Grace And Grooves Group – Student Of The Year – Leadership Awards
This section of Blog is exclusively dedicated to all our students’ achievements with Grace And Grooves LLC. These are the students who take every opportunity to excel not only as part of team work but also as part of their individual growth and performances in their respective dance forms or types (if Bollywood-Movie Dances!). These students take regular classes just like all the other students but the only thing they do differently is identify the opportunities given to them by their teachers and make the best use of it. We also like to call them swans.
These students of Grace And Grooves are the examples of achieving balance in life, elegance, and beautiful results that you get with proper training at the right time from all the right people! There is no short-cuts to learning any dance forms/types. If you want to do it then you will do it, no matter what life throws at you! Times when they had lemons around, these students have made a lemonade and nailed it! All pictures below are subject to change if parents send us more pictures 🙂 But until then, enjoy what is posted.
It is not only the straight background that works with everything but also right time, right people, balance & right attitude that builds something that stays FOREVER…You do not have to come from generations of family to do it right.
2020 – 2021 : Aahana :
- Aahana is a student of Hetal Nagaraj Dance, Hetal Nagaraj from 2012 (she was almost 5 years old) for half dozen Indian Folk dances(100+ hours) & Bollywood(250+hr) & has taken several courses with Grace And Grooves Group of Dance Companies (350 +) hours with us in general. Aahana is a vivacious 11 year old from Frisco Texas. She’s a 6th grader in Frisco, Texas, USA. She is currently taking advance training of Kalaripayattu & Contemporary (surpassed 30+ hr NEW each) with Ms.Hetal(in-person) & Manoj Sir(online). She has won several city & state level non-voting competitions under Hetal Nagaraj nominating her for several state level participations and competitions. ALL of which were non-voting. Her other dance accomplishments include, city and state level bollywood, indian folk and semi-classical winning streaks with Hetal Nagaraj as part of company performances and submissions. Nominated several times for state level programs as well to come and perform but due to exam times, she could not go.
- Aahana’s other accomplishments include several sports, educational, arts/drawing awards by grade and she won a honorary mention for her reflections art work at Ani Hols elementary school. Current Student at School of rock training in Vocals ( rock music ) Age 6 to 10. Her Facebook page was established in 2020 under the leadership & training of Hetal Nagaraj with Reachh Mediaa Reachh Since 2013.
- Under Hetal Nagaraj, she also earned her first international award from Mumbai, India. See here.
- She receives 300$ worth of prizes from our friends and participating companies. Yet another example set here!
2019-2020 : Sindhu Jampala :
- Ms. Sindhu started her trainings in August 2014 for recreational Bollywood classes in Irving, Texas under Hetal Nagaraj when she was mother of 1. Later, she was trained with Ms. Deepthi & Hetal together.
- She started her journey with her full time IT job, at times on-call and all the other family commitments. Performing and then graduating after being “a mother of 2” NOW. She has participated in lot of our recitals, dance productions and has been part of our growing family! From Sarvaa 2019, she has been contributing towards company shows by being choreographer for her own kids team with full responsibility from start to finish under the leadership of Hetal Nagaraj.
- Lot of her dances were selected for form/Bharatanatyam/folk category even when submitted in open category only because we had used Bollywood song but organizers moved us!! While others were pure bollyhop and fun dances that she continues to do today with her teams. With their Irving & Carrollton teams, they made it to several local non-voting competitions for Bollywood categories & a few reality dance competitions across cities for bollywood traditional to bollyhop.
- Read about her trainings at Grace And Grooves.
- She receives gift hampers and services worth of 250$ from our friends and participating companies. Sindhu has set an example for lot of our full time working young mommies with extended families that there will be a year that’s going to be mine from start to finish :). She finally took it in 2019-2020 with family. #respect.
2018-2019 : Aanya Kocchar :
- Ms. Aanya Kocchar joined Grace And Grooves as an exclusive Bharatnatyam Student in 2015 when we started teaching structured Bharatnatyam Program at Lewisville, Texas under the guru-shishya parampara with Mrs. Hetal Nagaraj exclusively.
