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Beauty is dance deep
- Rama Vaidyanathan, New Delhi

December 3, 2009

Take a look at Lord Nataraja's face. It is so serene amidst all that frenetic activity of creation and destruction. He manages to maintain a calm demeanor in spite of expending tremendous amount of energy on His cosmic dance.

Look at us. There is so much happening around us. There is energy that is positive as well as negative. Good health requires us to keep off the negative energy and absorb only the positive energy. Like Lord Nataraja, we need to have an inner peace no matter what happens around us. Fitness extends beyond the body. A fit body is just a fit body, but a fit body with a peaceful mind is a beautiful body.

Beautiful... don't we all want to look beautiful?! But we dancers are special. We have different parameters for beauty. Chiseled features, doe shaped eyes, high cheek bones, well aligned teeth, glowing complexion and so on are not what we consider beautiful. For us, it is the beauty of our dance that has to reflect through us. Our faces have to be illuminated by the light of creativity burning inside us. Our whole personality has to exude the vibrancy of our art. This is what we call beautiful.
A dancer who is beautiful from within will appear beautiful to the world. Her inner peace comes from a sense of fulfillment and joy of someone who celebrates every moment of her artistic journey. Her contentment gives her the courage and fortitude to face all challenges that come her way. She is someone who uses dance as a medium to be a seeker. Such a dancer will have an invisible aura around her especially when she is on stage. Donít they say that the stage is the biggest give away of your inner self? Precisely why discontented dancers who consider the race more important than the ultimate goal end up looking quite uninspiring on stage. Wasting time on politicking, getting overly judgmental about others and harboring grudges will create a restlessness which will only affect their over all health.

Externally, it is important to take good care of our skin. The make up removal process has to be thorough and unhurried. Hair needs to be washed after every practice session or performance. Sweat clogs the pores on our scalp and the hair follicles can get weak. Therefore, dancers tend to lose their hair quite rapidly. To avoid that, we need to keep the scalp scrupulously clean at all times.

We lose a lot of water when we dance. It is important to replenish lost water with a high intake of healthy fluids. But please, never ever drink cold water, no matter how hot the weather is. Studies suggest that cold water slows down the digestive system and in turn can hamper the body metabolism. A regular massage too is a must for dancers. Its advantages are many, no wonder that it is an integral part of the Kathakali training. It not only calms the body, but also brings a glow to the face.

We are all born with looks that are not in our control. But as dancers, whether male or female, we can be as beautiful as our dance. For it is dance that gives us that inner strength, peace and tranquility. The three qualities required to be 'beautiful.' So let's all feel beautiful because after all beauty is dance deep.

Rama Vaidyanathan is one of India's leading Bharatanatyam dancers. She has been fortunate to have trained intensively under the legendry dancer Yamini Krishnamurty and Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan. Everyone who has seen Rama perform has been moved by her unique thought process and fresh approach to dance. While deeply routed in tradition she has evolved her own individual style without forsaking the core principles of Bharatanatyam. She belongs to the outstanding category of artistes at the ICCR, is a top graded dancer with the Doordarshan and has received the coveted Sanskriti Award instituted by the Sanskriti Pratishthan in Delhi. Rama has been performing for more than thirty years and is one of the most sought after dancers of her generation.

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