Raised funds for non profit organisation "Dance With Joy"
Raised funds for Murugan Temple, MD
Won the First prize for Group Dance
Won the Third Prize for Group dance
Won the First prize for Group Dance for 2 consecutive years
Judge for George Mason University's College level dance competition for 4 consecutive years
Hi! My name is Akshara Rajagopal. I’m 13 years old and I’m a student at Kalavaridhi dance school. This is my 6th year learning dance under Sheela aunty’s tutelage. I still vividly remember my first class walking into the classroom, a little anxious as I did not know anyone there and my mom had to drop me and leave. But I had a great class and there is no looking back. I was always super thrilled after class waiting to show off my newly learned adavus to my mom and I would go over everything all over again at home. I continued to enjoy the classes and especially liked how Sheela aunty always encouraged me to sit in “araimandi” which honestly sometimes was very hard for me :). I also enjoyed how Sheela aunty would share a few of her experiences when she was a student herself along with other interesting anecdotes that sometimes would make the whole class laugh. I am thankful that from the beginning Sheela aunty always stressed on perfecting our hand and leg positions during the dance which now I understand makes it more graceful. She would also insist her students on stomping the foot hard while dancing and ALWAYS pays close attention to even our eye movement. I am glad Sheela aunty also teaches us the meaning of every word in each song that we learn which has helped me understand the message conveyed in the dance.
I am going to be honest now...when I started middle school, I was so distracted with other school related stuff that dance took a back seat but then very soon I realized I missed practicing dance at home. Also, as the dance routines became more complicated I realized how important it is for me to practice as much as possible prior to the class. Ms. Sheela would always say that practicing everyday for however little bit will make a difference and go a long way and I totally believe in it now. With virtual classes, Ms. Sheela had introduced the students to the Flipgrid app where I can record my practice sessions and send it to her for her feedback. I would be eagerly waiting to hear her response and she has never once disappointed me. She would look at my video recordings and give her comments which was very helpful for me in perfecting the dance moves. This am sure is a lot more work for Ms. Sheela and will take up a lot of her time and I want to take this opportunity to let her know that I sincerely appreciate it. I try to incorporate her suggestions in my following practice routines. It just amazes me to see how Sheela aunty is so dedicated to the art form that even though on days when she has back pain, she continues to dance and teach us. This is one thing that definitely baffles me and also motivates me to give my best!
Dance has definitely helped me focus. Sheela aunty would give a math count for the “shollukattais” that helped me to easily remember the movement :-) sometimes she even challenges with a different beat. Another aspect that I like about her dance is the abhinaya. It is so subtle yet graceful and I will be a happy dancer if I can learn how to emote like her with shraddha :-). I'm so thankful and proud to be a Kalavaridhi student and I can't wait to continue learning Bharatanatyam from Sheela aunty. I thank my parents for enrolling me in Kalavaridhi when there are several other dance schools they could have registered me in :-) I remember my mom telling me that I was on the wait-list for two years before Sheela aunty could actually take me in :-) Thank you Sheela aunty for guiding me in learning this beautiful art form. I am looking forward to many more years of happy dancing.