I Dance, hence, I Am

“IDIA was our way of creating vibrancy and currency to an otherwise rushed experience of learning and watching this beautiful art-form. IDIA is a whole day of immersion into the why, how, and what of BharataNatyam.” – India Currents

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Rama Vaidyanathan
featured IDIA Artist

for talk on Innovative Storytelling in Bharatanatyam

“The IDIA festival was curated painstakingly by a group of very committed dancers, and it was my absolute honour to be part of it. I was amazed at the professionalism with which the team executed the online festival, adapting to the new normal with ease and conviction. The sessions that covered from performances, to explorations and discussions, spoke of an extremely holistic approach to dance- Something that is the need of the hour. Kudos to the fantastic team Kavita Thirumalai, Ganesh Vasudeva and Priya Das.”

Ramya Ramnarayan
featured IDIA Artist

for a conversation on Sadhana

“Congratulations to all of you for putting together this lovely program of thinking artists. An artist is not supposed to be just an entertainer or to just showcase their art but also to enrich the dance fraternity with thinking ideas. Thinking artists are what we need to shape, especially with the next generation of artists. It’s not about being center stage all the time but it’s about the dialogue that we are having with such platforms. What an experience this festival has given all of us! Thank You.”

Sophia Salingaros
Bharatanatyam Dancer, New York

It is so encouraging that festivals have begun transitioning to the virtual format…

“I’m so grateful to IDIA 2020 for bringing such insightful conversations and beautiful dancing to our screens. The varied format of the presentations and mix between India and US based artists made it a very engaging session even though it was virtual. It is so encouraging that festivals have begun transitioning to the virtual format while in person is still not possible.”

Akhila Rao
Bharatanatyam Dancer, San Jose, CA

Rama Akka’s talk was overwhelming, perhaps an edited version or dividing the content into two sessions would have been a wonderful approach

“With each year that I have attended IDIA, the curators and organizers, Kavita Thirumalai and Ganesh Vasudeva have upped the ante on the festival!! The event this year (2020), was virtual and was set up so beautifully to keep the virtual audience engaged. Although I missed the all-day event in person, the timing and break down of the discussions and including the young artists performance was very thoughtful. It gave us, as dancers, explore the thought process of Sadhana with our own esteemed North American teachers/performers as well as understand the plethora of experiences in choreography that was discussed with Rama Vaidyanathan Akka and Dakshina. Rama Akka’s talk was overwhelming, perhaps an edited version or dividing the content into two sessions would have been a wonderful approach. All in all, another wonderful year for IDIA and the team to showcase and celebrate our culture and tradition to the next generation. Kudos and looking forward to next year, hopefully in person!!”

Mythili Prakash
featured IDIA Artist

…to feel a sense of artistic community and celebrate our love for Bharata Natyam.

“It was a pleasure to be a part of the first IDIA festival organized by Kavita Thirumalai and Ganesh Vasudeva. For those of us in US who wish to have more opportunities to be immersed in indian classical arts, this was a lovely day- long event to be thinking dance, hearing and speaking dance, and watching and dancing dance! Thoughtfully organized and curated, it was an opportunity to be with fellow dancers and rasikas, to feel a sense of artistic community and celebrate our love for Bharata Natyam.”

Christopher Guruswamy
featured IDIA Artist

…a wonderful day that had been planed and curated with a lot of sensitivity

“I Dance I Am is such a special idea, only after an honest journey with dance can we start to feel dance taking over, from being a passion and hobby into being something that is our own individual way of expressing our inner selves and that voice within, i believe its only through exploration, watching and questioning that we can get to this idea, where we are not ourselves but be the dance. I was so happy to be a part of it in 2019, it was a wonderful day that had been planed and curated with a lot of sensitivity, sincerity and variation by  Kavita and Ganesh,  everyone was so engaged, the atmosphere in the theatre was warm and inviting  listening to the talks and watching the performances of many peers and seniors who i admire so much. the intent to make an event that encourages the youth of Bay Area to achieve with dance is highly commendable and i look forward to seeing this initiative grow.”

Jeya Suresh
Community Member

It was a class act not just by all the artists, but in every single aspect…

“Congrats on putting together such a successful show! It was a class act not just by all the artists, but in every single aspect of the event. Everything was so well thought out / planned and executed. There weren’t any hiccups whatsoever.  Even the arts/crafts vendors were so well picked and the quality of their merchandise were nothing but classy, the lunch & samosa was just awesome – again top quality. Even the chairs/tablecloth/the flowers for the panelists displayed classiness! I was so glad to see the stage with minimal decor with just the altar – simple but elegant :)

Also, It was so great to see the support from all the Bayarea artists – not just for being there, but also getting their students to attend! It was not only an inspiring event for all the young dancers, but the day long interaction with others who share the same passion is just priceless. Meera had a blast y’day. We have been to KGS for natyakala conference before, but she didn’t feel quite the same because there weren’t any other familiar faces she could talk to. She is all hyped up now and I don’t have to remind her to practice for another week or two :) Thanks for bringing this experience to our kids and the BA dance rasikas –  this will be part of our memories forever ! Best wishes and looking forward to the next year’s event already!”

Swati Badri
Student of Nrityakalya Dance Company

…the IDIA festivals have always been done extremely well…

“In the 2018 and 2019 IDIA Festivals, although the dancers’ styles were different, one thing united them: their passion. The many dancers’ devotion towards the art form was only enhanced by creative lighting and costumes, allowing the audience a magnificent sensory experience. Additionally, when I think of the “greats” in Bharatanatyam, I think of those who have been trained by professionals in India. My theory was quickly debunked when I saw Mythili Prakash and Roopa Mahadevan, dancers who have been born and brought up in the U.S. Their immersion in their own present moments was so strong, pulling us in, ensuring that our eyes never left them, while they danced. Kasi Aysola filled the entire stage with nothing but her compelling presence, and Aishwarya Balasubramanian had unique choreography and heart-touching expressions. In 2019, I saw impactful dances by Christopher Guruswamy and Natya Natraj. Seeing a male dancer from Australia really helped open my eyes to the different kinds of people who dance. Navya Natraj’s clean footwork, hands, and constant energy was truly admirable. Some suggestions I have for the following years are the following. It would be great to see a workshop for young dancers where we can learn jathis from the dancers. Bringing in more male dancers would also be more impactful to broaden our ideas on barathanatyam and its horizons. Learning more about the different styles of barathanatyam would also be helpful. Overall, the IDIA festivals have always been done extremely well, and I look forward to seeing them in the future.”