We had the good fortune of connecting with Vandita Parikh and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Vandita, why did you pursue a creative career?
Art is something more than just a discipline. I dentify dance as a medium to connect to others and express myself. Indian folk arts is a unique genre not many have ventured into. The variety, distinctiveness, and complexity of Indian Folk dance forms help me widen my understanding and acceptance of other cultures and traditions and create a deeper appreciation of the cultural heritage of that community. Dance , in general also helps bridge gaps between people and the community irrespective of age or background. It provides not just the knowledge and skill but being theraputic in nature ,helps students overcome emotional struggles and boosts self-esteem and confidence. These factors further inspire me to persist in this creative journey of continuous learning.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started my dance journey at the age of 4. I had the blessing to learn Bharatnatyam, an Indian Classical art form from the prestigious school, Kalashetra in Chennai, Tamilnadu. When I turned 16, I was introduced to folk arts and dance training, and that seemed to be my calling. The diversity of folk art, dance, and music and the experience enhanced my exposure to art and culture in general. I owe this to my wonderful teachers at the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts in Ahmedabad. Continuing my education in the folk genre enhanced my capability as a performer. The culture, the depth of traditions, and the heritage that I learned from each state, the beauty and stories behind each tradition and festival celebrated, and the beliefs and myths behind these celebrations intrigued me and got me to research and study this field more. On this journey, I met some great folk artists who practiced their art for generations. Most folk artists are generally self-taught or learn their skills through some type of informal apprenticeship. But their knowledge and experience helped me immensely. I wanted to recognize their art and mastery by learning and passing it on to my students thereby transferring their skills and knowledge to the community. This not only creates awareness of that folk art but creates opportunities for popularizing their work. My dance school Nruthyashakti Folk Academy was established in 1996 in Chennai. I have been teaching in Dallas since 2000 and my dance school has branches in Plano, Frisco, and Irving.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Undoubtedly, Dallas is the best when it comes to its Art District. The Museums, especially the Crow Collection of Asian Art are remarkable.
I have traveled around the country but see no match for the variety of cuisines offered here. Especially when it comes to Indian cuisine, the choices, tastes, and variety are just like in India. Dallas Downtown and FortWorth Downtown are a combination of sophistication and earthiness. Another favorite of mine is the Dallas Arboretum.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Without a support system at home and in the community, it’s impossible to succeed especially in a nonconventional creative career. My husband and my 3 daughters are my pillars of support emotionally and spiritually. Without their unconditional backing, I would not have been able to able to grow as a performer or as a teacher. My mother was the reason dance was introduced into my life and I forever owe her for this blessing. For art to survive, a teacher requires the backing of a strong student community who shares her vision and goals. I give that credit to my dance family and the Dallas Dance community. Their constant backing is the only reason my NrityaSeva, DanceForService initiative is a success.

Website: www.nruthyashakti.com

Instagram: nruthyasdanceacademy

Facebook: vanditaparikh and nruthyashakti dance academy

Youtube: nruthyashakti dance academy

Image Credits
prakash golkonda

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