What is language: that, which can communicate. That, which has alphabets. That goes on to form words, which in turn converts in to sentences and henceforth communicate with some meaning and feeling attached to it, with the help of grammar and punctuations. It was fun when I asked them to sing the alphabet jingle ABCD……. And I rendered Asamyutha Hasthas - the single hand gestures that are our alphabets and the number 28 against the 26 alphabets was sort of balanced!
One volunteer said, a few words like Apple, Baloon, etc., and if combining 2 or more letters forms self-explanatory word as is the case with our Samyutha Hasthas, then using 2 hands we could make words. Since we have been bestowed with only 2 hands, it had to be confined to double hand gestures. God knows, if we had more what would have been the case! So there we go - justifying dance also has words.
We then have something like list of words with the same letter. For example, A for Apple, Airplane, Arrow, etc., and what else would best fit than our Viniyogas? I demonstrated and explained Pathaka Viniyoga. The beauty of our Viniyogas is much greater than any language, as, only with the viniyogas we could perhaps demonstrate a whole sentence. However, my next task was to form a sentence. I asked a volunteer to tell any sentence and I did the same in dance.
I could have chosen to stop here as it met all the prerequisites of the objective of language – to communicate. When you start digging, you would want to explore where this burrow would open and so did I. If any sentence is just read with no expression or modulation or punctuations, would it convey its true essence? The response was ‘no’, ‘perhaps no’, etc. We explored and that is precisely what we do when we communicate in dance. The aspects of Thalam where we use karvais (gaps) actually lay the foundation for the laya, which defines the whole objective of what we convey. I just realized that dance perhaps is far superior than a language. This art form has the substance to actually convey beyond any language. It’s like that soul and body concept in our philosophy, where soul is like water and body the vessel, and it takes the shape in the vessel it is being poured in to Wow!
Anyways, now establishing ‘dance as a language’, my end objective was to see how to connect ‘dance in day to day life’. How do I connect these? No I am not trying the HR stuff here. I immediately took the lead from this point – ‘how important expression is to life’. Connected Navarasas which form the most important aspect of our dance. After Angikam, we chose Vachikam and met the objective – Dance – The Language. Aharyam is anyways a part and parcel and now for the satvikam aspect which are the Navarasas. It’s the feeling and the feeling is defined through ones expressions or gestures (Abhinaya / bhavam / Anubhavas / Vibhavas/Sanchari bhavas et al.) So link established with dance in day to day life through our navarasas. But is that all?
I could simply quote Dhyana shloka and explain Shiva as the lord of dance and since he is there in every aspect of our existence, dance is in day to day life. Somehow I was not convinced. I asked, “When can one say someone is dancing?” To which responses were many. However it boiled down to movement. But is any movement dance? According to me, movement set to a time frame becomes dance. I asked if I could justify there is dance in life, if I said you are said to be alive when there is movement in the womb and this is defined by one of the main organ – heart - which has a pulse and that pulse is nothing but
rhythm. I had no resistance there, got the consensus. The earth rotates or is it revolves? Whichever is right, it’s got a movement and the movement set to a time frame of 24 hours defining our day and night, thus giving us our span of life when we celebrate our Birthdays. On that note, I said we are actually dancing by every minute we live and there were some smiles now.
Well, got a little confident, extended it a bit by saying dance is there in every walk of life. Being a HR student I would like to tell that when I become the sakhi or friend I don the role of a HR. Now there was resistance. What fun when you have no resistance? I was now daring to enter their comfort zone of knowledge. One said, we don’t agree to that. I smiled and asked him are you in love? He said “no”. Are any of your friends in love? He said “yes”. Do you feel his / her love? The answer was “no”. There you go I said. This sakhi, understands the feeling of her friend, her suffering and pain in separation, she empathizes with her state, takes the responsibility of conveying every minute detail to convince the hero about her friend’s state with the same intensity. She not only conveys but succeeds in convincing him and manages to bring him along to her friend and unites them. If this is not HR then what is it? And if that is HR, dance is there in every walk of life…..and applause followed. But the best applause for me then was the one who resisted clapping. That is when I thought this is my purpose; perform to make a difference with the objective - even if my efforts reach one soul in the whole audience you have succeeded. Mission accomplished but the journey still continues……..