Going back to take a dance class was very scary, and Indian classical dance even more so. I used to do a lot when I was in my 20s and 30s and loved it. My first teacher was – amazingly – Ram Gopal, which is a bit like saying you learnt from Nureyev.
But after children, and after years of not doing it and – OK, I’ve got to say it – after having passed the statutory Senior Citizen post….well. The good news is that good teaching lasts. The less good news is that I can see I cause confusion.
It’s not my usual class teacher, Anusha Subramanyam, who has a strong feeling for seeing dance as not perfect movement, but perfect engagement, and has the soul of a poet anyhow. But when she is not there, I am conscious that stand-in teachers don’t know how to deal with me.
Who IS this ageing person amongst the lissom bodies of the 20-somethings, I can hear them thinking. And I feel like a squat pigeon that has walked into an aviary of rare birds.
So one of the problems about ageing is not what you can do (because I can still dance, I’ll have you know), but what people think you can do. And it is really hard dealing with perception. I can say ‘Dammit’ and ‘I don’t care’, but part of me feels invisiblised and wants to creep away.