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A Recap of 2023: Navigating Dance and the Dance of Life

As 2023 winds down, I can’t help but reflect the wild ride that it was - a delicate balance between family, work, and my passion for dance, all while moving from India to the UK. Settling in a new country meant adapting to a new lifestyle, ensuring my family’s smooth transition and prioritising their well-being alongside career goals. Time management and consistency was crucial, especially with regard to taking care of my 8 and 3-year-old. 





Amidst this hustle, a poem written by Gio Evan, shared by Anita Ratnam on Facebook, became a guiding thought. 


Try to travel, otherwise

you may become racist,

and you may end up believing

that your skin is the only one

to be right,

that your language

is the most romantic

and that you were the first

to be the first.


Travel,

because if you don't travel then

your thoughts won’t be strengthened,

won’t get filled with ideas.

Your dreams will be born with fragile legs and

then you end up believing in tv-shows, and

in those who invent enemies

that fit perfectly with your nightmares

to make you live in terror.


Travel,

because travel teaches

to say good morning to everyone

regardless of which sun we come from.


Travel,

because travel teaches

to say goodnight to everyone

regardless of the darkness

that we carry inside


Travel,

because travelling teaches to resist,

not to depend,

to accept others, not just for who they are

but also for what they can never be.

To know what we are capable of,

to feel part of a family

beyond borders,

beyond traditions and culture.

Travelling teaches us to be beyond.


Travel,

otherwise you end up believing

that you are made only for a panorama

and instead inside you

there are wonderful landscapes

still to visit.


- Gio Evan, poet and songwriter.

Translated from Italian.


The poem beautifully emphasises the power of travel in broadening perspectives and encouraging exploration of the unknown. Needless to say, the exposure to diverse cultures across the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Germany, Poland, and the UK significantly influenced my dance practice and journey. Immersing myself in these varying cultural landscapes provided a rich tapestry of experiences that directly impacted my artistry. Each country offered unique nuances, traditions, and artistic perspectives that deeply shaped my understanding of dance. 





Embracing an open-minded approach, I found inspiration and influence from a multitude of sources worldwide. The Netherlands refined my movement, Belgium spurred innovation, Norway emphasised storytelling, Germany honed precision, Poland infused tradition, and the UK, with its diverse arts scene, encouraged experimentation. My experiences highlighted that artistic inspiration can stem from the most unexpected places - from the architectural grandeur of a cityscape to the serenity of a countryside retreat. These experiences provided food for thought, offering avenues to enhance and present the art form more effectively.


I indeed grappled with allocating time efficiently to perform, urging me to prioritise and focus on performances that contributed to both my personal and artistic development. One particularly fulfilling artistic experience this year was the premiere of "Amma - An ode to every mother and every life that nurtured another life" at the charitable London Miscellany Foundation. The event aimed to raise funds for the Queen Camilla Book Club, supporting educational initiatives for children. Performing for a cause was indeed immensely gratifying.


Additionally, I managed to make time to revisit and explore the traditional aspects of Kuchipudi, delving into the unique characteristics of each bani/style. Sharing this newfound knowledge with my enthusiastic students brought me immense joy and created a shared experience. Our collective journey led to engaging discussions on the challenges, nuances, and the inherent beauty of the art form. Despite frequent work-related travels that disrupted my artistic practice, dance consistently served as my sanctuary, providing solace amid the stress, anxiety, and uncertainties of life.


As the curtain gently falls on 2023, my aspirations for 2024 are rooted in the desire to be consistent and dedicated to my arts practice, explore newer dimensions of dance and take it to stages around the world. The lessons from 2023 are a reminder that art transcends the stage, and permeates every facet of our lives. 


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