The Oracle

Q&A with kathak dancer Ridhaa Sachidanandan


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Compiled by Naina Murthy
The Oracle (TO): What kind of dance do you do?
Ridhaa Sachidanandan (RS): I started off doing Bollywood dancing and then I stopped during sophomore year because my team went to college. And I have also been doing kathak, [a Hindu story-telling dance], since I was six.
TO: Why do you like this type of dance?
RS: Well, I like all types of dance but I just started off with those. I want to learn more in college but I like dance because you don’t really remember anything while you’re dancing. It is a really good stress reliever. It is a lot of fun—endorphins and whatnot.
TO: Why is dancing important to you?
RS: Dance is important to me, not just because it is a stress reliever but because it is a huge part of my culture. Especially the type of dance I do. And it has created this society that I am a partof now. Because I do dance, I made a lot of friends, and it has just become
a really big part of my life. Not just the dance itself, which is huge to me, but teaching it and everything else is also.
TO: Do you feel more connected with your culture?
RS: Yes, definitely. Mainly because by doing dance you end up becoming immersed in the culture. I get invited to different activities outside of dance like Holi. Also, kathak and Bollywood are huge parts of Indian culture. For example my teacher learned from some famous teachers, so it is a great feeling to see his name on the big screen and say, “Hey, I met him! He taught me.”
TO: What draws you to kathak?
RS: I think it’s because I find it to be re- ally beautiful. A lot of it is really graceful and I think the fact that it is so subtle. It’s a way for me to express myself without feeling inhibited. Usually at school you can’t really express how you are feeling a lot of the time. But with dancing, if you feel sad you can put on a sad song and dance to it.
TO: Do you think Indian dancing has evolved?
RS: Yes. You can definitely see how kathak is being incorporated?
TO: Have you learned more about your culture?
RS: Yes. Well, the big things of Indian culture are the multiple cultural events and then religion. From kathak you learn a lot about the culture because the dance is a form of storytelling. So, my teacher will teach us how to show ladies walking with a pot and how ladies do their sari.
TO: What inspires you to keep on dancing.
RS: It’s a great feeling just dancing in general. It’s good exercise seeing as I don’t exercise in any other way. But I also love teaching. It’s really great when you see a kid start to become excited about dancing. And that itself is a huge inspiration into Bollywood dancing now. But one thing I like about kathak is a lot of has remained the same over centuries. So it’s cool to learn that it is part of the Indian culture from the past. And then Bollywood is the kind where everyone is su- per energetic and pumped all the time.

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The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School
Q&A with kathak dancer Ridhaa Sachidanandan