Respect through DANCE
One of the pillars we focus on in the Spring is RESPECT. So, how is respect implemented in the avenue of dance?
There’s a few components of respect within dance, some specific to the Indian art forms, that you may not even realize:
- Take a Bow. A bow at the end of a routine has and will always be a sign of respect. It is believed that the deeper the bow, the deeper the respect. It is always important to signal the end of your routine on stage and showing respectful gratitude to the audience through a bow.
- Namaste. This is a gesture containing a slight bow with hands in a prayer position close to the chest. The translation is “I bow to you” or “my spirit honors you”. It is a sign of humility and often found in common greetings across India. We also see the term being used at the end of yoga sessions symbolizing the conclusion of the class as well as gratitude and respect to the teacher.
- Namaskaram in Classical Dance. This is one of my favorite components of Bharatanatyam (classical indian dance) with which I grew up. It is a demonstration that is done at the beginning and end of class. You do it before you take your first step of a dance and right after your last step of a dance. This practice denotes asking permission from Mother Earth to dance on her (also why classical dancers will not wear shoes during a routine). It also expresses gratitude to God, the Guru, and the audience.
- Dance is a Tool. Yes, we emphasize the importance of knowing steps and perfecting a routine, but, embedded in our teachings and inn our classroom is the cultivation of teamwork through a common language using dance as that tool. Students learn the respect for authority, team members, themselves and the art – all simultaneously.
Dance empowers a fun yet structured environment; brings about trust and implements respect for everyone involved.