Inspiring Teachers

"One of the greatest gifts of my training under various gurus has been the rich and varied repertoire that I have inherited. Each guru has a different approach to teaching and to dance. Anuradha Nehru was my first teacher, in Washington, DC where I grew up. She is a perfectionist- I have a strong foundation of good clean movement technique from her. She was adamant that we practice and I’m so glad she was not easy on us when we were kids, because that kind of rigorous training lasts a lifetime. When I was 16, I started learning Bharatanatyam from Leela Samson in New Delhi. This has had a huge impact on my life and my dance. She is well known as a performer, a teacher, an intellectual. She taught how life and dance are not separate- what people see on stage is your relationship to dance, and your relationship to the world. Being kind and gentle and loving and intelligent is more important than perfect technique! It was Leela Akka who suggested I go to Swapnasundari, the genius Kuchipudi and Vilasini Natyam dancer. Her knowledge of dance in Andhra is like an encyclopedia! One of the pieces I learnt from her, Usha Parinayam, is a traditional piece- a gem. In Delhi I also trained under Seetha Nagajothy, who polished and trained my movements with precision. In Chennai, I trained in Kuchipudi under Jaikishore Mosalikanti, whose Kuchipudi choreography and understanding of music is outstanding. I am so grateful to each one! The greatest joy of being an artist, especially in classical arts, is that the learning is endless- the art form is an ocean!" - Amrita Lahiri