“Oh, visit the earth,
ask her to join the dance!
Deck her out in spring showers,
fill the God-River with living water.
Paint the wheat fields golden.
Creation was made for this!
Drench the plowed fields,
soak the dirt clods
With rainfall as harrow and rake
bring her to blossom and fruit.
Snow-crown the peaks with splendor,
scatter rose petals down your paths,
All through the wild meadows, rose petals.
Set the hills to dancing…”
The Message Bible
A Forgotten Dream
When I gave up dancing about 4-5 years ago, I knew that chapter in my life was over. Or at least I thought it was. I let my body go…no longer bothering to hold my core, consuming copious amounts of meat, starch and sugar that eventually made me very sick. I couldn’t even climb a flight of stairs without getting winded. Even when I was actively dancing and performing on stage, I considered myself to be a mediocre dancer. I occasionally landed a lead role which I practiced furiously for, but for most part of it, I could never master pointe shoe dancing and my flexibility sucked. But, gosh I loved it. I really was a sucker for punishment! My dream was to study dance and be a professional dancer someday. Yet, due to lack of resources and mediocre talent, that dream was shelved away a long time ago. At the beginning of 2016, I’m not exactly sure what possessed me (the Holy Spirit surely) I wrote something down on a sticky-note: “To be a Brilliant Dancer.” At this point, I hadn’t seen the inside of a dance studio in years (and was still huffing up the stairs).
Exactly 2 weeks later, Naomi Rajaratnam tells me about a show that she wants to stage in August 2017. I mean, what are the chances? God is so good. He truly wants to give us the desires of our heart. He’s such a good Father! So, began a new journey, one that I would never have dreamt of. Like with all journeys, I faced many obstacles…most of them limited by my little pea brain. There was a lot of un-learning to do; my mind and body had to re-wired, brainwashed and renewed if I was to begin to succeed on this new level. This required making conscious choices to eat healthy and work out regularly. When I first started, I was “full of can’ts” as Naomi said! I refused to dance in heels (let alone walk in them), I refused to do all sorts of aerial lifts, I refused to dance any genre other than ballet which I was used to…and the list went on. I didn’t have funds for the shoes I needed; Latin and Ballroom Heels, Soft and Pointe Shoes. Yet, all 3 pairs of shoes were gifted to me by 3 very special people, two of them being legendary dancers in their own right. My dance journey is a testimony of not only how God works to give you the desires of your heart, but also how His provision comes though when you decide to take that leap of faith (in my case, grand jete!). At every pivotal point of my journey, He has been faithful to come through for me.
Titled Resurrection, most of the dancers, including myself have found ourselves coming out of ‘dance retirement.’ We have challenged notions and boundaries that world has set in terms of dance; age, body, performance, skill and more. And we will continue do to just that.
Resurrection is about Naomi Rajaratnam and her life story, how two years ago on Christmas Day, she died. Yes, properly died. Yet, was miraculously brought back to life. It was with this second chance she chose to come out of her retirement and stage a show composed of an assortment of oddballs like myself; a Ballerina with a bad turnout, a Swimmer who has never danced in her entire life, a very fit Personal Trainer, a former professional Latin and Ballroom dancer who had given up dancing for good, along with a handful of her professionally trained, international award-winning past pupils…and the list goes on. Resurrection is also about reaching the heart of people through our dancing. Unlike acting, we don’t have our voices…just our bodies to move, express and create a lasting, life-changing impact on our audience. Each time I’m offended, demotivated and want to give up, I refocus, readjust my heart and thinking to align with this vision.
Throughout this season, I’ve come to understand that no matter what, I am perpetually under God’s watchful eyes and I am LOVED, LOVED, LOVED by Him despite all the ugliness of my heart. He did not bring about any problem I am going through, but He is surely teaching me through it. I’m also learning to make a conscious choice (yet, this choice comes not from my own self effort, but rather through the help of His Holy Spirit) not to be influenced by my external circumstances and to stop blaming the world. Rather, to look inwards, grow and mature my heart to a point that I won’t be condemned when correction and truth comes in. Rather, suck it up and take it like a true Huios Son. God has sent people to help, guide and correct me into my fullest potential yet. With every ounce of honesty, I can say that I’ve been stubborn, hard-hearted and offended. A good clunk on the head with a heavy metal object should have been administered a long time ago.
Obedience and trust in God and the leaders appointed over my life, even when I can’t see the end-result has taken me to a new level of intimacy with Him. This season has also shown me how desperately I need the Holy Spirit to come in and show me the heart condition needed to fix my problems. It honestly is like opening up a can of hideously, squirming worms. My heart is not a pretty place! Learning to rely on His Spirit (not through my own futile efforts) spiritually, but also when I’m faced with physical challenges in class has been painful, humbling and awesome at the same time. It is only in this place that the Holy Spirit can sweep in to empower me so that Jesus can be glorified. Not Kalindhi Fernando having her ego massaged on stage. Because, at the end of it all…why am I dancing anyway? To please man or for the pleasure of my King?
This Immortal, Limitless Word of Life had equipped me to not only dream beyond my limited mindset, but also act, leap and pirouette in faith and most importantly with heart and a passion He placed in me in the first place. Will I ever fulfill my lifelong dream of being a professional dancer? With my inflexible limbs and bad turn out coupled with a body that does not meet standard dance requirements? If it was up to me, never. Yet, with my God, ALL things are possible.
Special shout out to;
Melissa W. & Sandesh
Resurrection hits the stage on the 26th and 27th of August at the Bishop’s College Auditorium. Be there, you’d be silly to miss it.