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Bindi Bosses at Art in the Heart of Haymarket

Reflecting on ‘becoming the earth’ at the Bindi Bosses’ movement workshop.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Having last taken a dance class in mid-2021, walking into the Bindi Bosses’ movement workshop at the Art in the Heart of Haymarket had me initially anxious. But it was the curiosity of revisiting a past hobby, which I recalled quite fondly, that drew me in that weekend afternoon.

I’d first started attending such Bollywood/ Indian fusion dance classes in an attempt to
connect with my culture and make more friends in the South Asian community. I recall the
Bindi Bosses’ director Shyamla Eswaran had also been in attendance at one such class (pre-2019 when Bindi Bosses was not yet established) and she had been a warm and nurturing presence for my teenage self.

So in a way, walking into this workshop led by core artists Shankari Jeyaseelan and Sarangi Rupasinghe felt like revisiting an old part of myself.

Despite the overcast gloomy sky, sunlight filtered into the workshop room illuminating the art of TextaQueen and G.B. Krishnan’s Bollywouldn’t Map of London mural. The attendees this afternoon ranged from a mother and her young boys to friends with previous dance experience, and stragglers like me who attended alone.

Bollywouldn't with Bindi Bosses
Source: supplied

To begin, we were asked to choose a plant or spice from the offerings available like curry leaves, star anise, cardamom, and some native Australian plants and flowers, to put our intentions into and exchange in the end. One older attendee cheekily refused a flower, joking that curry leaves were of far more use to her.

We then moved into warmup activity where we closed our eyes and stretched our bodies, a great way to make us comfortable among each other in this new space.

Dancers in movement workshop
Source: supplied

Next, we became the earth, stomping on the ground, fire, spinning in our socks across the room, turning into water, sliding around on the floor and waving our arms about, becoming currents, waves, and a flowing river. We embodied the root of our world and then were shown how to embody different animals, and before we knew it, we each played a different part. There were some ants, elephants, tigers, peacocks, butterflies, bees, and lotus flowers, fish – and a rogue shark, courtesy of the young boys running circles around everyone.

The room became a flash of movement as we grew more relaxed with each other. There
was a bee sipping from a lotus flower, fish racing through a strong current, a line of rabbits
bounding around, and amid all this, hesitations left with our shoes at the door.

Workshop instructors moving dancerd
Source: supplied

It’s worth mentioning the strong endeavours for accessibility here by Bindi Bosses and Art in the Heart of Haymarket, with an option to sit during the movement workshop, a sign language interpreter, and the ongoing guidance to adapt the movements to suit everyone individually, whether that was physically or based on comfort zones.

By the time we reached the final part of the movement workshop, swapping our plant keepsakes with each other to exchange energy, I was grinning ear to ear. In a sweet additional gesture, freshly picked roses were gifted to all attendees, rounding off a well-executed and inspiring workshop.

At events like this, I find myself leaving, more inspired than ever, to meet new people and
take advantage of these little pockets of cultural bonding that Sydney offers.

READ ALSO: Madhubani Dutta’s latest collection finds hope in the mundane

Iqra Saeed
Iqra Saeed
Iqra is a university student and writer who has too many hobbies to count, including reading, crocheting, and climbing walls at the bouldering gym.

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