Courtyard Dancers and my artistic career exist in tandem. I have studied dance all my conscious life. I began to learn classical Indian dance such as Bharatnatyam and other folk forms in Children’s Little Theatre, Kolkata from an early age. I toured India as a student there. Later I was immersed in a dance technique for two decades: this is Kathak, the classical Indian dance of North and East India. My teachers in Kolkata were famous Kathak gurus such as Vijay Shankar and Bandana Sen. In the U.S, I learned social and cultural analysis and got a doctoral degree in visual anthropology with a focus on dance. I am now a faculty member of Dance at Swarthmore College teaching social theory, dance technique, and dance making. As a choreographer/ethnographer, I bring my embodied knowledge and analytical training to impassioned representations of art, life, and labor. I have worked closely with professional musicians in India and with musicians in the U.S such as Lenny Seidman, Abhiman Kaushal, Ralph Denzer, and Daniel Scholnick, and Chandan Patra. The rhythms or tala cycles of Indian musical structures are the template for my pedagogical and creative work.
I have been learning dance from a young age in Kolkata, India. In the United States, I have continued my training in Kathak with Pallabi Chakravorty. I have also been a student of Janaki Patrik and Satyanarayan Charka. My love affair with Kathak, and dance in general, has withstood the test of time. Pallabi and Courtyard Dancers have given me the space to continue that relationship. In my other life, I am a Sociologist who is interested in social stratification with a focus on international migration, race and ethnic relations, transnationalism and globalization. I earned my doctoral degree in Sociology from Temple University. Currently, I teach in the Department of Sociology/ Anthropology at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, New Jersey.
Dance is a delicate balance between perfection and freedom. Mesmerized by Pallabi's performance at a community function, at the young age of 8 I began my tutelage with her. She has shown me how to think outside the box, and dance within the lines. I continued my Kathak training with Guru Bandana Sen and Suchandra Banerjee at the Nupur Dance Academy in Kolkata, India. At Carnegie Mellon University, I was the dance director of Mayur (an Indian organization) and vice president and elected president of SASA (South Asian Student Alliance). I used these positions to increase awareness of Kathak and also choreograph and perform as much as I could. Kathak is my main area of concentration and training, but I have also choreographed/performed other styles such as modern, contemporary, bollywood, and urban. In the past 3 years, I have started to acquire students of my own. At one point, I had close to 100 students, one of the best of them being Priyanka Govani, now a member of the Courtyard Dancers. Currently, I am teaching Kathak in Pittsburgh, our first "branch" of the Courtyard Dancers Academy. Courtyard Dancers has been weaved into the very core of my being. Currently at the University of Pittsburgh, I am pursuing a degree in law, hoping to specialize in intellectual property, an issue important to artists.
I am the youngest and newest member of Courtyard Dancers. At the age of three, I started training in Kathak with Padma Khanna. Later, I began training with Naina Roychowdhury in Bollywood style dancing as well as Kathak. It was through Naina that I learnt of Courtyard Dancers. With Courtyard Dancers, I began a more intense training in the dance form. Although I will begin a new chapter in my life as a college student soon, I plan to continue training in Kathak as well.