I like being in a group class. I like the camaraderieship. I like that I can improvise something by watching other strong dancers in the group. I like that my lack of practice will not be a showstopper and that in a pinch, I can lean on my dance mates. I have seen Hari and Ram take private lessons for their pursuits. I have seen their every move being analyzed by their coach/teacher. I have always thought I would rather not have that much spotlight on me.
With social distancing and stay at home situation, dance class too had to transition to virtual learning. And with that the dynamics changed. It’s one thing for the teacher to take turns and shift her gaze when all of us are dancing under the same roof, but a totally different thing to do that when the group is on a tiny screen with music and video lagging at different rates for each of us. So the plan was to have each of us perform the old piece individually and learn the new piece as a group.
To say that I was terrified in my first class is an understatement. For those few minutes, I felt lost without a group to lean on. All that lack of confidence was staring at my face. How am I going to go through this, class after class? I did not want something that gave me joy to become a source of stress. I had to change my mindset. I had to find a way to become comfortable being in the spotlight for those few minutes.
Thankfully, art came to my rescue. When dance itself is a source of motivation, there is a different vibe and energy associated with it. It’s more about the dance, than you as a dancer. I learnt to take refuge in the beats, the rhythm, and the music. Class became an opportunity to show what I have practiced, ask for feedback and see how I can get better.