Here is a letter that I received as a comment to yesterday’s post on exams and arangetrams. I believe KS isn’t looking for an explanation or suggestion. He/she just wants me to post this here as a notice.. so there it is. Looks like (s)he has had her/his share of bad experiences. I hope in future (s)he gets to see some decent professional artistes and thereby changes his/her blanket opinion.
Parents should probably make sure that their kids will be well taken off when they send them off on a trip with their Guru, if they are not sure of the Guru-Sishya relationship dynamics.
Dear Website Administrator,
My Humble Pranams.
I write this not out of disgust, but out of curiosity after reading your post. Has anyone else told you that their feeling that dancers are very proud people? Once they make a name for themselves, they expect hosts (especially when they come abroad) and organizers to move the heaven and hell for them. Big musicians never do that. They are never so haughty! I also pity the students who travel along with dancers, because they are treated like servants and dirt.
A Kathak dancer, who isn’t still a name everyone would recognize came here some few years ago. We had put them all up in a 3 star hotel for 2 nights and one day. They were leaving to the other city the next day. This lady had the audacity to refuse to stay along with her students and orchestra. She said that she would always stay in 5 star facilities only. When we wanted to shift the whole gang to the 5 star hotel to ease our travel arrangements, she point blank refused saying that her students did not need to stay in the same hotel. The program itself was arranged at a hotel banquet hall. When she came there for practice, she kept asking for hot Indian coffee all the time! People stay far away from each other and requests like this need to be made earlier. She brings 6 CDS, with no legible indexing/labels to play 7 different songs and expects the foreigner operating the sound to understand which CD has to play when and which song has to be stopped before it ends. This episode is just an example. Students publicly massage her feet during rehearsals, she yells at them at the slightest mistake. All her belongings are carried and taken care of by her mute students. When I ask the students why they don’t draw lines, the students say that they are afraid since their passports are held by their teacher and that they don’t have money with them. The girls come from good families and I wonder how their parents let this happen.
This has often happened in varying degrees with Bharathanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi and even Bollywood dancers that we have managed to bring to our slightly smaller city. They hardly accept the fact, they may be a hero/heroine on the stage, but all of us are real life heroes too, working hard to succeed in our chosen career. We have all also undergone some rigorous training, though it may not be a field the dancers recognize as being an important contributor to the society.
When you talk about arangetram training for professional dancers, I was wondering what these kind of teachers would train their students for?
Let this be a wake up call to badly behaved dancers.
KS, India Club Member/Organizer