January falls in love with dance, again

In 2012 Latina singer and dancer, Jennifer Lopez released her greatest hit album featuring a new single, Dance Again in which she declares that she wants to “dance and love and dance again”. Fast forward some two years later Malaysia’s Sutra sweetheart (and local JLow in her own right), January Low-Siva seems to be humming the same tune. Unlike JLo, who credits the song as her anthem and metaphor, which stood for her surviving a rough divorce –January is making her return to the spotlight with a new outlook and zest for life after marrying PR headliner, Managing Director of Edelman Kuala Lumpur, Raymond Siva and giving birth to her now year-old twins, Leo and Jade.

One would assume that a first time mother of twins would be often caught with frazzled and a little out of depths but not with January.

“Being a dancer has definitely influenced the way I’ve approached motherhood. Especially since I’ve been raising the twins on my own while my husband goes to work, without any assistance from a helper or babysitter. I’ve implemented a very strict schedule for myself and the babies as well, which thankfully means they have regular sleeping eating and patterns, which allows me to organize the rest of my day accordingly.”

Discipline in the defining word of her ability to juggle two babies and still be able to slowly start dancing again in her basement at home, which she has transformed into a dance studio as well as venturing into writing through blogposts on www.makchic.com, which reflect an honest and raw perspective on being a modern mother. In November last year, January made her comeback to the limelight with fellow Sutra alumnae, Rathimalar Govindarajoo as part of Akademi Seni Budaya Dan Warisan Kebangsaan’s (Aswara) Tari ‘14 dance festival. Rehearsals were held on a daily basis in January’s home studio and (if they were awake) the twins played the enthusiastic audience.

Later that month, she made her first solo appearance during the Borak Arts Series 2014, the country’s primary regional networking platform for creative practitioners and business leaders from around the world, highlighted how there are means provided by the public and private sectors, both locally and internationally that may assist in bridging these gaps in funding and mobility. The series which was held on 22nd & 23rd November at MapKL, Publika, is the country’s primary regional networking platform for creative practitioners and business leaders from around the world. In December, she returned to Orissa, the land of Odissi, to perform for the first time. A feat she never had the courage to take on before.

“As a wife and mother, it’s okay to want more. If you choose to give up your career to care for your children, that’s fine. But it’s also okay if you want to go back to work. It’s important what energy you surround your children with. There’s no point being at home and feeling depressed and unhappy because the kids will pick up on it,” she says, sharing that her parents and siblings are always willing to lend a helping hand, if necessary, when it comes to looking after the twins in order to accommodate her schedule. 

“It’s important for women, and mothers especially, to make time for themselves and have their own personal space. I’m happy to say that focusing on dance makes me feel like myself again”

As clichéd as it may appear, you can take January out of the dance but you can’t take the dance out of January. Who would want to?

This article was published on January 11, 2015 in the Malay Mail.