Congratulations to our Students of the Month!

Soham classes are filled with dynamic and dedicated students, all of whom contribute to the vibrancy of our community. We want to recognize their achievements and celebrate their participation in our program through our new Student of the Month feature.

MAY 2014: Deepthi Gajjela & Sonya Sachdeva

SoM_May Kids_Deepthi_large

Deepthi Gajjela, age 16, has been chosen as May’s Student of the Month!  Read her short interview below.

1)  How long have you been taking classes at Soham Dance Space?  Since September 2011, 2.5 yrs

2)  What is your favorite bharatanatyam step and why? The thaa ha, because I felt like I was good at it when I first learned it as a kid

3)  What school do you go to? What grade are you in?  Hinsdale Central High School, Sophomore

4)  What is your favorite subject in school?  Math

5)  Outside of school and bharatanatyam, what is one other fun activity you like doing?  Ethnic Club, where we dance. Ambassador’s Club, where we show new students around school and help them adjust to a new environment

6)  What is your favorite memory/ experience related to Soham Dance Space?  First summer camp with Anjal Akka, first time bonding with classmates

7)  Tell us one more interesting fact about you!  I speak Telegu.

SoM_May Adult_Sonya

Sonya Sachdeva, from our adults classes, has been chosen as May’s Student of the Month because of her irresistible passion for dancing; she came back to class a month after her first baby was born!  Read her short interview below.

1) How long have you been taking classes at Soham Dance Space? I’ve been a student at Soham since the summer of 2011.  

2) What was your experience with bharatanatyam prior to joining Soham Dance Space? I had taken lessons as a child but never really understood the value of this particular art form until I became an adult. When Soham opened in this neighborhood, I jumped at the opportunity to resume my education.

3) What is the best thing about being a part a part of the Soham community? Soham is such a wonderful addition to the neighborhood. I love coming into this space and meeting all sort of interesting, like-minded people who also love to dance!

4) What is your favorite part of dance class and why? At the end of dance class, the students take blessings from the guru. I find this to be a really profound part of the dance class and a reminder of the association between bharatanatyam and spirituality.

5)  What is your profession? I’m a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University.

6)  What is your favorite memory/ experience related to Soahm Dance Space? My niece is also a student at Soham. One of my favorite parts about this Soham community is being able to share this art form with her when we hang out outside of dance class. Often times we just show each other the dance steps that we’ve learned.  

7) Tell us one more interesting fact about you! I use the rhythmic movements we learn in class to bounce my baby boy to sleep!  

APRIL 2014: Tara Madhavan & Aditi Shah

Student of Month_April Kids_Newsletter

Tara Madhavan age 8.5,  has been chosen as Student of the Month because of her great attendance and consistent focus and effort at each class! Read her short interview below.

1)  How long have you been taking classes at Soham Dance Space? 2.5 years

2)  What is your favorite bharatanatyam step and why? Lunges; they are relaxing. 

3)  What school do you go to? What grade are you in? Ranch View Elementary School in Naperville. 3rd grade

4)  What is your favorite subject in school? Reading

5)  Outside of school and bharatanatyam, what is one other fun activity you like doing? Painting

6)  What is your favorite memory/ experience related to Soham Dance Space? Practicing at class

7)  Tell us one more interesting fact about you! I like to smile.

Student of the Month_April Adult_Newsletter

Aditi Shah from our Adults Class has been chosen as Student of the Month because of her open minded attitude and her commitment to always getting better! Read her short interview below.

1) How long have you been taking classes at Soham Dance Space? Since September 2013

2) What was your experience with bharatanatyam prior to joining Soham Dance Space? I did bharatanatyam on and off since the age of 16. Cumulatively, I believe I have about 6 years of experience.

3) What is the best thing about being a part a part of the Soham community? As a new student to Soham, the best thing is being welcome into the community with a smile and friendliness. I felt like I was a part of Soham instantly!

