Posted on 12 April 2016
I was in my second year of University when I first got introduced to contemporary dance. At first, it wasn’t anything serious but more of a challenge to jump higher and turn faster than my friend who was teaching me during our spare time in the evenings. However, I soon learnt that there is a lot of technique required in executing these “stunts” so to speak, and a lot of training and practice demanded. I became enthralled by the mental stimulation and physical exertion of freely moving through space, and gaining awareness and control of different muscles and range of motion.
It was this drive for self-improvement and the discipline it brought to my life that enabled me to manage my time better and articulate my thoughts.
The awareness I developed through the mental and physical demands of dance gave me the freedom to understand and pursue the things that interested me, and the confidence to let go of the things that were holding me back.
So, when the opportunity arose to attend the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and train professionally in contemporary performance, I didn’t think twice about leaving University.
Besides my personal training and performance, I have been teaching as well to both professionals and those who simply want to try this “dance” thing. From my own experience, and from what I can see in my classes, I strongly urge others to dance – or engage in something that gets you to move and exercise while also having fun. Sometimes, my exercises in class are quite ridiculous and people start laughing or giggling. But, once you can laugh at yourself, it frees you from judgment and enables you to try something new and explore a different aspect of yourself.
A lot of people use the word “passion” lightly; but when you are pursuing something you’re truly passionate about, it begins to take over your thoughts, actions, aspirations, and the way you view the world and relate to others.
Dance has given me the tools and the means to think critically about my place in the world. The engagement I have with dance – not only as a career but as a lifestyle – gives me a point of reference to relate with different peoples, cultures, socio-political issues, and other art forms and professions.
About the Author: Joshua Sailo is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre where he worked with renowned Canadian choreographers, inspiring him to begin his own investigation in movement research and composition. Upon his return to India, Joshua founded the initiative Prospec+us to promote contemporary dance in his hometown Aizawl, creating and presenting new works with the local community. Joshua is currently based in New Delhi, where he is working with choreographers Riya Mandal and Mandeep Raiky, and teaches contemporary and contact improv classes.