Feedback from users is a valuable mechanism in marketing. But it is something we have not tapped adequately in performing arts. So as an interesting feedback exercise, I provoked my students to think and write down what learning dance means to them. In today’s column, I will let them speak in their own voices:
Archana Shivan, 21: In this one month when I was not dancing, I had become angry and ungrateful. I did not understand why I was behaving like this until the day I went to dance class. I came back from class refreshed. I was not angry anymore. I went and hugged my parents tightly. It was then I realised that dancing was home to me. It was where I found peace and calmed myself.
Janhavi Jain, 16: There are times when I cannot express my emotions in words; I can only dance them out. When I dance, I feel free, I feel strong, I feel like I’m in control, like everything will be fine, I feel secure. This is why I dance and this is what dance means to me. I am grateful to have dance in my life.
Radhika Jain, 16: Whenever I feel low, dance helps lift up my mood. It makes me forget all worries. Dance not only helps me express my emotions but has also made my face more expressive, especially after I have learned the ‘Abhinaya’ pieces. Thanks to dancing, I feel a sense of rhythm in my body. I have been learning dance for four years and I have become more disciplined and confident.
Sowmya Narayanan, 15: Everyone has a thing, which makes them feel that now even if life comes to an end, they won’t be unsatisfied or unhappy. For me, that one thing is dance.
Aarushi Garg, 15: Dance and music play a very important role in countering today’s tough competition for acquiring more marks in school. It soothes and relaxes my stressed mind and at the same time educates me and stimulates my concentration and creativity. Also, dance brings grace in my personality which is reflected in my talking and walking.
Namita Jalan, 15: This beautiful world of dance makes me feel rejoiced. I feel I am never alone. I always have a companion. Dancing helps me stand apart from the crowd because I can say I am a classical dancer which makes me feel proud as well as different. Bharatanatyam has taught me how to dance from the soul. Every time I dance I try to bring poise, elegance and grace to it, which every dancer should possess to make every moment delightful.
Aakanksha Kumar, 20: Dance has helped me grow as a better person. It has taught me the importance of hard work and dedication. I love dance so much that I have never bunked my dance class to hang out with friends or go to a party. Dance class always comes first.
Shivapriya Dayal, 14: Dance is a way of thinking. I love dance because it is all about subtlety, grace, elegance and discipline. All these things are not traits you are born with, like a pretty face or a beautiful body; these are the things you gather with experience and time. That’s why I love dance. You don’t need to be beautiful to dance; dance makes you beautiful.
These voices—simple and heartfelt—say it all. No other touchstone is required. Learning dance transforms the learners in incredible ways.