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Dance

Social Justice Spotlight: Illini Ishaara

As a community, we strive to embrace all individuals of various ethnicities, genders, religions, and sexualities. We believe that everyone should be treated equally and with respect. This series of spotlights focuses on social justice pieces, so that everyone feels welcomed and supported.

Artist Spotlight: Sidd Kelam

Siddarth Kelam, graduate of Georgia State University and SAE Institute of Technology, previously interned at the prestigious 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.

Project Spotlight: DDN Ambassadors

The Desi Dance Network Ambassador Program is an initiative to establish DDN on campuses across the country. The initial group has 23 Ambassadors on 18 campuses. Ambassadors will help integrate campus South Asian Organizations into DDN, explain DDN’s Mission and projects, create events calendars for DDN’s database, complete Pearups for South Asian organizations registered with DDN, and initiate their own DDN projects on their respective campuses.

 

DDN Ambassador for University of Georgia: Mayank Gandhi

I think the most successful people that I know are my parents. They have given up everything from their days in India and from their days in South Africa to give my sister and me everything that we have now. Its cliche but all the memories I am making and have made at UGA, all the memories I have made from high school, from dance, from sporting events, and everything in between is because of my parent's sacrifices and I couldn't thank them enough for what they did.

"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing and learning to do" - Pele

DDN Ambassador for University of Texas at Dallas: Tanvi Wattal

"Dance is not only an art, but also a way of life!"

DDN Ambassador for University of Texas at Dallas: Anish Patel

"When life hands you back problems, make the most of the dope waiting room at the MRI center."

DDN Ambassador for University of South Carolina: Priyanka Patel 


"Making decisions and being confident is hard. Especially for me. But, this is me making the best decision ever and being completely confident in it."

DDN Ambassador for Georgia State University: Shridha Abay

"Every time I dance, I turn into a better version of me."

DDN Ambassador for University of Texas at Austin: Priya Mehta

"Dance has always been a part of my life. I cannot remember a time before it. One of my earliest memories is of my mother teaching me a folk dance. Most of my milestones are somehow tied to the art. It is the foundation of the strongest friendships I've made and I cannot imagine a life without it."

DDN Ambassador for University of South Florida: Nishi Patel

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" -George Bernard

DDN Ambassador for Purdue University: Abhinav Agrawal

"I had never danced before in my life and used to be involved with other extracurricular activities like painting, calligraphy and theater until I came to Purdue. I went to the Purdue Indian Dance Club's (PIDC) tryout to accompany a friend and got selected somehow. I was involved with PIDC for 4 years leading the team as their captain and transforming it from a performing team to a competitive team. In my wildest dreams had I not imagined myself dancing let alone leading a dance team. Now I know that Any Body Can Dance! "

DDN Ambassador for University of Alabama at Birmingham: Karan Jani

"I think that my curiosity has really shaped who I am as a person. I love to explore different disciplines and hobbies, which often leads me down some interesting paths that I have to somehow fit into my journey. It's almost like I just sort of wander off in the direction of the things I know least about, or the things that are the opposite of what I believe in. That sort of curiosity has pushed me to be more balanced as a person, which is what I truly want to achieve in the end, regardless of where I end up in life."

DDN Ambassador for University of South Carolina: Shreya Shah


"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."

DDN Ambassador for University of Texas at Austin: Shweta Julka


"99% of all the life advice I've received from my mom and dad has been in the form of Amitabh Bachchan movie quotes. It's hilarious. It's adorable. It's so them. Ask anyone and they'd probably tell you the same thing, and that's that I couldn't be prouder to be their daughter."

DDN Ambassador for University of Rochester: Amie Patel

"When I was little, I would watch my mom choreograph and teach dances to all the older girls in our community. I was the tiny little girl all the way in the back stumbling through the dance moves, trying to keep up with the beat of the music and the fast paced steps. As uncoordinated as I was, I didn't have a care in the world for what was going on around me, and that's the reason I love to dance so much. It's so easy to immerse yourself into a whole different universe where nothing else matters besides you and your moves. Even now, after so many years have passed, I still feel like the little girl who wants nothing more than to just dance her heart out."

