x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

A perennial New Year's resolution

If I do sign up for classical dance in the new year, I will be the oldest, and least-talented student in any class in the Emirates to pass through their doors.

Another year has come to a close. It will mark three years in the desert for me, and for many others I know who chose Abu Dhabi over Dubai or Doha - just when the boom was getting started.

In that time, there has been little in terms of resolutions. I am sure we could all be fitter, more careful with money or even happier, but it was only this week when an invitation to an Indian classical dance recital arrived in my inbox that I was reminded of an abandoned resolution from a few years ago.

In university, every year I resolved to do one of two things: learn to play the drums or pick up where I left off with my Indian classical dance classes. As an impertinent child at boarding school, I wore shorts to Bharatnatyam dance classes because I was so eager to play basketball (which happened soon after the dance classes), and I was kicked out. At that time, pride won over modesty.

A few years later, in high school, I picked it up again, but unlike most Indian classical dancers who spend a better part of their lives honing their skills, I did not stand a chance of being a dance debutante - the point at which you are acknowledged by your peers and the community as being a somewhat accomplished dancer. Most of my friends managed to get to that point and then never danced again, at least not professionally.

Once abroad, there were plenty of opportunities to still connect with the motherland. One of the best ways that Indian parents managed to impart some sense of heritage was by enrolling their children into classes, such as music and dance. I should have but I didn't. One year I came up short for dance tuition fees. Another year I was so torn between the drums and dance that I couldn't make a decision. For years after that, a resolution to take up dancing never crossed my mind.

In Abu Dhabi, I profiled a number of dance teachers and classes, but work, with its erratic hours, did not lend itself to at least five days a week of rigorous practice.

This week, though, I looked back and thought of the time when, in school, my dance teacher would insist on dedication above all else. I didn't have it then and sadly, after all these years, I don't have it now.

If I do sign up for classical dance in the new year, I will be the oldest, and least-talented student in any class in the Emirates to pass through their doors. But will I make a resolution for next year? The honest answer still remains, I don't know.