What influences our dance?
By Shreya Ramraj

Dance is so unique, in that there are an infinite number of forms, and ways of which you can express yourself. There are numerous opportunities in the realm of dance, including not just the physical activity aspect, but also the opportunity to create relationships with your guru as well as your peers. Through dance, you can truly gain an understanding of your body, and the limits you can push, as well as when you need to stop. You can discover new ways of releasing energy, or learning how best to harness your emotions. When you dance, you can create a personality as outlandish or “crazy” as you wish, because you have just given yourself a clean slate.

However, people often underestimate the power of having the drive to want to dance, to want to understand who you truly are as a person. The drive and ambition to WANT to dance stems from multiple factors, but especially from the people who are guiding you through your journey. If there is very little support, or a lack of interest in the individual lives of each student, when dance purely becomes a business transaction, it is essentially impossible for the dancer to truly blossom. They lose sight of the WHY. The reasoning behind choosing to spend hours in the studio and practicing. It instead becomes a burden, or a cause of anxiety, and you lose that passion and excitement that you had when you were seven and were just eager to learn even the most basic adavus.

In order for you to truly grow and change through dance, you need to let go of the fear of being perfect, instead rewiring your mind to believe that you will get there. This is very heavily dependent on who nurtures you through your journey, the way that your mistakes are either frowned upon or encouraged. It depends on the amount of trust you hold in your guru, the amount of importance you place upon their instruction. The assimilation of true understanding of your being, comes from the acceptance of where you are, where you want to go.


Shreya Ramraj is a committed Bharatanatyam student, who has been training for 12 years. She was initially under the tutelage of Aparna Ramaswamy of Ragamala Dance Company. She continues her dance journey at Kala Vandanam with Suchitra Sairam. She is a junior at Minnetonka High School, and is interested in Psychology, specifically Trauma Therapy, where she hopes she can help children overcome their difficult pasts and begin their promising futures.