go of dance rules
It was an elaborate set up, where we had to fix a theme on Bollywood, formulate a storyline and eventually, a script, alongside which, choreograph 12 dance pieces for 12 different sections of second, third and fourth grades. We began with the choreography bit. Although work began two months prior to the event, it was a tight schedule considering the regular school holidays, 5-day week, festivals etc.
In three weeks
of choreography, 12 songs were done. Soon the scripting followed and training
for the narrators began. Parallel to all these activities, we had the designs
discussed with the school authority and got the costumes designed. Properties
were marked and designed as well in another two weeks. The last bit that
remained was looping the dances and the narration together. This was quite
hysterical as dealing with 400 little brats at once isn't any fun job!
Getting one section to listen to you itself is a task. Getting 400 of them
to listen to you is not a joke. Getting 400 little ones listen to
you is an impossible task. Screaming over the microphone, threatening to
throw them out of rehearsals, threatening to disqualify the class from
the production, no punishment ever seemed to work. Being a teacher takes
immense amount of patience, we learnt.
Also being a dance teacher to these tiny ones meant letting go of all the dance rules such as rhythm, beat, precision etc., and see the beauty in the children as it is. It took time and effort but yes, it worked.
The show day
was a mess as usual. Someone's costumes weren't in place, someone hadn't
turned up, the stage just wasn't alright, the lights didn't fade out at
the right moment, wrong songs were played at the wrong time, dialogues
were forgotten, properties fell here and there. But still the performance
received a standing ovation by a crowd that outnumbered a thousand. The
children were beaming as usual and stole the show, nevertheless.
Bhat is a dancer of Bangalore based contemporary dance company Nritarutya.