Dance and the Mind Screen: Dance workshop by Anita Ratnam 
- Teresa Sendrey, CA 
December 13, 2007 

The workshop taught by Anita Ratnam on October 30th, was open to interpretation on what each individual learned from the brief drills in the few hours that she was with us. I feel that the workshop was taught with many hints and layers introduced, and open-ended answers in hope to let the students think for themselves. No definite answers were given because I think that the point may have been to teach us not to constantly rely on answers from your teachers. I noticed that she was not trying to teach a lot of different things at once, but instead wanted us to feel how our minds worked in each different situation that she put forth. Of course it is too short a time to learn anything, but I think that was another point that she wanted to show, that the time was too short and not try to cram too much, how light and airy your mind should feel when you are learning things, and to be free to interpret whatever we got out of it with no boundaries. 

In this society it is so important to know all of the answers and to get it right. Maybe she demonstrated that sometimes we cannot get all answers and sometimes it is not necessary to be that way and need to know all the answers. She showed by example that what she was teaching us was exactly what she meant to teach us, and each motion, or absence of motion was meaningful. 

I think that in the future I may still learn from this class. It was the first class I went to where I was expecting a workout and even prepared my friend to be really sore, but there was no hard workout, just a lot of thinking and feeling of different situations. We learnt what it was to slow down and be able to feel your body and your mind.

I may have learned something and gotten better without even knowing it. I know I learned some physical things, such as some martial arts moves, but maybe the feeling of the spaces when we were doing nothing was really encouraging us to do more with less, and sometimes just do nothing. 

Learning always goes both ways, so I noticed that Anita was very in tune and alert to all of the students in the class. She was so relaxed that she could react in the moment and interact with people. This is unique because sometimes most people are so preoccupied with so many things in their life that they do not know what it is like to be really in tune to the surroundings in the present.

Teresa Sendrey is a student of Orange Coast College. The workshop by Anita Ratnam was organized by Angahara Dance Ensemble and the Dance Department, Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA.