PREETI VINAYAK - PRINCIPAL DANCER AND DIRECTOR
�Why do we dance, Why do we breathe?� I always ask my students this. Don�t dance for applause, don�t dance to prove something, don�t dance for your happiness. Instead, dance to bring joy to those who are not as fortunate or blessed like you. We chose the children at St. Jude to give our time and talents because we each sincerely believe in their mission of eradicating childhood cancer. Let�s make dancers out of everyone. Let the jingles from our Salangai ring all around the world to celebrate good health and life.�
Aditi Acharya is a second year at Georgia Tech and is studying to be a physician�s assistant. She has been learning Bharatanatyam since the age of four and has been with The Narasimha Academy since the age of ten. Aditi completed her Arangetram in December of 2008 under the tutelage of Guru Preeti Shah. Aditi was a principle dancer in �Tapasya� and helped raise significant funds to build schools in rural India. In addition, she has performed widely around metro Atlanta. She is one of Preeti Shah�s senior most students.
�The St. Jude's cause is really close to my heart. I am really excited about this show and am thrilled that to be able to use my passion to make a difference. Dance has been an integral aspect of my life for as long as I can remember. This passion of mine has blessed me with personal growth and the amazing friends and relationships I have had all these years. I look forward to weekend rehearsals and being with all the wonderful people that have made this experience the best one ever.�
Meena Balasubramaniam is a fourth year undergraduate student at Georgia Tech. She is a business major concentrating in marketing. Meena has lived in Georgia her whole life and has been a student of Preeti Shah for over 10 years. She has participated in all the Academy�s major productions and was a principal dancer in Preeti Shah�s production, �Tapasya� in 2009, which went on to raise funds to build more than 30 schools in rural India. In her free time she enjoys singing in the chorus at Georgia Tech, attending various concerts and performances. She also enjoys traveling and hopes to find a job with traveling once she graduates in May of 2013.
"I have been dancing under Preeti Shah�s tutelage for 10 years now. A lot of my life has changed in that time. Dance has been one of my only constants. Coming to dance every week provides me with an opportunity to shut out my worries and truly express myself."
Nalini Birbal is a Junior at Johns Creek High School. She has been dancing ever since she was six years old. She has been a part of the Narasimha Academy of Arts since 2003 and has participated in Annual recitals and productions as well. In January 2011, Nalini completed her Bharatanatyam Arangetram at Oglethorpe University. Aside from her love of dance, she enjoys the company of friends and family, babysitting, and volunteering for charities. Nalini has also become a Duke TIP scholar the past three years. She is very excited to showcase her passion for dance and be a part of this wonderful benefit.
"Dance is what I do. It is what I love and I'm so honored to be a part of something so special. I dance for myself and also to help out great organizations like this one. I feel so privileged that I am able to help out others while still being able to do what I love. "
Roshni Kailar joined The Narasimha Academy of Arts in 2008. Under Guru Preeti Vinayak Shah�s guidance, Roshni has grown into a mature dancer. At the tender age of 12, Roshni performed her Arangetram under Guru Preeti�s tutelage. Roshni has been studying Carnatic vocal music simultaneously with Guru Preeti. This combined knowledge of music and dance makes Roshni a complete performer. Roshni is a 9th grade student at Woodward Academy, where she is an honor roll student, and the winner of the 2009-2010 Woodward Way Award, 2010-2011and 2011-2012 Most Outstanding Academic Student Award. She is also an avid tennis player and a member of the Woodward Debate Team.
"It is my privilege to be part of this group and show for several reasons: dance is my passion, and when I dance with friends, it is a lot of fun. I am also
learning a lot in the process, both from my teacher and from the other dancers. Most importantly, this dance production is worthwhile and
meaningful to me since it is for a great cause."
Meghna Mahadevan began dancing at the age of 10 under the tutelage of Preeti Shah. Nine years later, Meghna is still very dedicated to dancing as her passion for Bharatanatyam has grown with each piece her Guru has taught her. Meghna has danced for various Atlanta organizations and was a part of her Guru�s production titled �Tapasya�. Meghna is currently in her second year at Georgia Tech and studies Industrial Engineering. She loves spending time with friends and family and traveling around the world. Throughout her busy life, Meghna says that Bharatanatyam helps her maintain a strong connection to her culture.
"Dancing has changed so many aspects of my life. No matter how stressed I am, no matter how much is on my mind, dance practice has always been a form of stress relief and gives me great joy. The girls I dance with have become my family and they have shown me how to work in a team and be supportive of each other. Knowing that you are dancing for a cause changes everything. I�m happy that I can make a contribution however small to this wonderful cause and help the children at St. Jude�s Children�s Research Hospital through my dance. I thank my guru Ms. Preeti for encouraging and motivating me to do my best and instilling the values of hard work, perseverance and giving back to the community through dance. This has carried me through in other areas of my life as well. I look forward to contributing more through dance as it also represents my culture and helps me stay in touch with my roots."
Tanmayi Pai is a third-year student at Emory University. She has been learning Bharatanatyam for the past eight years under Preeti Shah. She completed her Arangetram in February 2010 at Southern Polytechnic State University. Tanmayi participated in her Guru�s dance production �Tapasya� in 2009. She has also danced for The Georgia Tamil Sangam and the Kannda Koota Association. In her spare time, Tanmayi enjoys spending time with friends, volunteering, reading, writing, and, of course, dancing. She credits dance with giving her a strong work ethic, self-confidence, and a deeper understanding of her Indian heritage. '
�Everyone in our group has grown up in front of not only Preeti aunty�s eyes but also each other�s. It is unendingly amazing to me that we have transitioned from being the younger girls who used to admire the senior girls� dancing to becoming those senior girls ourselves. Because we have been together for so long, our group has an exceptionally collaborative, friendly dynamic. I enjoy rehearsals because we exchange the stresses of school and work for a few hours of creativity and fun and, sometimes, pure silliness.
The best part of rehearsal is not hearing about the show�s latest developments, electrifying though it is to learn about the new sponsors and costume changes. For me, watching each dance piece become more polished and gain new life is the real draw of rehearsal. Each week, we run through and then fine-tune the pieces one at a time. We continually brainstorm new poses and formations, with everyone contributing equally in the decision-making process, so rehearsal is always exciting.
This show unifies two things that I love: performing bharatnatyam and helping children. St. Jude Children�s Research Hospital does unparalleled work towards preventing and finding cures for children who have rare and currently incurable diseases. Having volunteered in a cancer ward at a children�s hospital, I have witnessed the incredible fortitude of children who benefit from St. Jude�s work. I am grateful for the opportunity to help fund St. Jude�s work through my participation in Chapters of Her Life. I hope that our audience appreciates our attempts to highlight the importance of both women and medical research.�
Lavanya Ramakrishnan is a senior at Lambert High School. She entered The Narasimha Academy of Arts under the tutelage of Guru Preeti Vinayak Shah in 2008. Having just completed her Arangetram on September 29th, 2012, she has blossomed into a performer with exemplary abhinaya and graceful movements. Lavanya was a part of her Guru�s production �Tapasya� in 2009. Apart from dancing, Lavanya also enjoys participating in school clubs, honors societies, and using her free time for community service. She enjoys participating in recitals for the Academy because she enjoys giving back to the community while doing what she enjoys the most.
SUBRA VISWANATHAN � THE MRIDANGIST
Originally from Mumbai, Sri Subra Viswanathan learnt to play mridangam from Sri Trichy Raghava Iyer at the Bharatiya Fine Arts in Mumbai and earned a diploma from Mumbai University. Sri Subra also learnt karnatic music vocals from his father, Sri N.S. Viswanathan. Over the years, he has played mridangam for several dance programs and concerts in and around Atlanta. He has performed as a vocalist, as well as percussionist for both classical and light music. He has continued his vocal training in Atlanta, first with Ms. Sujata Rayburn, and currently with Shri. Salem Shriram.
JASSOTHA BALASUBRAMANIAM- THE VIOLINIST
Jassotha Balasubramaniam has learned both Carnatic vocal and violin from Sri. Somaskanda Sharma and Sri. Vaamadevan in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Later she received training from Sri. Deepak Murthy in Atlanta and from Sri. Sriram Krishnan, the son of violin maestro T.N.Krishnan. Currently she is getting advanced training from Smt. Thanathevy Mithradeva of Toronto, who is also a senior disciple of T.N. Krishnan. Jassotha has accompanied local artists on violin and performed in various events in Atlanta. She holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administrative studies from York University, Toronto. Jassotha conducts violin lessons for aspiring students and lives in the Atlanta area with her family.
||Parth Viswanathan is a junior at Northview High School. He received his first guitar as a birthday present when he was twelve, and he has enjoyed playing it ever since. Learning from Mr. Chris Bowman, he has explored a variety of different playing styles, including classical and jazz. Parth was a semi-finalist for the Governor's Honors Program for guitar. He also performs in local volunteer band "Black Mango". Aside from guitar, Parth enjoys composing music for his side projects "Jetta" and "Jazz Giants", as well playing cello in Northview's Chamber Orchestra.
|| Ramya Prabhakar is a 15-year-old sophomore at Roswell High School in Roswell, GA. She has been learning Suzuki classical piano for eleven years with Lauretta Russell as well as Carnatic vocal with Savitha Namuduri for seven years. She joined Roswell High School Chorus as a freshman and was moved up to the Chamber group at Christmas under director Timothy Spraggins. She was a member of the GMEA All State Chorus with a perfect score at auditions. In her free time, she likes to read, listen to music, sing, and play the piano.