Checking off the Wander List: India

Over a year and a half ago, I began to hear rumors that the dance company that I was on would be going to India. Within a few months those rumors proved to be true as it was announced that Contemporary Dance Theater would be heading to the other side of the world for the summer performance tour. Though I had never thought of India as being one of the destinations on my wander list, I began to get excited at the possibility of going. Of course, I had to re-audition and make the company again to be able to go. Thankfully, after a long and hard audition, I was able to get a spot on the company.  As soon as I could, I volunteered my husband to travel with us. After biting my nails over this possibility, eventually he was approved to join our tour as a member of the tech crew.

I spent the next year rehearsing with CDT and preparing to go. Kyle, on the other hand, worked backstage during all of our shows making sure they ran smoothly. During that time, we put together a show that was full of variety and energy, The Rhythm of Life. For those who are familiar with our repertoire, our concert went something like this: Dancer Intros, All in a Day, Fling Flang Flung, Woman the Pioneer, Life’s a Bench, Chakra, Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law (aka Mattress), Thought of You, Up on a Mountain, Steppin’, and Excerpts from Pilgrimage (Play Me and Crunchy Granola Suite). Each piece also had an introduction video before it that explained its connection with the concert title.

With 5 months to go, we all also took a culture class to prepare us for our tour. In this class we learned about customs, religions, traditions, social norms, and what we should expect while in India. At this point, I began to feel confident that I was ready for our travels. Though we may have learned of India, nothing could have prepared me for the experience we were all about to share.

Our group was composed of 30 people, all with a different roles. There were 15 dancers, an artistic director and his wife (all wives were considered chaperones), an assistant artistic director, 3 tech crew students (Kyle), a stage director and his wife, a cultural adviser and his wife, a photographer and his wife, an athletic trainer, and a tour manager and his wife. I feel lucky that we had so many wonderful people with us to help with the pressures of traveling and performing. I am so grateful for each person that came along on tour.

During our three weeks on tour we visited five different cities, all across India. We began in Mumbai (aka Bombay), then flew to Hyderabad, Bangalore (aka Bangaluru), Chennai (aka Madras), and Delhi. We were able to perform once in each city, teach 15+ worksh0ps, dance with children, meet members of the new LDS stake, shop (a lot… to Kyle’s disappointment and my excitement), spent way too much time on a bus, were entranced by a snake charmer, slept too little, saw some classic tourist destinations, got sick, and visited a wonder of the world.

This is meant as an introduction and to provide context for what I will be posting in the next couple of weeks. My writings may be long and tiresome to read but this is because I want to capture as much as I possibly can. This blog is my journal, of sorts, and I have tried to document our experience to create a lasting record of a once in a lifetime opportunity that I want to remember for years to come. An opportunity to explore, experience, and to cross off something on our wander list

India, check!

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