Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest forms of classical Indian dance originating from Southern India. I have been practicing this art form for the past 10 years with the Lasya School of Dance in Shrewsbury. I’ve found that dance has allowed me to stay connected to my culture and learn more about my roots, language, and heritage. Throughout the year, I participate in several competitions and events with my group. This summer, I had the opportunity to perform my arangetram –-- which is essentially a solo/duet graduation performance that tests the stamina of a dancer. After preparing for nearly a year, I completed this 5 hour dance performance alongside my partner Divya on August 6th. On stage, we were accompanied by a group of musicians that traveled here all the way from India: including a mridhungamist (Indian drums), nattuvangam (cymbals/bells), flutist, violinist, and vocalist. This has been one of my biggest accomplishments, and I’m thankful to have come this far in my dance journey.
After being introduced to orchestra through the orchestra program at my middle school, I took interest in playing the viola. I started off playing in my school’s orchestra, and eventually even auditioned to join my high school’s chamber orchestra. Outside of school, I am a member of the Worcester Youth Symphony Orchestra. Here, we have weekly rehearsals and several concerts throughout the year. I also have auditioned for Central Senior Districts ,and had the opportunity to be a part of their honors orchestra in the past couple of years.
Last year, I was a team member on Team 1UpOnCancer as a part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Through this organization, I had the opportunity to work with a group of high-schoolers to raise funds for leukemia research. LLS is the largest non-profit dedicated to fighting against blood cancer, and the organization has made a huge impact on the cancer community. This year, I had the opportunity to serve as a candidate and led a team of students through the 7-week fundraising campaign. Our team was called The Cure Crew and we raised over $10,000!
Tutoring has always been something that I have been passionate about because I love working with kids. This past year, I tutored students at Al-Hamra Academy in math and English. This was a fulfilling experience because I got to create a bond with these students and improve my teaching skills.
I volunteer once a week with ESWA (Elder Services of the Greater Worcester Area). This is a nonprofit that assists the elderly by providing meals and healthcare. I help out with administrative work at the office, create personal protective equipment kits, and make phone calls to senior citizens. I also volunteer with the Special Olympics of MA. This organization helps create a more inclusive community for athletes with disabilities. In the past, I’ve participated in the “Polar Plunge” to raise funds for the organization, kept score at the annual Harvard flag football game, and worked with the athletes during track meets. Lastly, I volunteer with STEM Beginnings. This is a program that helps introduce elementary students to the STEM field through various activities and projects. I love being able to share my passion for science with kids, and help inspire curiosity and interest for the subject. Some of my favorite activities include the tower building challenge and glow-in-the-dark lava lamps.
The majority of my community service this year came from a dance event I took part in over the summer. This was a fundraiser event led by my dance school, Lasya School of Dance, in partnership with an organization known as SEWA International. We put together a dance theatre production with ten scenes, elaborate props and costume changes, and nearly 4 hours of music. All funds collected from this event were donated to the Malabar Rehabilitation Center for Handicapped in Kerala, India. Throughout the year, I also helped out with MACS through “Stem Saturday” and Earth Day Events.