Childhood Dream: Kuchipudi Dance

There is inspiration to be found by peeking into others lives and looking at how they did what they did. What it took for them to achieve a goal or a vision they created for themselves and perhaps understand and learn to apply it to our own lives.

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Meet Kavitha Cheedalla, a Kuchipudi dancer and teacher who started learning dance as an adult and along with her daughters and now heads a dance school in Norther Virginia, near Washington DC. Practice, grit and determination through pain and sweat. The only way to achieve and to be happy, basking in the glory of knowing you did it.

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Kuchipudi Dancer.

all it takes

to move a mountain is not just for you have faith in you, but for someone else to have faith in you. Especially someone who knows how to move a mountain and move it well. Someone like a teacher. To have faith and to push you and to tell you, that you can do it.

I speak of dance. There was a time when I could do some intricate movements, with speed, grace and elegance without looking like I got out of a wringer. It was precisely 9 years ago that I performed my best role in a dance ballet. I was at my peak. I had worked hard, very hard, physically pushing my limits with some amazing mental strength and stamina, and I rocked the stage, I loved my scene. I was also pregnant – all of 19 weeks when I performed.

I don’t think I thought through the decision to continue to perform despite the sudden pregnancy. Never mind that I was just recovering from a bad attack of shingles and I was weak, but, I had agreed to perform much before any of these and so, there was no two ways about it.

Baby came.

Weight came.

Depression hit.

The blog started. Writing became my new passion. I was laissez faire with everything else.

Cartilage tear happened.

I gave up. I taught, I danced a bit, not pushing myself, not stretching my limits.

I was afraid.

Afraid of hurting myself again.

Afraid of believing in my capability.

Mainly afraid that I will let myself down.

No one believed in me.

No one pushed me.

I needed to be pushed and no one knew or cared enough to push me. To dance again. To believe in the dancer in me. I let them not believe in me. I failed myself and helped them fail me in return.

Until today.

A dear teacher from 9 years ago came back to visit us, and now I can dance again. I am sweating. My thighs hurt. My hips hurt. My brain is fried from remembering the routine on what comes after what. I panted. I couldn’t speak. I moved. I pushed my feet to remember that it was a 5 beat and not a more relaxed 3 beat.

I was told to have a vision. I was the only one in the place. I was asked to think back to how I felt back in the day. To feel what I felt. With my eyes closed. Why can’t I be the same person again. I can do it. I should be able to do it. I had to be selfish. The only important person in the class was me. No one else cared or cares and will ever care on what and how I perform, except for me. No one really ought care, except for me. Did I want to change status quo. Of course I did. The *want* came from within. It wasn’t there yesterday. It wasn’t there this morning, but it was there 2 hours ago when I stood as a student in front of a teacher who *believed* in me.

She picked up on the details. The way I made an entrance. The fluidity with which I could keep up with her voice. The grace with which I lifted my foot and placed it down. The way I moved my eyes with every step. The ease with which I remembered what came after what. She *told* me. She mentioned every single thing that I was doing *right*. Encouraging me. Goading me when I looked like I could pass out. Challenging me. Positively. Questioning me on why I should’t and what was stopping me from doing it better. Breaking it down into edible chunks.

Every single thing she did to me, I could see me in her. I have goaded, pushed, encouraged and challenged other students of mine. I believed in them. In their power to bring out their best.

The power of faith.

Today, I saw me in her. Or maybe she saw me in her.

Coz today, I have faith in me. Coz my teacher had faith in me.

The stars have aligned.

They dance to my tune.

Do you have any idea how that feels?

It feels like a thousand yellow buttercups waving in the gentle spring breeze to the tune of Katie Perry’s Firework








aka Nose Ring.

She hated wearing the mukkara for the performances. It pinched, made her nose sore, and forever kept slipping. Sticking her thumb and forefinger every few minutes to tighten it wasn’t helping her already flushed nose become red. The red marker on her fingertips was becoming fluid with the sweat and heat and now she was beginning to look like Rudolf the red nose reindeer. Thanks to her toddler who mentioned it the first time and now that song was stuck in her head.

Until he got annoyed at it interfering and yanked at it one day, threw it behind his shoulder and kissed her cherry lips.

Now all she could think of was him when she looked at that mukkara. All her expressions were now doubly challenging.

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