So the dance show went really well. It was a long day, though. The event was five hours, starting with music students and then dance students and some people gave speeches.
I messed up my dance a tiny bit (turned the wrong direction, but it was not very noticeable to the audience). My dance class is just me and one other girl, K. We were the only adult students there, and beginners. It was a little embarrassing. That and my costume was a few sizes too small!
K also declared that we and our guests were the only non-South-Indians there (she's Bengali). She wasn't quite correct.
There was a white woman who made one of the speeches. I wasn't able to hear what she was saying because I was getting changed at the time, but my boyfriend said that she gave an odd talk. He said she basically said that this cultural event was so wonderful and beautiful and they should try harder to share it with the general population and not keep it all Indian.
He found it pretty distasteful and he wasn't the only one. At the very end of the show (after this woman had already left!) one of the organizers said the good-bye speech and the thank yous. He made sure to point out that the last dance was done to a Western song (classical music set to a techno beat). He talked about how previous shows had blended ballet with Bharatnatyam. I think he was hurt by what that woman had said.
I think it was inappropriate too. It's not as though white people are forbidden to go. I was there. My boyfriend was there. It was a free show, anyone who wanted to come could have. That's not the fault of the dance school. Maybe they could have advertised differently, but I'm not sure how. Should they have put a lot of money into advertising to a segment of the American population that is very unlikely to even come?
K and I were talking about it a little at the dress rehearsal. She said something about this dance being unique and that other forms of dance have participants of all races and backgrounds. I said I thought more white people would be doing it if they knew about it, but K didn't think so. She made the point that you would have to know an awful lot about Indian culture and mythology to enjoy Bharatnatyam. It also has a spiritual aspect and I'd hate to see it turn into an exercise craze only, like yoga!
Obviously the woman who gave the speech didn't read the program too closely, or she would have seen my Scottish name :)