“Your girls are looking like princesses!” I told the mother. All of us – the two girls, the mother, a few others and I were waiting to go on stage for our bollywood dancing performance. And these two girls decked in pretty bollywood costumes, shiny golden ear-rings and bangles, with their hair nicely set and a tiny ‘bindi’ on their forehead, looked like Indian princesses to me. We all had been practicing for a bollywood dance performance that was part of a showcase organized by the dance studio; and we were excited and a little nervous to go on the stage.
The studio organizes a dance showcase twice a year and this was my third time participating in it. This time, there was something refreshing about the practice sessions. The instructor who taught us bollywood dancing was very lively. Her smile would light up the room and she danced like there was no end! Then there were the performers – all of us – who couldn’t help but respond to her with our smiles and laughter.
Among the performers was the mother I mentioned (Mindy), her daughter (Kim) and her niece (Cari). The three of them would come together to the studio, dance and leave together. But soon they made friends with others including me. Mindy was very sociable and fun to talk to. Kim seemed a little quiet at the beginning but she smiled a lot. Cari was cheerful and sweet, she was also very light on her feet. I remember when we got our (rental) bollywood costumes; everybody tried them out right there in the studio. Kim flashed her signature bright smile and said “I am going to wear this every day till the day of the show!” I laughed looking at their excitement and clicked a few photos of them sporting their just acquired possessions. “Honey, you come to my home town in India with me, there will be a line of such glittery dresses for you to wear every morning, afternoon and evening!” I said to myself.
The practice sessions went well and the day of the show arrived. Everybody helped each other with the costumes, jewelry and makeup. There were more backstage practices, more excited laughter and our team spirit was at its highest. I think we had fun with every single thing we did that day! And when it was our time to perform, we rocked the stage! The show was over before we knew it and everyone parted ways. Soon after, photos and videos were exchanged and memories were relived.
A couple of weeks after the show, I went to the dance studio and I was trying to decide if I should go for the bollywood workout or take up hip hop workout sessions (like I had done last year). I ended up going for bollywood workout that day and was greeted by Mindy and Kim, who instantly gave me big hugs. Cari came in a little later after the session had started. The bollywood songs kept playing. The instructor surely knew how to put a magic spell on us so that we would keep moving non-stop for one hour.
When the class was over, we were completely exhausted. Cari came over and did an excited “Hi!” to me. I said “I would give you a hug, but look at me!” and we both laughed for we were dripping in sweat and looking all ugly. Mindy mumbled something like “Hey, I think there is some rule that if both are (sweaty) like that then that’s okay”. We laughed again and before I knew Cari gave me a big hug :-)
I still go to the dance studio once a week. I have continued attending the ‘doonya’ bollywood workout sessions for now. I meet this wonderful family and also a few others who participated in the show and have become friends. We have our usual places on the dance floor where we like to stand. It’s like a little unplanned circle of friendship drawn on the floor; and we move to the latest bollywood tunes like there is no end!
[Note: The studio mentioned in the post is Born 2 Dance Studio. If you are in the DC metro area, do check them out. They have an amazing set of instructors, a great variety in the classes they offer and a very good policy to make up any missed classes. The instructor mentioned in the post is Kajal Mehta, who is the co-founder and director of doonya. Don’t miss an opportunity to dance with her!]