Chaos reigned in the green room at Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan where groups of dancers between the ages of “five and fifty five,” as one participant put it, busily readied themselves for their performances on Friday evening by the Lakshya School of Dance and Music. What marked this 11th anniversary programme was the ‘Arangettam’ of seven artists — not seven children or teenagers, but working mothers and an about-to-be grandmother.
The women describe the dance classes they have been attending for at least a year as a “getaway” and a chance to refresh themselves amidst the hubbub of family and work life.
“Those couple of hours we are here during the weekend, we automatically forget all other worries and responsibilities,” said Reshmi Ramakrishnan, who works at UST Global, Technopark.
Dressed up in colourful garbs embellished with glitter and sparkles, the women appeared calm and exhilarated with only traces of nervousness showing through despite this being their very first performance.
Sulekha Baby, who is 53, says she was on the look-out for some means of exercise that she could enjoy as well. Not entirely convinced by the idea of gyms, she came across an advertisement inviting working women and mothers to learn Bharatanatyam from scratch.
“It is a solid exercise. Though I struggled at the start, I was determined to learn it, for I had nursed a dream to learn this art form for long and I finally got to realise it,” she said.
Seema Gopal, a working mother of two, recalled the brief period when she had learnt dance but never managed to be part of a formal Arangettam.
“I think these classes came about because mothers dropping off their children at the school suggested that such a programme be organised,” Ms. Gopal said, very appreciative of Aswathy Nair, their Guru and the director of Lakshya.
Apart from it being as enjoyable exercise, Ms. Baby and the others point out how the dance classes had turned out to be the perfect socialising opportunity as well.
“Both my sons are away, my husband is working, and I finally get the chance to get together with other women and engage in something I thoroughly enjoy,” Ms. Baby said, promising that this was just the first of many performances to come.