My teacher has a theory. He says the way to be happy is to have many worlds. Worlds in different places with different people in them; worlds you can go to when you’re not happy. I need to be careful about the way I say this. I’m scared that I’ll attach too much meaning to a world that still isn’t mine. I’m scared that I’ll sound like I know what I’m talking about.
I’ve been going for contemporary dance for the last two months. I go thrice a week to a dance studio called Attakkalari. I try not to skip. I have a card that I show to the guard whenever I walk in. He knows I go for Anandhita’s class though. We nod at each other when I walk in.
I jealously watch people move there. When they stretch their arms, they do it with all their strength. It’s as if someone is pulling them by a string. The string can break at any moment and they’ll fall. It’s continuous and unconscious and I don’t have that. I make an effort when I dance. That’s the problem.
The list making part of my brain makes them as the class goes on. I think of all the YouTube videos I’ll watch to help me get better; one on how to touch your toes, one on all the basic ballet positions. I obsess over why I can’t bend properly, or why my toes are so funny looking. At the same time I’m trying to roll and then pull myself up into a plank.
That room with its mirrors is for people who tell stories with their bodies. Who make ugly things looks beautiful. It’s for people who can be precise and controlled, but can forget to when they feel like.
Our teacher tells us to pretend we’re drunk when we’re dancing. We have to let go she says, move and not be stiff. We have to be light, land softly, lengthen our spines, maintain our cores, open our hips; stretch, so that we can feel each column of our spine spread out and pull. Each word is precise. Your core is not stomach. You bend from your hips and not the point above it. You hit hard and pull back. You suspend, hands up, like you’re at the edge of a mountain trying not to fall.
I wish I started dancing when I was younger. I wish my father and mother had forced me to go for classes. I’m moving slowly. That mirror and that room still belong to them but I’m slowly understanding the language. This world is slowly becoming mine.