DDN Ambassador for Georgia Institute of Technology: Malvika Chaudhary

"Often times, I see Dadima as the Queen from 'The Princess Diaries', and myself as Princess Mia - awkward and disoriented. The Queen shaped Mia into a lady, and I like to think that Dadima has done the same with me. She would tell me to sit with my legs crossed, as a poised young lady should. She would spray me with her millions of perfumes, and tease my hair with her glitters and hair sprays - things I have now learnt to do on my own.

Dancing is something I picked up during her illness. It was a coping mechanism of sorts, a means to let out my frustrations as well as express what words couldn't. Dadima always loved the arts, whether it be singing, cooking, dancing - just about anything in that realm made her smile, and my picking up Indian dancing was something she was proud of.

Dadima taught me many skills I was unaware I had up until recently; grace is a quality she always emphasized, and dancing is a form of grace, with its own added twists. She was my queen, and I aspire to be her princess - expressing the grace and elegance she taught me through dance." 

DDN Ambassador for University of Alabama at Birmingham: Parita Sutaria

“I think expression is extremely important, whether it be through dance, music, writing, or anything else. I love being a part of this growing community where people are being encouraged to express themselves and share their voice with others.”

DDN Ambassador for The College of New Jersey: Sana Perti

"do not burn, to burn out. burn for what ignites worlds within you. ~iamhertribe

Dance is what ignites worlds within me and I want to use that fire to continuously learn, grow, and better myself "

DDN Ambassador for North Carolina State University: Arati Patel

"What I lack in height I make up for in appetite”

DDN Ambassador for University of Alabama at Birmingham: Rozhan Gharbari

"Nolite te bastardes carborundorum"

DDN Ambassador for Northeastern University: Bhavin Patel

"So last year, I decided to get more involved in the community here at Northeastern. I took a leadership position on the eboard of my fraternity, was president of the raas team here on campus, took some of the hardest courses in my major to challenge myself, and even joined a separate raas team in Boston to go and get a taste of the circuit.

One day, I was talking to one of my friends about how our respective lives were going, and he asks me, "How do you do it? You're a part of so many organizations, and it's not like you have and easy major either. How haven't you burnt out already?"

Well, it's simple really. You just have to love everything. I know, it's cheesy, but if you honestly love every second of whatever it is that you're doing, then you'll feel like you're on top of the world.

And hey, who doesn't love some cheese?"

DDN Ambassador for UCLA: Hiren Patel

"I am Hiren Patel, a sophomore at UCLA. I was also on the UCLA Raas team this past year, and I really enjoyed being on it and competing. I'm very excited to be an ambassador for DDN this coming to year, we are going to have a lot planned to make this circuit better than ever!"

DDN Ambassador for University of Virginia: Pushpak Pondugula

"The first time that I started dancing was back in 11th grade. The reason how I got into it probably sounds cliché. What is that reason you may ask? Well to be honest, I did it to impress a girl.

I joined a dance group with a bunch of my friends to put on a performance at our local cultural show. I was ready to own the stage and show everyone my dancing prowess. But quickly I realized the fault in my plans. There was not a single bone in my body that had rhythm, check my X-rays from then if you must. I was a terrible dancer and my thoughts about "woo-ing" with my dance skills quickly disappeared.

Luckily for me, I was fortunate enough to have a group of friends who motivated me to keep going at it with some constructive criticism ranging from 'Oh my god what are you doing!' to 'Just stop now please.' All jokes aside, my friends made sure that I did not quit at dancing and spent a few hours with me trying to get me to learn choreography that might take some of you a few minutes to learn. I was definitely discouraged at first but as time went on I realized that I was getting better and I wasn't god awful anymore!

