By Sachvir Singh

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I used to be a very shy kid. Yes, I was an introvert. I did my best not to mingle with people. Since I was not interested in talking to people, you can guess that I was not comfortable showing my emotions in public. So, I never danced except for some foot tapping in the school shows. And I tried my best to be in the last line, away from the public gaze. My mother tried to persuade me again and again to dance, but I simply told her that I was not interested. She must have realized that I hesitated to dance because a mother understands every strand of her child’s body.

This game of persuasion and refusal continued between my mother and I. It was fine until one day, when my mother told me, during my summer vacation, that she had signed me up for the school’s dance team. At first, I thought that it was nothing more than a joke but when I saw my mother’s serious expression and my name on the list of students registered for the team, I was shocked.

My mother was sure that I did not even know one step of any dance, let alone Bhangra (traditional folk dance of Punjab) or any Western dance form. I pleaded with my mother to let me stay at home and enjoy my summer vacation. I begged my sworn enemy, my brother, to convince my mother. He refused as he said that I should dance just as he did in school. He was happy that I had to ask him for help. I even called up my maternal grandmother to convince her daughter that I should not be forced to dance. I was sure of victory as my grandmother is very fond of me and only she can order my mother around. To my utter surprise, nay shock, she refused to come to my aid. In fact, she felt that dance would help me to get over my shyness.

Nothing worked at all on my mom, and I had to go and learn to dance. I wanted to go and hide in the wings. I tried to get side-lined but failed miserably. I was told, by the teachers, to dance in front of everyone. I thought that I would get laughed at or even get thrown out. Instead, I was told that my body was stiff, something I already knew.

I did not want this to be repeated about me again so, I kept practicing at school and at home and I slowly got better with my steps. I could feel my body getting more flexible and agile with every passing day. I even got a few compliments. I was really surprised. I started enjoying dance and the manner in which we can express ourselves. In the end, I was happy that I stepped out of the shadows and learnt something that I thought I never could. I confess that my mother was right about dance and the way it can change a person, even someone as shy as me.

Dance helped me feel confident about my body. It helped me to get rid of any shame I felt about my body. It helped me lift my spirits. I felt joy and happiness that I had never felt earlier. As a thirteen-year-old boy who was just stepping into his teens, dance helped me to deal with the changes that I could feel in my body. I learnt to feel comfortable with my body. The swaying of my body with the music transported me into another world. I am the first one to be on the dance floor now. It does take a minute for me to shrug away my shyness but then there is no stopping me. Dance helped me evolve. I found new friends in the dance group. I look forward to wearing the colorful dresses which transport me into a magic land.

I realized dance is power, fun and loads of laughter. Dance liberated me from the shackles of shyness. I realized that it is a form of therapy that can lift one’s mood. A few steps every day can keep away boredom, monotony, and depression. Dance strengthens the body and gives it a certain gracefulness. Dance can be the answer to many physical and mental problems. In fact, dance helped me to become a positively happier person.