Classical Indian Dance Club Is On Its Way


Media by Mike Oransky

Supraja Deevi, junior, was placed in Nrithyakshetra, a Bharatnatyam dance school, by her mother when she was in seventh grade. Above is Deevi and her dance troupe in performance.

Supraja Deevi, junior, was placed in Nrithyakshetra, a Bharatnatyam dance school, by her mother when she was in seventh grade. At the time, she didn’t have any interest in Indian classical dance. 

But after some time, she developed a passion for dance, which sparked her interest in starting a dance club at MHS.

Deevi said that hearing that many students dance outside of school also inspired her to start the club. She wanted to have a club where she could teach others about traditional Indian dance and culture. 

Indian dance is a type of dance that achieves communication through facial expressions, body language, eye movement, and gestures. Deevi said that classical Indian dance is often used to tell a story or mood. Traditional clothing, jewelry, and makeup are worn to be pleasing to the eye so the audience can be drawn in. 

“The club’s mission is to really turn to talk about our culture. We’re trying to be like ‘hey, you know, we have a club about Indian classical dance, and what their traditions are, and like each dance has its different forms, and how we do it,’” Deevi said. 

When the club is finalised, Deevi said she hopes to teach others who join about the different Classical dances and their eight forms, which include styles like Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniyattam. She aims to spread the culture of India through activities and lessons.

Supraja Deevi (right), with her classical Indian dance teacher, Guru Smitha Rajan (left), at Nrithyakshetra Dance Academy. (Media by Jyothirmayi Deevi)

Nicole Roberts, SSD Environmental Science and Biology teacher, is sponsoring a club for her first time, and said she is very excited to be a part of the whole process. Although she doesn’t have much background knowledge in Indian Dance, she hopes to learn more about it.

“I’m excited, I think it’ll be fun to work with the students and with the community.” Roberts Said. 

Morgan Mitchell, SSD U.S. History teacher, is also quite excited as she is co-sponsoring the club with Roberts for her first time as well. 

Shriya Aachi, senior, who has been dancing the Bharatnatyam form for over six  years, is helping Deevi with the club. She plans to help make the presentations and activities to help people learn more about their culture. 

Looking forward, Aachi said she hopes the club, which currently has six members, is a stress reliever and fun. 

“This is our first year, so we want a lot of engagement from the students and classmates,” Aachi said.

Nartana Premachandra, president of Dances of India, said that hearing about a high school student starting a club about Indian dance is something that is nice to hear. Forty-four years ago, when her parents first started Dances of India, an Indian classical dance company, Indian culture and dance was not something common in the area. 

Premachandra said Indian classical dance is unique when it comes to expression and emotion portrayed through the stories, with intricate poses and hand movements separating Indian dance from other forms of dances. She said that many people from different backgrounds can learn and dance it, and a club like the one Deevi is starting, is a good way of doing that. 

 “As long as you have the imagination, and you like music and dance, then you can learn it,” Premachandra said.