Blending it in !
TJ (Tejasvi Subramanian ), freshman at Emory was born and brought up at St Louis, Missouri. She is talented young girl who loves to learn as many dance forms as possible.
I interviewed her regarding her dance experience in America and how she still chose to maintain her roots and culture.
It was just another day of our usual Mctyeire Hall baking sessions. Everyone was involved in some activity; from batter mixing to adding whipped cream. I found this an ideal option to ask TJ about her dance experiences.
As the smell of pumpkin bread lingered through, I asked TJ casually, “ So TJ I know you’ve learnt dance since you were young and you performed your Arangetram too. What forms of dances were you trained? “ Without any wavering she replied, “ So, I started learning dance when I was three years old and I learnt, Ballet, Tap , Jazz, Modern, Point, Lyrical and Bharatanatyam” . I noticed the confidence and pride she portrayed with her dance talent and moved on questioning her about why and how she pursued them.
As her stories moved on, I could see the culture and the passion for dance she was brought up with. Ballet and Bharatanatyam have been her personal favorites and the most challenging. According to her, they are both very “technical” and the major difference that sets apart Bharatanatyam it’s the facial movements and the liveliness of it. When I asked, “ Despite th… “
“ RAADHIKA , Can you pass me the spoons from the table? “, yelled Claire, all busy in the pumpkin bread preparation. I handed over the spoons and after little conversations with them, I moved on talking to TJ reflecting over my experience on how I personally like Bharatanatyam in comparison with the other Indian forms mainly because of the expressions. With a heavy nod, she added, “ My mother learnt Bharatanatyam in her teens too but she couldn’t perform her Arangetram because of family issues” Her mother felt it would be great for TJ and her sister to learn the art and excel in them with the given opportunities.
When I commented that one aspect that stands out of this dance form was its divine connections to Hinduism and India. She reiterated on this fact saying, “ To me Bharatanatyam was a good way to connect back to a religion. A lot of my steps portray the epics in Hinduism. But at the same time I think it is not necessary for all Indian girls to feel this way. My Indian friends from St. Louis never had this belief of dancing like I did. They just focused learning Western form of dances”
We slowly diverted our stories to my passion for this thoughtful art and talked about how our teachers matter the most for creating an artistic individual. One of the important points I noted during this conversation was her identification of similarities between the postures of Bharatanatyam and Ballet. “ Both forms require good control of arms and shoulder. The use of leg muscle is of high importance for both of them” TJ said.
" I personally like the blend of dance forms I've learnt over the years" she added.
Slowly our kitchen was filled up with everyone munching in the Pumpkin bread we prepared and our conversation was slowly diluted to college talks.