When it comes to balancing life with education, performing arts and all the other activities that kids have to take up today just to achieve normal expectancy as per school curriculum, it has never been easy!
As per our Student of the year criteria, she has been an excellent role model to all our younger Bharatanatyam dancers who will look upon her an example going forward. Never Give Up because learning an art-form is never easy and there are NO SHORT-CUTS.
Aanya has performed with Grace And Grooves in several in-house dance productions with her exclusive Bharatnatyam Dances without forsaking fundamentals of her own art-form Bharatanatyam for all our recitals, community events as well as exclusively Hetal Nagaraj’s dance productions.
Her notable dances are Bharatnatyam Nruthyam-Gujarati Sahitya Dance Duet (Literature) and Hetal Nagaraj’s Master Degree university level work of exclusive Bharatnatyam-Pushpanjali, and Allaripu(main margam items). She continues to learn her next level in Bharatnatyam at Lewisville, Texas with Mrs. Hetal Nagaraj and is now a 5th Grader. We are so proud of you!
- She receives $200 worth of services from our partners and friend-businesses to excel in her interest in the journey of Bharatanatyam. One Step At A Time, Nice And Easy. Updated : Jan 11, 2019.
- Aanya was student from March 2015 to November 1, 2019. During Jatiswaram Level from Mid-August 2019 onwards, she started coming once a month only which was slowing down entire batch. Student was unable to attend minimum 4 classes a month/do any other make-up classes/take any other private classes to catch up to her class-mates or atleast take other parallel classes;all of which was given well-ahead of time as per convinience of all parents. Parents were contacted regularly every month about the absences via emails/phones-sms and calls. Parents were regularly requested to move to slower pace class or lower level class (just to keep it going until she is ready for her batch) which did not happen either. Later, in November 1, 2019 when their payment plan ended and it was time to renew, parents were requested to renew their payment plan only when student can attend classes regularly or choose any of options above or do private classes for good. This schedule expectation of regularly attending the class for this accelerated-level is excluding holiday schedules or extra practice schedules or makeup class schedules. All of these instructions are given well-ahead of time at the beginning of year itself. It is our policy from past 15 years! Updated : December 26, 2020. Aanya was in accelerated class of year-round lessons with full time – working – parents – holiday schedule. We are year round dance school.
2017-2018 : Samarth Setty
- His first dance was a valentine dance with girl at the age of 3.5 where he showed his ability to act, dance & make people laugh/smile by showing his natural dance skills, dance etiquettes that were taught to him by his Montessori teachers.
- Stage presence was natural to him just like his sister.
- Our little macho man had his struggles of taking breaks in learning dance because of his birth weight, body type but he never gave up.
- From a husky body type to making his body a lean-mean fat-burning machine, he has amazed us of what he could do with proper training, discipline and diet plans that his mom prepares for him.
- His official journey of dance training in Indian Folk Dances started at the age of 6, Bharatnatyam at the age of 7, Bollywood at the age of 7 and then he never looked back! Prior to these years, he would appear on stage as side/back stage-dancer.
- Amongst all our girls, at times he is the only Krishna, Shiva, captain, our Rahul who comes to save the day for lot of our group dances even when he is not dancing for full song. At times he is not instructed of what he needs to do except for dance steps if they were to match with group..it comes out naturally to him, without training and knowledge of dance forms/styles.(Environment)
- From group dance dramas to Solo(s) in Bharatnatyam, Indian Folk Dances and Bollywood/Movie Dances, he has done it all. He has successfully performed, competed and won competitions as solo artist from 2nd place to 3rd place with only 1 hour a week of dance lessons.
- His training teachers are : Buvaneshwari Murugan(Jatiswaram, Ganesh Kavtuvam) & Hetal Nagaraj (Pushpanjali, Allaripu, Jatiswaram, Thillana, Shabhdam, Bho-Shamboo and several dance dramas from Gujarati Literature to Telugu Literature) for Bharatanatyam, Indian Folk Dances-Hetal Nagaraj, Bollywood-Hetal Nagaraj and Mansi Chauhan.
