Monday, July 25, 2011

How Can We Know the Dancer From The Dance?

When beautiful Meera came to visit, all I could think about was that she was a Speech Therapist. There aren't many people in the world who can appreciate the way some of us think about Speech Therapists, so don't laugh.

We always capitalize their title. They are Speech Therapists. We restrain ourselves from writing it as SPEECH THERAPISTS.

For us, they:

Walk on water

Are worth their weight in gold

Speak with the tongues of men and of angels

High school students, take note. If you want a career with respect, adulation and a sense of purpose from here to eternity - it's Speech Therapy. (Got that? SPEECH THERAPY.)

But back to Meera. All I could think was Speech Therapist. How did I forget that she was also a professional dancer?

So when I took her to Latika Vihar, I was surprised by the way she stood observing our young and trendy dance teacher (the one we are sending to Bharatnatyam classes to widen her amazing natural talent):

When I got a moment to speak with her, she said, also surprised: "I didn't expect to see Bharatnatyam here!"

"Oh." I said, blankly. "Is that what it is?"

"She's great, Auntie! She's doing it just exactly right!"

That's when I remembered. Meera is a professional, a Bharatnatyam dancer with a degree, who performs in public to wide acclaim. Immediately, I thought about how she could perform right here at Latika Vihar, how she could share her amazing talent with the eager children who would love to see her in action.

But before I could even suggest it, she had her own idea:

"Do you think they could teach me a Garhwali dance?"

Why hadn't I thought of that? Bring in the expert! was my idea.

But Meera, like a true therapist, preferred to build on someone else's strengths.

Because Speech Therapy isn't about showing off. It's about communication. It's about sharing gifts. It's about the joy of language and spoken thought and revealed wisdom.

It's about helping other people to celebrate what they already know and giving them ways to offer it to the wider world. It's about joining in and reflecting back what people already know but have lost sight of. It's about giving people a platform, a stage, a voice.

Meera, for all her youth, already knows that. Here is one SPEECH THERAPIST I'm keeping my eye on.

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