Suhani Malhotra is a freshman at The Madeira School and learns Kathak with Guru Purvi Bhatt of Fairfax, VA
1.When did you start dancing and who are your gurus?
I started dancing when I was 3 years old. I began with ballet and tap dance, then moved on to Bollywood. For the past 7 years, I have been learning Kathak with Mrs. Purvi Bhatt. I have also had the privilege of attending summer workshops with Pandita Maneesha Sathe and Pandit Rajendra Gangani.
2. How do you prep for a dance performance?
To prepare for a dance performance, I practice the piece any chance I get. The night before the performance, I visualize myself performing the piece perfectly so that during the actual performance I know what I need to do to perform the best that I possibly can. I also find it helpful to take a few minutes before a performance to think about why I want to do well, as this gives me motivation.
3. What’s your favorite dance item or music piece you listen to?
Connecting with dance has a different meaning for me than it might for others. From my perspective, connecting with dance is simply finding rhythm. Before I practice any piece, I listen and absorb the sound of the taalmala, only starting my practice when I know that I am present and ready to dance.
4. How would you describe an amazing dancer and do you have any inspiring role models?
In my eyes, an amazing dancer is one that makes sure that the show goes on no matter what. Amazing dancers flourish under pressure, and no matter what setbacks they may come across, they are always able to get on stage and perform to the best of their ability. I am inspired by Guru Maneesha Sathe. I have been taking summer workshops with her for the past three years, and every time I learn not only a new, breathtaking Kathak composition, but also new lessons that guide me on my path to becoming an amazing dancer. I am also greatly inspired by my Guru, Mrs. Purvi Bhatt. For the past 7 years, she has led me to become the dancer that I am today. She has given me love, support, and encouragement constantly in all aspects of my life.
5. What is the most important life lesson you have learnt because of dancing?
The most important life lesson that I have learned through dancing is that in order to succeed, we have to learn from our mistakes. It’s impossible to be perfect. The closest anyone can get to being perfect is taking mistakes from the past and turning them into opportunities for the future.
6. In your eyes, what’s your biggest achievement or moment of satisfaction (in dance)?
My biggest achievement to date is winning my first dance competition. In early April, I participated in a dance competition with two of my classmates. We performed ‘Trivat,’ a piece choreographed by Guru Maneesha Sathe, and won first place. I was thrilled that we had won, as we had never performed in a competitive setting before.
7. It’s the year 2024 – where do you see yourself in the dance field?
Five years from now, I see myself performing pieces that make me happy. I will be learning every opportunity that I get, whether dance is my profession or not. In five years, I will have matured as a person, which will reflect in my dancing.