Nritya – My Form of Self Expression

According to Sage Bharat, ” Nritya is a culmination of ” Natya” or acting and “Nritta” or dance. Dance and Theater are entwined together by the thread of music and if either were to be torn away, “Nritya” would be lifeless and insipid. ” Nritta” is incomplete without “abhinaya” or expression and expression without movement and music is a body without a soul.

Dance is an expression of one’s self in rhythmic movements. Sublime, omnipotent emotion is translated into a frenzy of intricate footwork, multifarious hand gestures and a mosaic of expressions. I never knew that dance would be my medium of self expression. Or to be more precise, “Nritya”. Ever since I can remember, whenever I heard music, I was filled with an overwhelming urge to dance. So intense was my desire to dance that despite my father’s intense dislike for dance, I danced quietly behind closed doors without his knowledge.

College brought new opportunities and avenues for performances. The encouragement from my peers and the admiration of my juniors led me to dance in abandonment on stage and in competitions. As I won accolades and fame, I experienced a euphoria that lifted me off my dancing feet and I became one with my Creator ( who I call Nataraja, the God of Dance).

But this bliss was short lived as the stress of being a nursing student, an active athlete and a dancer made my lumbar disc herniate and I experienced excruciating back pain. The pain was so intense that I could not even walk. The doctor explained that the herniated disc or” slipped disc” was pinching my sciatic nerve that innervated my left leg and which was responsible for my agonizing pain. It left the toes of my left leg numb and tingling. I felt shattered. I could not believe that I would not be able to dance. It was like being sentenced to life imprisonment in a cold, dark dungeon. I spent 2 months in the hospital on a hard, wooden bed with weights that were attached to a belt that encompassed my waist. I was only allowed to visit the restroom. I had to lie on my back for twenty four hours everyday for 2 months. My patience knew not its own limitations and I felt frustrated, angry and disappointed.

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