Suruchi Srikanth Indian Cultural Heritage Festival Scholarship
This past summer, Suruchi Srikanth—a private Indian Classical Dance teacher—
had the opportunity to learn about the Kathak style from professionals straight from
India. She will bring back her new knowledge to her students with the hope of
“transmitting joy.” Suruchi, who started Indian Classical Dance at age six, always
looked up to her teacher and now fulfills her goal of giving back to others through
the cultural learning experience of Indian Classical Dance.
She was a petite woman - but her energy and passion made her seem a lot bigger, more powerful. She may have been small and agile but she was a bundle of limitless energy. Even when she was simply talking, describing the meaning of the dance we would be learning or explaining the nuances of a particular step, her eyes danced and her body swayed to the music. I remember her saying on the first day of the dance workshop that she was crazy about dance and she hoped that by the end we would become as crazy as her.
I can honestly say that Nirupama aunty and her husband Rajendra uncle – the dancing Kathak duo from India – definitely achieved that goal. By the end of the workshop, I was even crazier about dance than when I started. In the ten short days that I had worked with Nirupama and Rajendra, I had fine-tuned my expressions, learned and participated in group choreography, discovered subtle body movements to enhance my dance technique, delved into the details of our dance music, and learned basic steps to a different style of Indian Classical dance - Kathak. Yet, by the end of the workshop, I found myself yearning to learn more and more about the beautiful art forms of Bharata Natyam and Kathak.
I followed up this desire to learn more by participating in another one week workshop conducted by C.V. Chandrasekar from India. I was amazed by his dancing and teaching abilities. As a gentleman of over 70 years of age, he was jumping around on the dance floor as nimbly as each of us 18 year olds. While marveling at his technique and physical fitness, I learned volumes more about Bharata Natyam. I discovered how the same phrase of music can take on a different meaning by subtly changing the expressions used without even changing a single hand gesture. I also learned the value of repetition in perfecting a piece.
This summer has completely transformed me as a dancer. I have expanded my horizons and increased my desire to learn as much as I can about Indian Classical Dance. Thank you Dance Council for providing me with these life changing opportunities.