The Creative Team: Dance

SRISHTI DANCES OF INDIA

Sreyashi Dey is one of the foremost exponents of the Odissi style of Indian classical dance. A disciple of Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, Sreyashi has also trained in the Bharata Natyam style. She tours the US every year with performances that are critically acclaimed, and continues to perform annually in India at premier venues. Sreyashi is the Founder and Artistic Director of Srishti Dance of India, a dance company specializing in the performance and preservation of Indian classical dance. Through Srishti and as a solo dancer, Sreyashi is constantly expanding her creative horizons with new choreographies and collaborations with artists across different genres. Sreyashi’s work has been critically acclaimed, and she is the recipient of several awards and grants. She has played a significant role in bringing and maintaining high standards of Indian classical dance to the mainstream in the US. Her work as a cultural leader has been recognized through several honors. Sreyashi’s educational background includes an MBA and an MS in Economics. She has worked in Market Research consulting for several years. She headed the programming for the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor before her current position in Marketing and Communications at the University of Michigan.

Ishika and Kritika Rajan are twin daughters and disciples of Sreyashi Dey. With a deep interest in the performing arts since early childhood, they have performed widely with Sreyashi as well as on their own. Apart from performing in several cities in the US, they have performed in India as well as in Southeast Asia. They have shown tremendous dedication in the study of Indian classical dance, and are recognized as talented Odissi dancers of the new generation. Their dance has been acclaimed for its technical perfection as well as its pleasing visual geometry reminiscent of temple sculptures from Orissa. They are both students of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where they also perform with several student dance groups. In addition to excelling in dance, they are exceptional students, maintaining equally high standards in academics.

THE SPILLING INK PROJECT

Vijay Palaparty is a Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancer and choreographer based in Washington, DC. He has trained in India with Uma Rama Rao at Lasya Priya (Hyderabad) and with Sudharani Raghupathy at Shree Bharatalaya (Chennai). He has also trained with Padma Rajagopal at Nupur Anjali School of Dance (Cleveland). He is founder and co- artistic director of The Spilling Ink Project, through which he produces and presents literary, visual and performing arts projects. His company is on the roster of Class Acts Arts in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and until recently, was on the roster of Gateway to the Arts in Pittsburgh. Vijay was awarded an artist fellowship from the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities in Washington, DC through artistic excellence. He was also recognized through DCCAH’s Young Artist program, which recognizes young segments of Washington, DC who create art and contribute to the vitality of the city. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor’s degree in professional writing and two master’s degrees—in professional writing and in literary and cultural studies, Vijay is director of communications, finance Writer at NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association. He also completed his M.B.A. at the University of Maryland (College Park, MD).

Nalini Prakash  is an acclaimed dancer, choreographer and teacher who has performed throughout India and the United States for more than three decades. Her training primarily took place at Shree Bharatalaya (Chennai), where she studied and performed with its founder and principal dancer, Sudharani Raghupathy. She was awarded a Government of India scholarship in recognition of her talent as a dancer. Nalini was instrumental in establishing and spreading arts education in the Nilgiris region through her school of Bharatanatyam, Silambam, in Coonoor, and also by founding the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Nilgiris Kendra, part of a larger national institute committed to Indian culture, heritage and education. To recognize her efforts in bringing the arts to an underserved area, the Rotary Club of Nilgiris presented Nalini with an award for Vocational Excellence. Nalini is the co-artistic director of The Spilling Ink Project, and is actively involved in all the company’s productions and education outreach programs in the US and in India. Nalini holds a master’s degree in dance/movement therapy from Drexel University (Philadelphia), and a master’s degree in performing arts from Baroda University. Currently she is working towards integrating elements of Indian dance and creative movement in her work as a therapist at St. Elizabeths Hospital (Washington, DC), to enhance the quality of life for individuals with serious and persistent mental illness.

Kaushika Prakash has trained in Bharatanatyam under her mother Nalini Prakash for the last 15 years. Since her debut in March 2004, she has performed widely in India and in the US with Nalini. The government of India awarded her a junior scholarship for her proficiency in Bharatanatyam, which encouraged her to train and develop her skills further. Kaushika has participated in programs featured by the Spilling Ink Project in Washington DC and in other cities in the US. She has also been part of the company’s education outreach program Katha, Tales from India. Kaushika graduated in business in 2011 from LaTrobe University, Australia. She is presently exploring the possibility of doing an MBA, and is volunteering her time at Saint Elizabeths Hospital and at One Orange Feather in Washington DC. Her goal is to continue training, performing and possibly teaching dance.