I have to say, there is one major thing that disappoints me about Indian classical dance today - our obsession with the body being "skinny".
I am definitely culprit of it myself, and our discussions of what we should or shouldn't eat, or how much we would like to reduce our weight has overtaken our daily dance rehearsals.
I put my foot down this week, and banned us from discussing our bodies, and even then, I still spoke about it once or twice. We are not lazy dancers, We pushing our bodies to the limit in rehearsal 3 hours everyday, 5 days a week. When performances come up, we do double rehearsals twice a day. We are strong, we are flexible, but we are not size zeros, and somehow, this bothers us.
More and more, India is looking west to take on ideals of the body that we have here. I hear major artists talk about how many "thin is in, fat is out" and dancers need to reduce weight to carry themselves on stage.
I just don't believe this to be true. Dancers have to be strong and beautiful. And that can come in many shapes. Yes, overweight is not good, and aesthetics are part of the game since dance is a visual form, but my heart breaks when I see dancers who are size fours and sixes eat two chappatis a night after 6 hours of rehearsal and obsess over themselves to have the body of the 15 year old sitting next to us.
When did we become like this? Oh, right, because of this:
We are proud, beautiful, Indian women with curves.
Don't let media moguls suggest otherwise.