Watch Her Feet How They Can Dance
“…No time to turn at Beauty’s glance
And watch her feet, how they can dance…”— William Henry Davies
In today's fast-paced life, we are so caught up with work, work, and work that we miss out on life. Have you got a little time to find yourself in a cultural show? If yes, read this short story where I take you on the part of the journey of my life in which I crave and therefore, learn to dance.
Why I Craved to Learn Native Dancing
It was something I saw a few others perform in school. There were scopes of lots of cultural shows in our school. We all were encouraged to participate in dramas, singing, dancing, and delivering speeches, etc. It was then dancing seemed spectacular and terrific to me.
It was something I wanted to perform. It was something I wanted to be good at. It was my curiosity combined with the eagerness that my sister and I talked about with our parents and told them that we wanted to learn dancing so that we could perform on the stage at school.
Our parents promised us that they would get a trained master who would teach us native dancing during our vacation in our home country.
Where Exactly Did I Learn to Dance?
We didn’t have a home in our home country since we lived abroad. So we took our opportunity to stay our vacation time in my eldest aunt’s home. My eldest aunt passed away this year several months ago. But then she was a lot younger and an enthusiast in watching us learn to dance in her living room.
The master came every evening. Sometimes we got bored. Sometimes we were excited. Someday we didn’t want to dance at all but escape from it. Nevertheless, we persevered. Until two days before our month-long vacation ended, we completed learning two full native dances with curving and waving our waists and hands respectively along with putting steps in our dancing using legs and feet.
What Were the Dances Like?
I mentioned we learned two full native dances. We learned to dance to two Bengali songs. They were fast-paced. In one, since I was older, I had to dress up as a guy and my sister as a girl alright. We danced together, showing a little intimacy, the dance being between a guy and a girl. In the other dance we learned, we dressed up both like girls.
What Tools Did We Use for Dancing?
Our training master recorded the songs in double cassettes, in which one served as a backup. When we performed on stage, we took both of them, and we played one of them on our record player, which we brought from home. The other cassette would be used in case the first one showed problems. But rarely there was ever any problem.
As the record player played out the relevant song, we danced skillfully to the beats of the music, making gestures with our hands, shaking our waists and stepping the right steps.
What Costumes and Accessories Did We Wear?
We wore T-shirts and knee-long skirts. On top of that, we wore sarees, preferably red color for one dance. For the other dance, in which I had to dress up as a guy, I wore a lungi- a piece of colorful cloth almost reaching my feet wrapped around the skirt underneath.
Who was the mystery woman behind our getup? It was Mom. Yes, Mom made sure we were well-dressed for the dances. She also put makeup on our faces. We looked gorgeous. The accessories we wore were glittering colored paper garlands in red and silver, matching with our costumes. We wore anklets that had ringing bells and sounded good as we danced to the beats of the music.
Where Did We Perform Our Dances?
As we performed in school, we earned huge popularity. Gradually we danced on our community occasions, having the first-hand experience. We gave our names in dancing eagerly to any cultural program we heard of either at school or within the community.
Our Last Performance By the Sea
When we moved from our town to be near the sea, we were still eager to give our names to the cultural show that we came to know would take place. When the great day arrived, yes, along with our costumes, garlands, anklets, and music from the record player, we danced playfully and knowingly and earned the applause of all the foreigners.
There was another cultural show in the span of the next three months. So we danced the other dance in which my sister and I were both dressed as girls. There was louder applause from the audience this time.
After six months of stay by the sea, we were going back to our home country, leaving all the sweet memories behind.
We Never Danced Again
When we settled in Dhaka and started going to school again, we performed other stuff such as, singing and food catering services during cultural shows but not dancing since we thought we couldn’t compete with those who could dance. But that was not the real scenario. Nevertheless, when we still realized that our dancing was standard since we learned it years ago via a good dance master, we let dancing rest at peace and never performed again.
I wanted to dance once upon a time. So did my sister. The duo, my sister and I danced on many occasions whenever we could abroad. I think it overpaid the price of our learning from our trained dance master. So I think it was just okay when we didn't want to dance again and put it in the dormant phase.
Such is the story of the dancing chapter in my life when hundreds and hundreds of people cared to turn at our beauty’s glance and watched how our feet could dance.
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© 2020 Rosina S Khan