Teenage Indian dancer debuts at legendary Carnegie HallOctober 16th, 2011 - 1:43 pm ICT by IANS
New York, Oct 16 (IANS) Carnegie Hall, New York’s legendary concert venue, isn’t the first venue that comes to mind when you think of a teenage artist’s debut. But 15-year-old Indian American dancer Aditi Ahuja did just that with a solo performance there.
“It was an amazing experience. I could not have asked for a better, more fitting hall,” said Aditi, a second year student on the honour roll of the Riverdale Country School.
“At the beginning there was a great deal of pressure and I was incredibly nervous. But as I kept dancing, I became more and more comfortable on stage. In the end, it was a very rewarding experience,” Aditi, who has studied Bharatnatyam under Guru Swati Gupte Bhise since the age of six, told IANS.
No wonder she rates her arangetram, or debut dance, “as the most memorable performance by far”.
“Though I have fond memories of my first performance, I will never forget the nerves or the relief I felt when it was over and I had not made a mistake,” said Aditi, who has had 10 performances in the US, but none of them solo.
“Arangetram is supposed to be the first time one is able to assume the heavy responsibility of performing alone,” she explained.
It’s not just the critics or Indians alone, but Americans too are impressed by this gifted dancer, who also plays chamber music with the New York Youth Symphony and has performed the cello at several international music festivals in Spain, Italy and Russia.
Prior to each of her items, her Guru Bhise, “explained the meaning behind the movements in the dance. This helped to draw in the audience so that they became more involved and responded ecstatically to the performance”, Aditi said.
Yet like many Indian kids, she “first started at the age of six because my parents brought me there. But as years passed and I continued to improve, I found that I could never really fully bring myself to quit despite the physical pain”.
“So, I suppose I began to get interested in it when I realised that I was one of the few people who could actually dance Bharatnatyam,” said Aditi who finds even her American classmates interested in Bharatnatyam and her experience with it.
“They sometimes ask me about the dance or for a demonstration. They are very curious and supportive of my dance and are willing to listen to all my complaints, which is very helpful and motivating for me.”
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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