she was told that it would take seven years to master
On Saturday, October 12, 2019, Bakulaben Patel gave a stunning Bharatnatyam dance performance in what was her debut, otherwise known as Arangetram.
It was also a historical moment for the Gujarat-based woman because, at the age of 75, she became the first woman in the country to perform the classic dance at that age.
Bharatanatyam is a major form of Indian classical dance that originated in Tamil Nadu.
It is a style which is known for its fixed upper torso, legs bent or knees flexed out combined with breathtaking footwork.
During the performance, the dancer also showcases an elegant vocabulary of sign language based on gestures using the hands, eyes and face muscles.
A dance performance typically lasts for around 90 minutes.
Arangetram is the debut on-stage performance of a former student of Indian classical dance and music like Bharatanatyam.
The first performance follows years of training and the majority of Indian classical dance forms perform an Arangetram once the time has come for the dancer.
Bakulaben trained in a class in Surat alongside others, most of which were children. She became dedicated to the dance and leading up to her on-stage debut, became very successful.
Although Bakulaben started learning the classic dance at the age of 68, she has been heavily involved in sports.
She started swimming at the age of 58 before going on to dance. Since she started to dance, Bakulaben has gone on to win 185 certificates, trophies and medals.
When she started to dance, she was told that it would take seven years to master. Therefore, it was estimated that at 75-years-old, Bakulaben would achieve her dream of performing.
However, it was initially difficult as the aspiring dancer struggled to learn the steps.
It took her 15 days to learn the basics while others would only need a day to practice which made her upset.
Bakulaben’s teacher Bhavaben Patel also felt bad when she saw her student struggling.
On multiple occasions, Bakulaben wanted to give up but she did not and continued to improve over the years. When she was told that she was ready for her Arangetram, she was fully committed.
Bakulaben revealed that in the four months leading up to her debut, she practised for 10 hours each day.
Once she completed her Arangetram and was fully qualified to teach others, her confidence increased.
With the completion of her dance debut, Bakulaben has no intention to stop dancing.