- His workshops include : Intermediate-Advance Workshop with Shakti Mohan-2015.
- He is a perfect example of perseverance, inherited natural talent, stage presence and a best example for kids who feel like giving up, only because of body-type.
- He receives photo-shoots worth $250, competition discounts and several other perks from our participating businesses.
- His Facebook page was established in 2019 under the leadership & training of Hetal Nagaraj with Reachh Mediaa Reachh Since 2013. Read More About Samarth Setty.
- Updated-Feb 13-2018, Sept 1-2021.
Ashna Pethe – 2016-2017
- From recreational dancer(Age-10) to now our elite team dancer and this years’ 1st
prize winner in Non-Classical-Category(Bollywood). Lewisville-Texas. Now 13.
- Locations of Workshops, Performances & Competitions : Southlake-Texas, Irving-Texas, Dallas-Texas, Lewisville-Texas, Frisco-Texas, Plano-Texas, Carrollton-Texas.
- Ashna won A $200 gift hamper that includes a photo-shoot and a FREE professional profiling and several free perks from Grace And Grooves LLC.
- A perfect example of no short-cuts to success and yet balancing it beautifully with unbeatable graceful performances.
- She has bagged 1st place in non-classical category and has cleared several competitions in state of Texas. (Update-September 29, 2017).
- Ashna dances 1-2 hours a week Bollywood at Elite Level w/Elite Team for Grace And Grooves, paid and unpaid performances.
- She has taken advance workshops with Hetal Nagaraj, Mansi Chauhan And Shakti Mohan for Indian Folk Dances, Professional Bharatnatyam, Professional Kathak and Contemporary.
- Her Facebook page was established in 2019 under the leadership & training of Hetal Nagaraj with Reachh Mediaa Reachh Since 2013. Coming Soon About Ashna Pethe.
- Updated Sept 1-2021.
Diya Kadiyala, 2015-2016.
- First Indian Folk Dance Solo Artist under the age of 5 (under official company name Grace And Grooves other than Nirja Setty) successfully performed 3.2 minute of Indian Folk Dance. Twice!!
- Audience : 100 People. Selected/Cleared Auditions for 2 different competitions in 2015. Irving-Texas. Age 4.5. Now 6.
- Locations of Performances : Irving-Texas, Dallas-Texas, Frisco-Texas.
- You are a perfect example of following directions just as taught at such a young age that too in Indian Folk Dances.
- Diya took Free private classes(2) worth $50 during the regular classes. A Free costume rental on our elite line of costumes and a waive off on registration fees for second year. ($30).
Nirja Setty, 2014-2015.
- Winner of 6 (now 6) technique focused Indian Dance Competitions in Indian Folk Dances, Fusion and Bharatnatyam(2016).
- Nirja won Free Costumes and Jewelry from one of our friend-sponsors worth $100. Free Tickets to concert-$30.
- A girl known to challenge judges’ knowledge in competitions as compared to her age group. Irving, Lewisville-Texas. Age 9. NOW 11.
- You are a perfect example of perfect expressions/looks in Indian Performing arts-anytime a picture is taken and yet it just as graceful and beautiful. All of this with a beautiful balance in life!
- Her average competition prize money amounted to $200-$300 by 2015 in various school competitions for Bharatnatyam and Indian Folk Dances. Her audience is not less than 1000 people for the dances she has performed.
- Nirja regularly dances 1-hour a week in : Bharatnatyam(in 2 styles), Bollywood and Indian Folk Dances with Hetal Nagaraj and Alpana Jacob (outside Grace And Grooves LLC).
- Locations of Workshops, Performances & Competitions : Southlake-Texas, Irving-Texas, Dallas-Texas, Lewisville-Texas, Frisco-Texas, Plano-Texas, Carrollton-Texas, Allen-Texas, Coppell-Texas, Grapevine-Texas, Flowermound-Texas, Arlington-Texas.
- She has taken advance workshops with Mansi Chauhan, Hetal Nagaraj and Shakti Mohan for Professional Kathak and Contemporary. She has also danced National Level Competition Fogana 2013 w/Indu Mangrola-Sursangam Dance Company.
