And I am back to blogging!

Photo credit: Priveen Raj Naidu

Photo credit: Priveen Raj Naidu

about lifestyle, agents of change in society... and perhaps the arts too ;)  

It was way back in 2000 that my journey in writing began. I was based in Chennai at the time and was taking a break from dance and re-examining my whole approach to dance practice and performance. 

I still remember how, when asked by an editor at the Economic Times to start writing on art and culture, I said a flat "NO, I am not a writer!" Latha would hear nothing of that. And so by the next day I was on my way to Cholamandal Artists' Village to cover a painting exhibition. And the rest, as they say, is history. 

A year later, when I was invited to dance in a production, I initially declined saying, "No, I am not a dancer!", offering to help with any writing that was required. I eventually did dance in the production. Talk about fluid identity! 

Those early writing years were exciting. I wrote about facets of Chennai life that piqued my interest. In recent years, I have focussed more on dance writing. The Herculean task of an MA Dance Anthropology dissertation in 2013 was soon followed by a phase of severe writers' block. I couldn't write anything much beyond Facebook posts, and I would find myself agonising over even those. Were there any inaccuracies? Had I misquoted anyone? Was it passé?

At some point I got over it and began reviewing dance once again, this time for the Straits Times in Singapore. I was invited on board by the Arts editor who felt there was a need for Indian dance to be covered in the English media by a writer who knew the traditions. My work involved attending dance performances, jotting down my impressions in dark auditoriums and heading home straight after to get down to writing to meet the 10.30 deadline the next morning. 

Six months ago, at the end of 2015, I put my writing on hold. I needed time to revisit myself, plan my next phase to allow my work to reflect the subtle shifts that had been taking place within me.

By now, my approach to dance had shifted drastically. I had begun my journey as a classical indian Bharatanatyam dancer at age 7 and this had been my core identity for the longest time. But in recent years I have begun exploring the intersecting space between breath work, yoga, mindfulness meditation, Bharatanatyam and Butoh, the Japanese dance theatre form. It has been a paradigm shift with respect to my dance practice and teaching, one that has been so profoundly liberating that I feel the urge to connect to the positive shifts that are happening externally in so many realms. 

From this 6-month writing hiatus, I now emerge, ready to open myself up once again to writing about aspects of life that resonate with me... lifestyle, agents of change in society... perhaps the arts too.  

Oh yes, the writer is back but with the spirit of the colourful butterfly that she sees on the leaves outside her window. Which suddenly takes me back to my very first dance performance way back in primary 1 - the Chinese Butterfly Dance! 

The dancer, the writer, the fluidity, the intertwining and the continuing journey...

Nirmala Seshadri