Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dance without music

The Hershey Theatre was crammed with noise and excitement as the different university dance troupes waited their turn for the dance competition.  The MC said, "There are two types of people in the world.  People who are Desi - and people who want to be Desi!" Here I was, at the South Asian Alliance Culture show, realizing that at this moment, I fit snugly into the last category.

Seven universities were presenting their entries. Each school featuring dancers who had worked for months to produce their 15 minute segments, featuring jumbled soundtracks of Western music inter-mixed with Bollywood and classical Indian tunes.  Original choreography blending modern dance with Bollywood exhuberence.

I was enjoying the presentations.  But the real reason I was here was to see Alex' friend Parshvi dance.  I had been waiting for weeks and was honoured to be sitting close to the stage, alongside her parents.

She and the others made their entrance, swirling in traditional costumes and quickly changing into traditional Hogwartz school uniforms.  The set was great, the music was there, pounding a beat.  Then suddenly, it stopped.  The music just stopped in the middle of the performance.

I was sitting close enough to see the dismay on the dancer's faces quickly turn into panic.  Yet they weren't missing a beat.  Then, looking at each other, they stopped on their marks.  They looked at each other.  And then, they went on dancing - without music.

The audience tried to clap a beat but it turned into thunderous applause and a standng ovation.

What a moment.  How amazing.  I hope Parshvi and her co-dancers get a special award for their truly inspiring performance.

My sincere hope for those brave dancers is a sense of backstage triumph - not  failure - for being able to master that moment.  The dancers became the music.  

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