Dancing and drawing are skills that can only be perfected after years of tedious training and maybe not even then, but what if you started when you were five? Twelve-year-old Aida Ramsahai did exactly that, from the age of five. Aida watched her sister Arana practise classical East Indian dancing for Baal Vikaas competitions. From there, she ventured on her own dance journey by competing for the Rio Claro Hindu Primary School and performing with Simone's Dance Academy.
In an interview with Newsday Kids on Thursday, Aida said, "Because my sister participated in Baal Vikaas competitions for dance, she roped me into it as well. And if I don't know a dance move, I can always go to her."
Baal Vikaas competitions comprise seven categories – classical dancing being one of them – and Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha registered primary schools participate in them. Her school won the second-place trophy in 2019. This was also the last time any Baal Vikaas competitions were held – owing to the covid19 pandemic – before its return this year.
Aida showcased her talent to Newsday Kids at the Chandrasekhar Vishnu Mandir, Naparima/Mayaro Road, Rio Claro, where she performed a Kanha dance, which she said, "didn't take more than a month" to learn. The form one student of Rio Claro West Secondary School said learning the dances doesn't take her longer than a few weeks.
"Dancing is very active and since I started at a young age, I just grew into it."
For her performance, she wore a bright yellow and pink sari. Not once did she miss a step or get nervous, as she let her elegance, grace and talent do most of the work.
She beamed with pride when she recalled performing this dance at S&S Persad's Indian Arrival Day celebrations at Naparima/Mayaro Road, last Saturday.
She said Simone's Dance Academy will not have practice until CSEC and CAPE examinations are over, to give its members sitting these exams that time to focus. Aida said she'll do her dances at home and once the academy reopens, she plans to make her presence known at all rehearsals and competitions. She said when she registered with the group, she wasn't old enough to take part in competitions, but after turning 12 in January, she is excited to be included.
As for her art, she said, drawing is what she most gravitates to, but, to make her art look "pretty," she'll endure colouring her pieces. Aida also started drawing at the age of five and her love for it developed because of school. She said at the time, all she was able to draw were animals for her science class but she prefers drawing Lord Ganesh. After SEA exams in 2021, she immediately spent her free time watching YouTube videos on how to draw Lord Ganesh, and so she did.
"Lord Ganesh is my favourite form of God in the Hindu religion and that's why I drew him first."
Aida went on to compete in art competitions run by businesses in the Rio Claro community to encourage young people to channel their creativity. So far, she has won two and is working on winning more. Her first art competition was in 2020 at A Little Diner on Todd's Road, Carapo. Children were asked to create a unique mask design and she won with her rainbow-coloured mask and multi-coloured covid19 germs with the words, "coronavirus prevention" written on it. Aida won a breakfast at the diner and a mask with her very own design.
"I keep the mask I got in a drawer but sometimes, I show my family members who come over."
The other competition she entered was last year, for Project Hope TT, a charitable organisation that works closely with S&S Persad. The competition encouraged children to create a piece depicting what Divali would be like with covid19 looming. Aida drew deyas surrounded by angry-looking viruses with an orange, white and blue background. She won stationery, which she added to her "art pencil case," and a notebook with a pineapple on the cover which she especially loves because pineapple is her favourite fruit.
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Aida sees herself becoming either an engineer or a police officer. She hasn't decided yet – she wants to be an engineer since she loves creating, and a police officer because of her dad who is one. But, for now, with the July/August vacation approaching, Aida plans to relax by watching as many YouTube video and Pinterest pins as she can to fuel her drawing. She also plans to keep dancing and help her mother cook and bake.