Friday, October 19, 2007

Shake a Leg...

Jhalak Dikhla Jaa judge Jeetendra recently said that dancing was about letting go of your inhibitions. Like most art forms, dance is also a very self-centered expression of emotion--joy, excitement, love et al.

Or so I thought till I joined the dandiya crowd. Some dance for joy, no doubt. It's evident in their smiles, in their movements, in their obvious enjoyment of swaying to the music. Some dance with pressed lips and blank faces. Some try really hard and the 1-2-3-4 in their heads obliterates everything else. Some are alive for the moment and let themselves go. Some dance with determination. And some dance as a pure demonstration of technique, as if to show how much better they are at it.

Expressions vary too. Some look you in the eye and smile. Some look at your dandiya stick, ascertaining the exact moment to hit it. Some have a very focused look, like in an exam. Some look through you. Some, especially children/adolescents dancing with adults, look either utterly self-conscious or supremely disdainful. The pros look indifferent, dancing in a vaccuum, indifferent to who, if anyone, is partnering them. And some actually look sulky.

Having known the utter joy of letting yourself be one with the music, I wonder what other motivations they could be for dancing, especially in a setting that is community-based, non-competitive and purely voluntary. Does anyone have any ideas?