Dance Your Way To A Healthy Life
Parent Circle|April 2017

Indian classical dance is about a beautiful synchronisation of music, expression and rhythm. It is also a wonderful pathway to a healthy mind, body and soul. Find out why you should enroll your child in a dance class now.

Kalyani Krishna

Pragnya Jayanti, a class X student of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Chennai, regularly participates in various dance programmes in her school. Among the tallest girls in her class, this 16-year-old Kuchipudi dancer believes in balancing her studies and her passion for dance.

This wasn’t the story about eight years ago. During her primary school days, Pragnya (who wasn’t into dance then) was bullied for being chubby and short. To counter this, she took to classical dancing, and her journey of transformation into a healthy and happy child began. Her mother, Kalpana Jayanti, is a Kuchipudi dancer herself. Having watched her mother teach dance to several little girls like her, Pragnya took to the traditional dance instinctively.

“I was never asked to learn dance by my mother but I voluntarily took up the art form. My mother is a hard taskmaster and wouldn’t let us go till we got all our steps, body movements, mudras and facial expressions right. I used to write on a piece of paper asking why she is so hard on me, and slip it under her pillow. However, I soon realised that she is my guru first and then my mother. Her rigorous training paid off in no time. I started slimming down and my muscles toned up. I overcame the tag of an obese girl. Voila! I started playing all sports, and the bullying stopped,” says Pragnya with a wide grin, as her mother nods in agreement.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CLASSICAL DANCE

The various forms of Indian classical dance, each with its unique nature, are believed to have originated from Lord Shiva as he poses in his trademark Shiva Tandavam. Ayurveda believes dance has the power to heal and create inner awareness.

As dancers move their bodies and perform to the beat of music and chime of anklets, they emote through abhinaya (action), aangika (gestures), vaachaka (dialogue) and ahaarya (make-up). All traditional Indian dance forms involve total body movement – the sway of the torso, hand movements and footwork.

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