Sahiti Rachakonda started her training in the Kuchipudi at the age of 5, and continued learning under Smt. Anuradha Nehru at Kalanidhi Dance since 2010. Sahiti began performing with the Kalanidhi Dance company in 2017, and has since participated in various productions across the United States, including “Bhoomi,” “Poetry of Love,” “Why We Dance,” and “Navarasa,” and has performed in esteemed locations such as the Kennedy Center and a New York Broadway Theater. In 2019, Sahiti was selected for the prestigious Indian Raga Fellowship, where she was able to collaborate with other artists to choreograph her own original productions.
Sahiti is currently a rising junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and wishes to pursue her passion for dance along with her interest in STEM. At school, she organizes and choreographs for a dance club, Namaste, and its large showcase, TJHSST iNite. While not busy with school work or Kuchipudi, Sahiti loves to bullet journal, have fun with friends, and volunteer for and operate a non-profit, Funbotics, whose mission is to instill passion for STEM in underprivileged elementary school students.
1. Introduce yourself:
My name is Sahiti and I’m currently a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. I love all things art and often find myself exploring the intersection between STEM and fine arts!
2. When did you start dancing and training for classical
I started learning Kuchipudi at the age of five and have been learning at Kalanidhi Dance since I was 7.
3. Who is your Guru and when did you start Kuchipudi?
My guru is Smt. Anuradha Nehru, founder of Kalanidhi Dance, and I have been learning from her since the age of 7. In addition, I have been training under Guru Kishore Mosalikanti every summer.
4. Why do you love dancing so much? Was it always the case?
I love dancing simply because of the pure joy and freedom you feel when performing items or a production. I also enjoy the community of friends that I have formed and the various skills I’ve developed, such as confidence and teamwork. Although I haven’t always enjoyed dance to the degree I do now, I can always remember being enthralled with the senior dancers and my guru, who would perform expressive and fast pace items with such ease. Everyday, amazing dancers inspire me to push myself to my limits and find my voice through dancing.
5. How have you evolved as a dancer?
When starting out, I used to be shy and nervous to complete the steps or pieces because I wasn’t confident in my ability and stage presence. Overtime, with more practice, I was able to develop stamina and abhinaya. This has allowed me to find the beauty in the difficult steps and enjoy the liberation dance brings.
6. Notable performances or accomplishments (u may use Rangapravesham, exams, performances at various stages, IR)
I have performed at various venues, such as the John F. Kennedy Center and Colorado Fine Arts Association. Last year, I was a fellow at Indian Raga and was able to collaborate with different artists to create beautiful pieces that pushed the boundaries of what I knew! In addition, I am also a company dancer with the reputed Kalanidhi Dance, and have worked on breathtaking productions such as Navarasa and Bhoomi.
7. How do you see yourself in 5 years time with respect to dance
I see myself exploring dance, specifically Kuchipudi, as movement therapy and discussing how the classical forms can assist with stress. Through this, I hope to collaborate with other dancers who are passionate about the subject. When in college, I also hope to return to NoVa and continue dancing with Kalanidhi Dance and Smt. Anuradha Nehru.
8. What advice would you give aspiring dance students
My best advice would be to observe other dancers and their unique movements. Often, observing is as good as practicing yourself. Finding the small nuances that senior dancers use to enhance their quality of dance and observing the way they connect with the audience has been invaluable to me. Try to ask your guru to attend practices with older dancers, or understand each movement during their performances.
You may follow Sahiti on social media on any of these channels:
- Instagram: @sahiti.r (https://www.instagram.com/sahiti.r/ )
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sahitidr
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVY4Thdohe5rwtkMhCc5YEQ
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