Kajal Thakkar

“When you’re learning a classical form, especially Bharatnatyam, you learn discipline and what a dancer-teacher relationship is. There were classes during which I would get yelled at and I would run home and cry and say that this was horrible. There were times that I wouldn’t want to come back. The reason and the drive behind me always going back to the next class was it always gave me a way. It started as a way for me to learn about my culture but it kind of turned into something more about religion. A lot of the stories and storytelling in each Bharatnatyam dance are based off of religious stories. At home, my mom would sometimes tell me about Hinduism when we were praying. I would learn it from her and my grandparents first, but I wouldn’t really understand it until I danced it. When I danced it, I got to be each character and feel what each character felt in that specific scene. A lot of Bharatnatyam is not just the hand gestures; a lot of it is your expressing with your face and in order to do that well, you have to really feel it. For me it was a completely surreal experience. When put myself in a character, it was like nothing else mattered.” - Kajal Thakkar

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