We've come through a very special, challenging, wholesome week in August. The girls have attended Sports Camp, been in rehearsal for their 76th Indian Independence Day Performance and attended regular classes to ensure progress with their practice.

For the Sports Camp, we welcomed Coaches: Ms. Bhavisha Kothari and Sir Dinanath Maurya, from Bombay, who trained our girls in multiple Track and Field events, introducing them to Runs, Jumps, Throws, Co-ordination, Strength and Core Drills.

Our girls showed up to every drill (most of which they were having a go at for the very first time) with such gusto, revealing to us their hidden gifts and potential for so many Track and Field events.

It was a moment of great pride to watch our girl, Kaajal, run faster than the fastest boy in and around Dhasa, when the kids were coming through time trials on the field.

The coaches left so impressed and stressed the importance of focus and discipline multiple times for our girls to keep with in the long years to come.

We have been putting in tremendous work on the Endurance Running front as well. And the girls were working through multiple sessions a day to build that lethal combination of speed, strength and stamina. Inevitably, Endurance Running sets them up for Dance, since the latter requires immense physical and mental fortitude and endurance. Hopefully, they shall persist as they have.

Ms. Bhavisha even took our girls through their first lesson in Contemporary Dance and Freestyle movement which proved to be a lot of fun for the girls.

As a breather (and essential!), our girls played football and watched football, given that the Women's World Cup is underway. Their enthusiasm for the sport is only growing by the minute.

We have even been showing them arty music videos and film scenes for them to pick up the finer details of different scenes, settings, characters and emotions so they may translate these through their Art; through Classical Dance, going forward.

Rehearsals for their performance titled, "वतन" , An Ode to Our Nation, have been rather intense. They danced to the glory of India, in songs filled with patriotic fervour and one that specifically praised their motherland, Gujarat.

The same songs they danced to were sung by a small group of musicians amongst us as well. It was a joy to teach the girls to sing Classically and take them through Music and Poetry Appreciation sessions for Zaverchand Meghani's poem for his heartland - "Jai Jai Garvi Gujarat".

More importantly, the girls learnt with even more emphasis that there is no dancing without music; that powerful words and melodies, when put together, provide the inspiration for their movement and choroegraphy.

Their performance: On the morning of August 15th, 2023, the 76th Indian Independence Day, was attended by all and sundry in and around Dhasa - probably the largest gathering of people this village has thus far known on a day like this. And they made us so PROUD.

They were graceful, strong, co-ordinated, smiling and the direct result of all the enormous hard work they had put in.

Their Music and Dance recital, a tribute to their homeland, was so well received by all. So many of the village elders, mothers and fathers were moved to tears, their chests simultaneously swelling with pride for their daughters - the daughters of Dhasa.

To pull off a performance like this, alongwith all the regular practice (which often involves learning new fundamentals and routines and combinations and revising the old and multifarious preparatory work) and training they are meant to do as part of Junoon and participating in a whole entire Sports Camp and all the rigour that came with it, is no mean feat.

Our girls are rockstars!

They made us so proud this week. They awakened the pride of their nation in so many others through their Songs and Dances. And, all along, they broadened the scope of Classical Dance; of the Athleticism and Artistry inside them, all at once.

Keep your Junoon, girls. Hold onto it.
There's so much more still to come!