Fast forward 5 years later to present time and dancing has taken over my life. I am currently a dancer on my collegiate Raas team, UVA HooRaas, the PR chair of River City Raas Board, and a DDN Ambassador. Dancing has brought me close to some of the greatest people I have known in my lifetime and opened up doors I never knew existed!

I don't think dancing will ever come as easy to me or as natural to me as most of you guys reading this post. And I don't know why it took me so long to start dancing. But I do know that I'm glad that dancing has become such a huge part of my life and nothing will stop me from dancing my heart out (as terrible as it may look) and I can't wait for where dancing will take me next.

p.s. I hope you like my 'mugshot'"

DDN Ambassador for Wisconsin Madison: Pallavi Malla

"I was painfully shy, growing up. I would go days without uttering
more than a sentence. My parents and teachers tried everything they
could to get me to feel more comfortable talking to others. I enrolled
in musical theater. We performed ‘Horton Hears a Who.’  I played the
who. I had one line. Next I enrolled in ballet. In the middle of the performance, I got nervous and curled up on stage, staying there until the show ended. But then, I started Bharatanatyam, and felt an immediate connection. The language spoken was universal, and my movements could tell my story. With different hand gestures —or hastas— I could show flowers, bees, the sun, and a multitude of different words. With different facial expressions— or abhinaya— I could express beauty, disgust, sadness, and more.  One of my first performances was on national television, so I wasn't able to hide. It forced me to perform, and made me realize that I loved it. I kept on performing, exploring more dance styles and found an instant love for Bollywood. I discovered the competitive fusion circuit, and soon realized how insane all of us are. We put in so much time, money, and effort into one performance piece, and yet we all love doing it, because it means something to every one of us. Collectively, we have created an art form representative of many of our identities, as South Asians growing up in the US. The dance we do involves the intertwining of arts, culture, education, emotion, experience, and so much more. We each find something special from it, and its an amazing thing to be a part of."
 

DDN Ambassador for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Vandan Patel

"I have lived in New Jersey my whole life, within 30 mins of pretty much my whole family. These are the people that have supported me and pushed me to do what whatever I wanted to do in life. Looking around at all the success that my family and friends have achieved over the years has really pushed me to do bigger and better things and be the person I am today. Constantly pushing and achieving the next level is what I live by - 'Success has never been an option - it has always been a mindset'"

DDN Ambassador for University of California, San Diego: Dipika Kasliwal

"I think the coolest part about today's world is that the key to success and happiness is just being genuinely passionate about all that you do. There are so many opportunities out there to delve into your passions. Once you do, the inevitable obstacles you run into will be worth it because you'd have it no other way. Each roadblock is awesome cause it'll just teach you more about yourself and what to do/what not to do towards whatever goal you have. I definitely have to give a shoutout to all the awesome people that have helped me never lose sight of myself. Thank you for being the best."

 

 

 

ATTN: DDN Brand Ambassadors will now be considered on a rolling admission basis, and you can apply at this link: http://goo.gl/forms/JciDlQ2gquKTtULC2. Please email rlarsen@desidancenetwork.org with any questions you may have regarding the DDN Ambassador Program!

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Artist Spotlight: Bhavika Patel

Bhavika Patel, also known as Bhavi, is currently a sophomore at North Carolina State University. She majors in computer and electrical engineering because she loves working with computers and development. With her degree, she hopes to make enough money to support her passion, dancing. After she graduates, she plans to work for a technology company and wants to keep dancing, whether it be taking classes or choreographing.

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Artist Spotlight: Aahlad Vadrevu

Aahlad Sivadev Vadrevu, also known as “Brolad,” graduated in May 2015, from University of Illinois at Chicago. He majored in Industrial Engineering because of his interest in math and science. He enjoys this broad category of engineering because it covers several different subjects, like mechanics, statistics, and management, and suited his indecisive personality. Currently, he maintains a supply chain management position at Ace Hardware Corporation.