From virtual rehearsals to live audience: local students prepare for classical Indian dance recital

Published: Mar. 12, 2022 at 11:22 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (WMTV) - After practicing virtually for a year, three local students are preparing to share their traditional art form with a live audience.

Sneha Chandrashekar, Ishika Pulimamidi and Sumathi Nagaraj are all students in the Madison area. They have been training in Indian classical dance for years under Guru Meenakshi Ganesan of the Kalaanjali Dance Company.

Every year, master trainer Ganesan takes on a select group of dancers as apprentices, made possible through the Folk Arts Apprenticeship Grant by the Wisconsin Arts Board. In culmination of their dance studies, Ganesan coordinates an Apprenticeship Recital. But this year’s performance is unique. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the students have been learning their dances virtually. Saturday was one of the first times they had practiced together, in-person, in two years.

“All of them, they just worked really hard despite the challenges,” said Ganesan. “We’ve had Wi-Fi challenges; we’ve had jumps in screen disconnects through zoom. They worked their way up and they have kept up with it.”

For Chandrashekar, the difficulties of the virtual dance lessons were worth it to keep her connected to her familial history.

“It ties me back to my cultural heritage,” she said. “I am Indian-America, so it ties me back to my Indian roots. It’s been a great opportunity for me.”

Ganesan is grateful to pass down the art form to the next generation, and especially proud of this group of apprentices

“I love that the younger generation who learned from me have all this knowledge now to turn it on to the next generation to continue the culture going forward.”

In the spirit of how they learned the dances, Chandrashekar says those who are interested can watch the performance live, virtually; but in-person attendance is encouraged. The recital begins at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 13 at Cardinal Heights Upper Middles School PAC in Sun Prairie. Click here to learn more.

Copyright 2022 WMTV. All rights reserved.