These are some of the messages I received from Sameh Spano, as she offered her practice in Bharatanatyam to a room of women this past Sunday at Sol Vida Dance. What, might you ask is Bharatanatyam?
Simply, it is a highly disciplined, devotional form of dance that derives out of Southern Indian temples. In Sameh’s words, “The exquisitely entrancing and rhythmically intoxicating temple dances of Southern India eternally breathe the auspicious into existence… Transmitted over thousands of years, Bharatanatyam has been lovingly crafted into perfection, invoking healing rapture and exaltation ritually offered in praise of the Source itself.”
I’ve never met a woman who speaks so eloquently, so gracefully, and with the vocabulary of a supreme Goddess. Every word and every action that Sameh brings out of her soul is intentional and purposeful. Her simple cadence evokes that feeling of being one with everything.
As we entered class this past Sunday, we began with a water purification ceremony–Sameh laid out a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and asked each of us to pick the flower that spoke to us. With our selection, we shed the flowers leaves into a bowl of purified water, giving our prayers and intentions into the bowl as a symbol of devotion and gratitude.
She led us through a yogic warm up mixed with influences from other Indian movement forms and vocal exultation’s The goal being to realign and activate our bodies in the most pure sense. Through a series of different postures, eye gestures, and deep breath work, we were all brought out of our minds and into the exquisiteness of our bodies. We were able to focus on the mediation of our heart’s true desire, visualizing it beaming in and out of our entire existence.
At the end of class, we were introduced into Bharatanatyam. Through a base posture, we learned to push past our minds and give ourselves over to the incredible world beyond time and space. Delicate, simple movements allowed us to stomp on the earth, create gestures with our fingers, create sound in balance with the rhythm of our feet, and push ourselves beyond our everyday capabilities.
Bharatanatyam is a healing dance. It is a dance that compliments a woman’s body. It is a dance that can be done with injury. It is a sacred dance and an art form that could be lost if we don’t continue to learn and pass on its lineage and power. It is a true gift that we are able to offer this special series at Sol Vida.
Please join us from 12-2 pm every Sunday from May 5-June 9 for Bharatanatyam- Devotional Temple Dance with Sameh Spano. This series is $95. To register, please visit our Workshops page.