Early in the morning we found ourselves marching onto the bus and taking a winding road to our next exciting destination. We were headed to Nrityagram, a classical Indian dance compound that was located 2 hours outside of the city. Most of us slept during the drive, but I couldn’t stop looking out the window at the scenery around us. The bustling city gave way to vast fields of green with scattered huts, vegetables being sold from big piles on the side of the road, and beautiful unpopulated space. It was a lovely scene to behold.
Once we got to the dance compound we were ushered into a dance studio where we observed a class. I was intrigued by the teaching methods of the instructor. She sat in a chair at the front of the class and merely spoke the sequences that they were to do. She then would count out to set the tempo and the musicians would join in. At the end of the combination, she would correct the dancers and then move on to the next set of movements. Never did she stand up or give corrections during the exercise, yet all the dancers seemed to pick up on what they needed to do and fixed the problem. (Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside of the classroom but we got plenty elsewhere.)
Before the class, we happened to run into two business students from Canada and the Netherlands that were there on an internship helping the compound with finances. Kyle was more interested in networking with them than going to the class. He had gone to Africa two summers before to work on a business project and was interested in learning what they were doing. I can’t really blame him, though. If our roles were reversed, I would do the same thing.
After the class, we were allowed to walk around during the last part of our stay. In the compound we found housing, a kitchen, two theaters, “studios”, and what appeared to be a lounging/fun area. The grounds were stunning, peaceful, and serene. Kyle and I enjoyed our time being away from the rush and business of the streets (and the tour) as we sat and listened to wind chimes hanging on a nearby porch. It was one of those ephemeral moments that we didn’t want to end.
Back on the bus and heading back into the city. Lunch was at the very familiar McDonald’s, which seemed safe until we went in to order and discovered that it wasn’t so familiar. Instead of beef, there were all chicken type burgers. This included the Maharaja burger that had marsala sauce on top. That wasn’t quite our cup of tea so we stuck to plain chicken sandwiches that turned out to also have a bit of a kick.
Finally, we arrived at our final location for the day. We were to perform another fireside for the branch in Bangalore. Again, the spirit was so strong as we sang and bore testimony of the Savior. We loved seeing the people in the congregation smiling at us and mouthing the words as we sang. They filled our souls with happiness and love.
After we finished, we talked to the members and enjoyed getting to know them. Kyle and I also spent time talking to the mission President during which he asked if we would please perform the fireside again during Preisthood and Relief Society. He said that though many members were able to make it that night, he wished that more could have been there. We happily agreed. There is no better compliment to a performer than to ask them for an encore. What wonderful people we were privileged to meet.
* Photos from tour photographer Mark Philbrick, and my camera and iPhone.