4) What is your favorite part of dance class and why? My favorite part about dance class is working on the details, the fine tuning, and the finishing. Even though I have experience with dance, I never realized how much more I needed to work on in terms of the details. Thus, focusing on that with the help of the teacher and the peers has really helped me improve, and feel like I’m progressing steadily.

5)  What is your profession? I’m currently finishing up my Master’s in Education and hope to teach high school math next year.

6)  What is your favorite memory/ experience related to Soahm Dance Space? After a week of work, running around, and being busy, I love coming to Soham Dance Space and practicing for an hour. I love how I feel completely rejuvenated and energized after each class. That ongoing feeling has been my favorite experience so far.

7) Tell us one more interesting fact about you! I love to travel! My favorite trip was backpacking across Ireland.

 

MARCH 2014: Rishi Chandra & Nora Taylor

Rishi Chandra_BLOG

Rishi Chandra age 5,  has been chosen as Student of the Month because he attended the Youth Recital in February and took much inspiration from watching the teenage class perform!  Read his short interview below.

1)  How long have you been taking classes at Soham Dance Space? I don’t know! It’s been so many years I haven’t counted. [Rishi started August, 2012].

2)  What is your favorite bharatanatyam step and why? Naat adaavu number 5. It is my favorite because it looks beautiful to me.

3)  What school do you go to? What grade are you in? I go to Oscar Mayer and the grade I am in is kindergarten.

4)  What is your favorite subject in school? Stamp Game Work with the extension

5)  Outside of school and bharatanatyam, what is one other fun activity you like doing? Stay home and cuddle. And gymnastics. I am super brave.

6)  What is your favorite memory/ experience related to Soham Dance Space? Putting on the costume [for the performance last year]. I really like costumes – Indian costumes, of course.

7)  Tell us one more interesting fact about you! I am a real superhero.  My name is Super Princess!

Nora Taylor_BLOG

Nora Taylor, from our adults classes has been chosen as Student of the Month because she always strives to improve as a dancer and has a contagious bright smile and energy!  Read her short interview below.

1) How long have you been taking classes at Soham Dance Space? For a little over a year

2) What was your experience with bharatanatyam prior to joining Soham Dance Space? I had watched performances and my daughter danced bharatanatyam between the ages of 5 and 10.

3) What is the best thing about being a part a part of the Soham community? It is a wonderful escape from my day to day life, and yet strangely connected at the same time since I work so closely with Indian art and Indian students.

4) What is your favorite part of dance class and why? Savitha is a great teacher. I like when she explains a particular move. She is always cheerful and yet strict and demanding. I feel that it is good for me to challenge myself in this way.

5)  What is your profession? I’m an art historian and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I teach South and Southeast Asian art history and my area of expertise is Contemporary Asian Art. I also do a lot of research on Performance art.

6)  What is your favorite memory/ experience related to Soahm Dance Space? To be part of the recital with such dedicated and talented young dancers in spite of my utter lack of experience!

7) Tell us one more interesting fact about you! I grew up in Geneva, Switzerland but have always been interested in Asia. I have traveled and lived in and out of Asia for over 20 years.

FEBRUARY 2014: Lia Bahri & Ritu Jain

Lia Bahri_blog image

Lia Bahri, Age 6, has been chosen as Soham Dance Space’s Student of the Month because she transformed as someone  who didn’t like classical dance when she started but now has  incredible aramandi (demanding squat position)!  Read her  short interview below.

 1)   How long have you been taking classes at Soham Dance  Space?  Since September 2013

 2)  What is your favorite bharatanatyam step and why? The  walking step, when we lift our foot and place it on  the heel.  Sometimes I get it wrong but I still like to  try it.

3)  What school do you go to? What grade are you in? British  School of Chicago. 1st grade.

4)  What is your favorite subject in school? Math

5)  Outside of school and bharatanatyam, what is one other fun activity you like doing? Walking to the park and getting ice cream in summer when it’s sunny.

