is where the team steps in and helps in realising the highs that you’ve been through as a team, helping with the feel good factor that is so very essential for maintaining a healthy mental state of mind. A little bit of support, a little bit of empathy, goes a long way!

Be yourself, don’t apologize for it.

Show that swag off! Own yourself! Be responsible for yourself! Be sensible for yourself! That said, there is a very fine line between arrogance and self confidence. The goal is to find that balance, you don’t want to be a negative vibe at the same time you want to walk yourself through this judgemental world, standing up for the work that you do. It is an art to pull yourself through, explaining, what is it that you do? what does it mean for the world to experience a part of yourself through your art? Be open to conversation, have the patience to explain. For me, the world of Bharatanatyam opened up because of these beautiful people at Aayana. I’d be as clueless as ever if it wasn’t for their efforts in making me understand, making me find my appreciation for the art form.

Give yourself a chance, a chance to grow!

All of us have to start somewhere, to constantly see ourselves in the context we find ourselves in. What are we really doing? What do we stand for at the very crux of our being? This is where we need to be kind, to ourselves. What we’re doing at the moment might be something totally different from what we’d want to do as our life progresses. To learn, to seek, to grow should be approached with a certain amount of maturity and love for yourself. No one can help you if you’re not willing to let go of your comfort, finding a new place to house your latest dreams and ambitions.

Guard your time!

It’s only when you want to carve that time for yourself, that it becomes the most difficult to do so. Everyone seems to be wanting your time. Time management they say, in reality it’s about you not budging with the time you’ve given yourself to accrue a skill or to learn something that would help you get to where you want to be. Especially if you’re traveling, it becomes so much more of a challenge to learn more, to hone your craft. Take time to recharge! To gather new perspectives to taking feedback, to improve!

Thrive! Don’t just survive!

The learning curve, is a dangerous pin curve! The hair pin curve is difficult to stick to.Compliment it with amateur projects for credibility! Start practicing! Early! Do more!

There are trade offs,duh!!! obviously there are trade offs, family, friends, everything that you hold dear right now will start to exist in a different, secondary world. You are in a tunnel, running towards your light! That tunnel could be long or short, the secret is to keep going and make running a way of life.

Find your order.

It’s a mess! You’ll need to find your order through the work that you do. Quite literally your work becomes your way of living and it’ll start showing off your character.

Act! Act now, before you lose your spontaneity!

All talk and no action is a downer! Hustle is life, hustle is everything, it’s good to have hustle as your reflex muscle but hustle is nothing if you can’t overcome your laziness! Push through the lazy bit, start doing even if it is shitty work. Just work. Work in the direction you want to be headed, it’s going to be shitty, it’s going to be tough, pushing through laziness is 40% of the work done. The rest of the 60% is all about fine tuning your shitty work.

Originally published at medium.com

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