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How long does Bharatanatyam take?

I never know how to answer this question and end up asking parents and enquirers, "What do you mean?" I am going to start off with an explicit PSA:

Bharatanatyam is a journey that is eternal and requires a love commitment. Unlike Bollywood, or some other dance styles, you cannot just learn how to mimic steps, shake your hands and hips and say you've mastered it. Bharatanatyam is very disciplined. There is a structure. There is a form. There is a "right" and "wrong" way of doing things in regard to posture. These nuances of the art take time to perfect and hone and for each dancer, their individual journey is different. As one person's handwriting is not the same as another's, neither is dance. Each individual adds their own signature to this art form and to hone that signature and figure out who you are as a dancer is the love commitment. You learn to explore, learn and love your own artistic ability through this art form. Learning bharatanatyam involves learning the theory, learning the stories, learning your body and what your strengths and weaknesses are. At times, the journey can be emotional and tiring, but ALWAYS REWARDING.


Even after 30 years of my relationship with dance, I cannot say I have "finished" learning. I continue to enjoy growing as a dancer in this aspect. I am constantly finding new things to work on, themes to explore, abilities to hone. So honestly, I have no answer to this question, only that this journey is eternal and everlasting.

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