My Very First Dance Convention

I had never been to one, I had no idea what it would be like or whom I would meet there. So this was my opportunity to attend a dance convention for the very first time. Once we arrived at San Antonio, we were treated with such hospitality that I felt almost regal. We had transport whenever we needed it, and we were well fed and taken care of in all aspects.

So the time came to go to the convention and attend the inauguration. And guess who we met there? Guru Dhananjayan!! It was such an honor to meet him in person. Awards were given out that night to many masters of dance. And our very own guru, Prasanna was presented one too. We clapped the loudest and longest!!! There was a performance by Arathi school of dance, choreographed by our guruji, Prasanna. At 8pm we went to see the dance programs presented by other schools. That night we saw a dance drama called "Hamsa", which was basically Swan Lake in Bharata Natyam style. This was done by Arathi School of Dance in collaboration with other dance organizations in San Antonio. Which included African dancing and Flamenco! Then we got to see another production by S.T.E.M theater of India. This was quite a unique performance because they had done a fusion of Kathak, Jazz, Yoga and Martial Arts. I personally enjoyed it very much. The choreographer was Madhu, the daughter of Maya Rao (Kathak guru of Prasanna).

Well after a wonderful Friday night, we went to our house and decided to rehearse. So you can imagine the next morning we were all pretty tired. None of us could make it to the work shops. This is mainly because our show was in the afternoon at 2:30pm, so we had to start getting ready at 11!! Missing the workshops, I think, is my only regret, but there is always a next time.

The time came when we were to perform, Anubhava Mantapa. Everything went very smoothly and before you knew it, we were done! None other than Guru Dhananjayan came up on the podium and said wonderful things about our show, and Prasanna’s choreography and complimented Prasanna by saying that quote "People used to compare Prasanna with me …" WOW is that great or what? He called us all back on stage again, and everyone applauded again. It was quite a wonderful experience.

That evening we had the privilege of seeing some master performances. The first being by Ramaa Bharadvaj, a dance drama based on old Indian animal fables in Kuchipudi style. It was just great! Then we saw Guru Dhananjayan himself perform a piece in Kathakali style. All he had was drum beats, no music, no song. His performance was just mind blowing, I will have to describe it to you in person for you to really understand what I am talking about…..What a night that was! We also saw Sheila Mehta perform Kathak. Sheila ji actually stayed in the same house as us, so we got to see her practice that morning too!

In conclusion I want to say that after meeting all these maestros and other performers from all over the world, I feel that I was part of something big. And I must mention also, the respect and adulation that Prasanna received from all his previous students and other gurus that knew him from before, was heart warming. I was proud to be a part of Soorya. Thank you, Prasanna, for giving me this opportunity. You can count me in for the next dance convention, no matter where it is!

- Saroni