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Centering Matters
- Aalaap

October 27, 2017

Dancer Navia Natarajan speaks about what’s going through her mind and body on the day of a performance….

How do you feel on the morning of a performance?
I am usually quiet and I keep to myself. I try not to think of the performance or the things associated with it. Rather, I focus on centering myself.

Do you have a routine that day?
I start my day as usual with yoga and then I move on to just resting and relaxing, freeing my mind of thoughts.

Do you watch what you eat that day? What about sleep?
I usually eat carbs and drink a lot of fluids. I sleep and rest as much as possible.

What's running through your mind that day?
I try to forget the past and not bother about the future. There are times when one’s mind is cluttered with thoughts about the performance… ; how would it pan out; will I be able to do justice to the art form; will I feel the space and energy; what would the outcome be; would my gurus and mentors like the performance; how would the audiences respond; so on and so forth.

Initially, those thoughts used to plague my mind and defeat the very purpose of the performance. But with age, life experiences and by interacting with stalwarts, I am beginning to understand that the whole purpose of the performance is not to just nail it but to enjoy the process of being on stage and to let go of all worries and be in that moment with myself. 

Do you have a prayer or someone you think of before you get up on stage?
I pray and surrender to the form that I am close to. I offer my gratitude to all my gurus and also to those who have had a huge impact in my life. I remember and thank them and seek their blessings before I get on to the stage.

Are you superstitious?
Not at all. 

How do you feel when you are in the wings and when the lights actually come on?
I definitely have butterflies in my stomach but at the same time a sense of calmness and trust in existence descends. My heart fills with gratitude and I feel this immense connect with the art form. Of late, I try to empty myself and just let things unfold.

Any interesting story you'd like to share from your performance career?
There was a period in my life when things were spiraling downwards. I had lost my self-confidence. A sense of fear had gripped my being and I felt lost. It even affected my performance. I was intimidated by the space around me on stage. But a person whom I fondly called ‘uncle’ entered my life by a sheer twist of fate. He taught me to befriend the space that surrounded me on stage; to embrace it with love and fondness; to feel empowered and energized. I distinctly recall how I battled the demons when I entered the stage for a particular performance during that phase. I could literally feel that I was breaking away from the shackles. I now use this phase of life as a reference point every time I hit a rough patch. I owe this transformation in my life to that soul.

Contact Navia Natarajan:

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