Learning Bharatanatyam is hard work, no matter what you are learning. But some adavus (steps in basic technique) are particularly taxing. Cue kuddittu mettu adavu variations, which will make the thighs of even experienced, fit dancers burn in agony, particularly when done slowly. So I try different methods of distraction – and sometimes they backfire.
Teacher – “OK, are we ready to learn something new? Kuddittu mettu adavu – it’s really challenging but fun.”
Teacher proceeds to help students understand each part and get the limbs to cooperate with each other.
Teacher – “Let’s try it together. I’ll be nice – we’ll do it in 2nd speed so it is not as hard. Just think about enjoying your favorite ice cream afterward.”
Students proceed to try it. It’s hard. They are huffing and puffing, moaning and groaning.
Student 1 – “Suchi akka, I thought you said you were being nice.”
Teacher – “I am being nice – 2nd speed is MUCH easier than 1st speed for this set of adavus.”
Student 2 – “Well this was still hard, so it doesn’t seem very nice to me.”
Teacher – “I didn’t say it would be easy… just not as hard. I was still being nice.”
Student 3 – “If this is being nice, I’m not sure I want to know what it feels like when you are being mean.”
Student 4 – “Well, she won’t tell us if she is being mean, will she?”
Teacher – “I hope I am never mean to you, and I definitely won’t ever intentionally be mean to any of you.”
Teacher #mindvoice “Some things never change… this will seem like THE WORST until they get to mandi adavus.” 😂
Student 1 – “Well, maybe you won’t be mean on purpose, but you aren’t being nice. I mean, you know you can’t really say that about yourself.”
Student 5 – “What would have actually been nice is if you brought us ice cream.”
Teacher #mindvoice “ouch”