Siddarth Kelam, graduate of Georgia State University and SAE Institute of Technology, previously interned at Bravo Ocean Studios, where he later became the studio manager. Soon after, he parted ways and started his own company “Sidd Kel Productions.” He currently produces music, consults with independent artists, and works as an audio engineer. He is also the Artistic Director of Kalaivani Dance Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.
Describe your musical and dance background.
I have been dancing since I was three years old and was trained in Bharatanatyam, under the tutelage of my parents. In India, I began learning from my father, Sudershan Kelam. Six years later, I moved to the United States and continued to study the art with my mother, Padmaja Kelam. For about five years, I have also trained in carnatic music, under the guidance of Smt. Savitha Namuduri and Guru Srinath Kalavichirathil. Similarly, I have studied mridangam for approximately four years, under the direction of Guru Subramaniam Vishwanathan, Guru Bharadan, and Guru Santhosh Chandru.
How did you get into Indian classical dancing? What kind of adversity did you face while pursuing it? What was the hardest part to master?
I did not really have a choice about joining, since I was basically born into it. The biggest obstacle I faced was being the only male pursuing Bharatanatyam. I was constantly bullied and made fun of. I even quit dancing, for about a year and a half, before coming back to it later. Honestly, I do not think I have mastered any particular aspect yet. Everyday, I am learning about this beautiful ancient art form.
What do you consider your biggest accomplishment, in relation to dance and music?
I think my biggest accomplishment is that I am able to make a living off of both dance and music. That, within itself, is a huge accomplishment for me.
What artist would you love to collaborate with, and why?
This is such a tough question! I do not think I could fairly answer it. There are so many talented artists out there and I would love to collaborate with everyone, if possible.
How did you prepare to teach at DDCON? What was your favorite part of the weekend?
This was my first time teaching at a convention or in any type of similar setting. I was currently working on a track with Naiem and figured it would be really cool to choreograph to that. I came prepared with two different choreographies for my class. One was for advanced students and one was for semi-beginners. I actually had a variety of both levels, so that was nice. It was amazing to see how many dancers truly wanted to learn classical. My favorite part of the weekend was meeting and networking with all the talented folks that attended DDCON. It was wonderful to see how much passion there is for the arts.
DDCON 2018 Video