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Through a dancer’s eyes

Mythili Zatakia is a dancer first. Her dancer’s balance and discipline have shaped the way she thinks and works, from her time in the Diploma Programme (DP) to her career and business. Here, she shares inspiration for new beginnings the way she knows best, through dance, and reflects on the importance of dance in her life and learning.

By Mythili Zatakia

We have spent months away from our favourite people and things. We’ve even been away from parts of our own cities. As the world opens up and decides to reconnect, this little dance film, shot on an iconic street in Bombay’s commercial district, is an ode to new beginnings. Classical ballet combines with Bombay’s heritage to celebrate our cities and the arts.

I am an IB alum who has lived in Mumbai all my life and danced away on its streets. Currently, I am virtually training in classical ballet with Sleek Technique in London (with hopes to be in-person soon enough). I’d like to credit Sleek Technique for inspiring this choreography and the support of my contemporary dance and calisthenics coach Abhijeet Ghadge, who directed this short film.

Dance in the DP

“There were a lot of us who were pursuing many different things and it was wonderful to see our school support those interests”.

As an IB student, I had a busy schedule that was filled with practices, meetings and rehearsals. Because the Diploma Programme (DP) created a strong and supportive community of students balancing course work and activities, I knew I was not alone finding time to balance my time with classes and passions. My friends and teachers helped me approach the DP with confidence, take risks and ultimately become a successful performer, athlete and student. There were a lot of us who were pursuing many different things and it was wonderful to see our school support those interests.

Educators at my school played a huge role in building a strong community for us. My teachers were always so encouraging of us doing other things. If we had a game or event on the same day as a test, they would work with us to plan around that.

I was a dancer before I was an IB student.
But when I became an IB student, I became more of a dancer.
There were simply too many parallels between school and studio.
And every lesson in one was applicable to the other.

A dancer’s first lesson is balance. From grounding your feet―heel, ball and toe―on the floor to having your body weight evenly distributed on them to lifting and floating on one leg or none, the firmness of your grip and the strength in your core keep you from quavering.

“Perhaps, the best education is marked less by what you walk away with, more by what you decide to give and leave behind”.

I was full of airy ideas in school and it helped to be part of an education programme that emphasized balance as a necessary prerequisite to developing a solid academic foundation and well-rounded personality.

As I moved along the IB and the wooden-flooring of a classical ballet studio, my body and brain failed me on a lot of days. It happens to us all. I simply couldn’t stay up one more night to turn in one more assignment in time and then wake up the next morning to stretch my arms out onto an arabesque. Somewhere amid such moments of weariness, we chance upon untapped reserves of physical and mental endurance that once exploited, take you through the assignment, the arms drills and then you know better and do better.

Classical art is just as empowering as it is rigorous. As I train to further refine my technique in both classical dance forms―ballet and Bharata Natyam, one in London and the other at home in India―I believe I have the best of both worlds. Perhaps one day, in the not so far future, I will be able to make the arts more accessible to those that haven’t experienced its gift in a manner that is physically, mentally, technically and spiritually whole and enriching. Perhaps, the best education is marked less by what you walk away with, more by what you decide to give and leave behind.

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Diploma Programme (DP) graduate Mythili Zatakia is a professional dancer and entrepreneurfounder of the SHOUT Network, an independent network for creatives and writers. Mythili received her IB diploma while pursuing her love of sports and the arts at the B.D. Somani International School, India. Give Mythili a SHOUT! by following her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

To hear more from Diploma Programme (DP) graduates check out these IB programme stories. If you are an IB grad and want to share your story, write to us at [email protected]We appreciate your support in sharing IB stories and invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter Instagram and YouTube!

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