DANCE! The word itself has so many expressions, emotions and stories attached to it! Every dancer has a story to tell, just like me. A story which motivates them, helps them express their movements better to the audience. Performing in front of a live audience has its own satisfaction. The applause one gets after their performance, is what makes it all worth it!
For me, dancing started with a mere hobby, a twice a week class of Kathak and lots of dedication from my mother, as I was just 4 years old. Her no-excuses, pick-up and drop service and compulsory practice before and after the class was what made me fall in love with both, my mom and dancing. Growing up, I didn’t know becoming a performing artist would be the only thing I would dream of. And one day, completely unaware of what performing arts comprises of, I took a decision to take up Dancing as a full-time career, just because I thought I was meant to be.
This was when I was in my second year of engineering. I took up weekend classes followed by Diploma in dancing at a dance company in Mumbai; Sumeet Nagdev Dance Arts (SNDA). My life changed for good. And no, I did not drop out of engineering. I completed it with respectable marks and parted my ways with technical field with a smile, just because I knew my journey ahead was going to be worth the wait!
I started my career in performing Arts as a dance facilitator with SNDA. Initially, I used to think that choreographing a dance piece and delivering it with lots of energy is what a performance is all about. I was proven wrong several times, and I realized that dancing on stage is just NOT about DANCING, but about taking care of the performance as a whole. It’s a Big Process which needs good planning and strategical implementation of things. This planning and implementation is what collectively falls under the performing arts umbrella.
Thus, taking up Performing Arts gives a direction to an individual as to where exactly he/she fits in this Big Process!
Why Performing Arts?
It is one of the most growing and upcoming educational field in today’s changing world. Performing Arts of any kind; Dance, Music or Theatre has wide range of subjects and topics which many people are unaware of. Anyone who is remotely interested in arts in general, not necessarily a performer or an aspiring artist, can take up this course. Apart from learning about the aspects of performing, subjects like Light designing, Set designing, Artist management, Back stage management, Rehearsals direction are just a few topics of the course work for Performing Arts and performance studies.
Career as a Performing Artist
As the field itself is filled with options, a career in Performing Arts would also come in with as many options as possible. As a dancer, an individual would have to choose whether to get into teaching, choreographing OR performing. Once that’s decided, the next step would be to decide to start something of their own, to freelance or to work under a famous artist or a big brand name. It’s completely their choice and inclination towards the art.
In India, the field is still growing. But, there are many options available for youth as the amount of arts festivals, cultural events and start-ups are increasing to make people aware of the existence of the same. Thanks to the digital world where artists can connect on various social media platforms and share their work and creation. Various international artists have started to visit India to share their work and experience. Many times, these artists also let you use their movement vocabulary and ask you to stylize it the way you want. This helps you grow in the field in many ways and opens up many career paths.
Criteria and Eligibility
Eligibilty would completely depend on the love and passion for the art form, but to get into a university for a proper degree course would require basics in arts. So, the best start would be to get into Arts after 10th Grade while focusing on the area of interest. One could take up dance classes, get into a drama group or learn a new musical instrument along with their education.
If an individual wants to take up performing as a dance artist and is sure about it, can apply and audition for various dance companies. If anyone is planning to go abroad for their dance education then the age limit would be within 20 years. None of the dance companies abroad even let you apply if you have crossed the sweet 20 years of your life!
Stability and Security
Stability in this field would be possible if an artist settles with something he/she has achieved in their journey. But the problem with artists is that they always want to create more. Hence, to define stability is to define your own settlement. There is no staircase to success, you have to build one. Initial days for a performing artist are very crucial and can be accompanied by many possible failures. The only thing that can make one sail through would be the confidence to never give up, to have faith and to follow their dreams no matter what! The ability to express, having the freedom to create something powerful and paving your own path is what makes this field Unique.
On the other side, it could be difficult for people to understand your goals. Parental and societal pressure to settle for something more structured and concrete is completely valid and normal. But, I believe that if you are convinced by what you want, it is easy to convince your closed ones too. Give it time, prove them you are capable of it. It took me 4 years of Engineering and a job at a dance company to convince and make my parents understand the importance and value of performance in my life. In the end, it’s about finding the right balance without losing oneself in the process.
I chose to be a dancer for life in an impulse, but with the confidence to follow what I truly believed in. So, my message to everyone in general would be to have a vision in everything one wishes to pursue. A vision that motivates and makes you go crazy about when you wake up in the morning. A vision that will help you progress and guide you towards it every single day. Take that leap of faith and create something magical that can affect hearts for good and make this place a happier place for everyone around you!