20 Experiences | 20 Years

By Suchitra Sairam

You only get to celebrate a 20th anniversary once.

Twenty years is long enough to have a clear history and track record. It’s long enough to see an evolution. It’s short enough to have a lot of growth and progression ahead.

It’s the perfect amount of time to have traveled, have clarity on where you want to go, and know-how on how to get there.

As Kala Vandanam’s 20th year comes to a close, I reflected deeply on the memories. It was overwhelming.

Rather than list specific memories, here are 20 experiences over 20 years that have had a lasting impact.

  1. Beauty of Aspiration – Seeing students admire their seniors when they are young, and grow into seniors for the next generation to look up to
  2. Creating Beauty – Crafting an aesthetic space that makes you want to dance, and creating beauty through art
  3. Creation of Community – In class, outside of class, everywhere – caring for each other’s well-being and success
  4. Deep Stretch of Growth – Growing in creativity, challenge and quality with every new work
  5. Dichotomy – Students experiencing the dynamic duo of excitement and nervousness before going on stage
  6. Endless Series of Sprints – Each class or rehearsal is a sprint, learning new and trying to perfect the old.
  7. Evolution of Confidence – Big nerves before small shows became small nerves before big shows
  8. Feel of Arrival – Hearing your teacher congratulate you as a teacher for the 1st time
  9. Having Fun – Creating new games in class, including the student-inspired “Suchi Akka Says”
  10. Joys of Surprise – Yelps of surprise when students see themselves with full stage makeup for the 1st time, and don’t recognize who’s in the mirror
  11. Joy of Sharing – Watching students teach their parents and spouses about the art they love
  12. Marathon of Hard Work – This journey is hard, even for the naturally talented. We live the adage “overnight success YEARS in the making.”
  13. Opening Doors – Spreading the joy of art and the rich heritage of India with audiences
  14. Opening Eyes – Watching friends get to know us in a completely different way, through the lens of our art
  15. Overcoming Fear – Watching students overcome years of stage fright and take the stage as soloists
  16. Reflection for Growth – Post-performance individual and group reflections as a meaningful ritual
  17. Sense of Acceptance – Understanding where you were and where you are, to get where you want to go
  18. Sense of Pride – Watching students you have groomed take pride in their role of grooming others
  19. Steadfast Values – Pursue excellence, do the work, lift others as you lift yourself
  20. Winds Beneath Wings – Students developing deep and lasting relationships, realizing that dance friends know your truest, sweetest and sweatiest self

We have immense Gratitude for all that has been good, all that has not gone according to plan, all the people that have been a part of the journey.

Each has contributed to this journey of:

Giving and receiving

Learning and growth

Struggle and success

THANK YOU for the gifts you have shared, your positive energy and good wishes going forward. We look ahead to years filled with experiences that stretch our imaginations and give us endless joy.