6)  What is your favorite memory/ experience related to Soham Dance Space? The “middle of session”, not when I started, but I like it now, in the middle. Also – resting in child’s pose, with our head on the floor.

7)  Tell us one more interesting fact about you.  I go skiing when it’s cold out. Also my dog runs through my aramandi position when I practice dance!

photo 1

Ritu Jain from our adults classes has been chosen as Student of the Month because she volunteered to host the adults’ Winter Social and is a very charming dancer.  Read her short interview below.

1) How long have you been taking classes at Soham Dance Space? Since Fall of 2011 shortly after I moved to Chicago from New York.

2) What was your experience with bharatanatyam prior to joining Soham Dance Space? I had no experience prior to this, but was reassured by the fact that the classes were beginner adult focused!

3) What is the best thing about being a part of the Soham community? I enjoy meeting and getting to know the other adult students. As someone who’s married, I also really enjoy having this activity that is my “own” thing!

4) What is your favorite part of dance class and why? I like when we learn new sequences – I like the challenge to both my brain and my body to master something new. I also like when we’re stretching and people share stories about their day or week – it’s nice to have that connection with the other students.

5)  What is your profession? I’m a finance manager at Pepsico

6)  What is your favorite memory/ experience related to Soham Dance Space? My favorite memory is probably my very first participation in our Spring Recital in 2012. I was excited and a little nervous to be up on stage . My sister flew in especially to cheer me on and my husband was really impressed by everything we’d learned. I also really loved seeing the energy and performances of the younger students – how cute are they!

7) Tell us one more interesting fact about you! I lived in NYC for nearly a decade where I met a bright eyed freshman named Anjal through the bhangra team at NYU!

 

JANUARY 2014: Anjali Prachand & Smitha Chandran

Anjali Prachand

Anjali Prachand

Anjali Prachand, Age 11, has been chosen as Soham Dance Space’s Student of the Month because she logged 20 different practice sessions in her practice log during winter break! Read her short interview below!

1) How long have you been taking classes at Soham Dance Space? 4 years

2) What is your favorite bharatanatyam step and why? Mai adavu, variation #3, because it’s fun, challenging, and I like the rhythm.

3) What school do you go to? What grade are you in? University of Chicago Laboratory School, 6th grade

4) What is your favorite subject in school? Music/Orchestra and Art Class

5) Outside of school and bharatanatyam, what is one other fun activity you like doing? Piano

6) What is your favorite memory/ experience related to Soham Dance Space? Spring Recital at Dominican University because we got to perform in front of so many people. I get nervous dancing in front of large crowds so it’s good practice. I also love dance camp!

7) Tell us one more interesting fact about you. I recently got new rollerblades and am very good at rollerblading.

photo

Smitha Chandran from one of Soham Dance Space’s adults classes has been chosen as Student of the Month because of her commitment to doing what she loves even as a busy, working mother. Read her short interview below!

1) How long have you been taking classes at Soham Dance Space? 1.5 – 2 years

2) What was your experience with bharatanatyam prior to joining Soham Dance Space? 10 years learning and performing in Kerala and then 10 years break from dancing.

3) What is the best thing about being a part of the Soham community? Seeing the performances at Spring Fest 2012 made me join. Since then, it has been more than what I expected. I’m thoroughly satisfied and was surprised to discover how dedicated the other students are and the teacher is. I thought it would be a casual, recreational setting, but realized how professional and technical the classes are after joining.

4) What is your favorite part of dance class and why? I love dancing, and I am excited to have resumed my dancing after a long break and to be able to continue to refine my skills at this age.

5) What is your profession? Software Engineer at Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group

6) What is your favorite memory/experience related to Soham Dance Space? The rehearsals building toward the performance (even though I couldn’t be in the show due to travel).

7) Tell us one more interesting fact about you.  I met my husband in college in Kerala and have a 5 year old son.