- Her Facebook page was established in 2019 under the leadership & training of Hetal Nagaraj with Reachh Mediaa Reachh Since 2013. Read More About Nirja Setty.
- Updated-Sept 1-2021.
Srinija Burra, 2013-2014 :
- Outstanding Recreational Indian Folk Dance Artist – (Solo) Recreational Folk Program.
- Audiences from 100 to 500 People. Irving-Texas. Age 6. NOW 11.
- Srinija won Free Customized Costumes from our elite line of costumes and Free Tickets to performances worth $75.
- Won competitions with Grace And Grooves LLC as in group for Indian Folk Dances held Dallas-Texas at Coppell-Texas, Plano-Texas, Allen-Texas.
- Locations of Performances & Competitions : Southlake-Texas, Irving-Texas, Dallas-Texas, Lewisville-Texas, Frisco-Texas, Plano-Texas, Carrollton-Texas, Allen-Texas, Coppell-Texas, Grapevine-Texas, Flowermound-Texas, Arlington-Texas.
- Selected in several auditions and competitions for Solos. Selected by several media and top-notch family/event/corporate-dance and professional photographers for individual profiling/close-ups during our community performances without our telling them or informing them. She was also part of Fusion team being an avid gymnasts student. Click here :
- You are a perfect example of perfect expressions/looks anytime a picture is taken and yet it just as graceful and beautiful.
Congratulations to ALL our students of the year!
Thank you for working hard with us…
This post will be updated once a year. Our academic year goes from August To May.
Post Updated History : This Post was First Published on this Blog on September 25, 2017.
Pictures posted above are either past or present students of Grace and Grooves & their pictures are shared based on their exclusive photo sharing rights and approved by parents when shared/transferred to Grace And Grooves for the purpose of Grace and Grooves ONLY.
Copyright Reach Media for Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | 2012-2021. This material cannot be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Competitions We Do :
As such we have won several competitions but we have only accounted in our bags that we have done it independently ourselves and have judges who are qualified in field of Indian Performing Arts-who know what to look for in dance forms or styles, if mentioned likewise.
- Non-Voting, Strict by Genre, Category, Dance Forms, Rules of Dance Form, Rubrics, Guidelines, Marks and Feedbacks by Judges with straight background, Local or International Depending on all of above.
- Competitions in partnership with other dance schools/teachers are NOT INCLUDED in our list.
- We do not sponsor the awards or competitions that we take part in. Please contact hetal at email@example.com for sponsorships.
- We do not do reality competitions YET. These are not institutionalized or educational competitions.
- Competitions where voting criteria is 10/100 or more at any levels are not included in our list. You are welcome to take freelance lessons from us to participate but we will not participate in voting. We will not take those on our list.
- Judges who do not have any knowledge of dance or cannot outline the difference between simple things such as bollywood vs folk, fusion vs bollywood, and so on! If you do not know the rules of dance form then there is no point in judging. And so, we do not take part in those competitions.
- Participant Awards are NOT listed or considered for us-obviously and that includes students who get participant awards during competitions just for participating and not winning competitions for any runner ups awards either. Culture awards are not competition awards 🙂
- Wins at the Competitions that misrepresented categories/competitions/malrepresentation by the organizers are NOT listed.
- Eg-Represented as Indian FOLK Competition but it was actually a Bollywood Competition and so they are NOT LISTED HERE. We have won such competitions as well.
- Only legitimate competitions are listed.
- We DO NOT teach Tap/Jazz/Ballet. Students who took part in fusion dances that included tap/jazz or ballet were trained from Ballet Academy of Texas(Coppell) and Prestige Dance Company(Lewisville-former Coppell Dance Center)for 2months+ or were already avid trained dancers or good gymnasts.
- We taught them only Indian Classical Dance(Bharatnatyam)or Indian Folk Dance and the Fusion work to go together based on what they knew.
- Some competitions are listed together as only 1 award was given for consecutive years win or in same year as prizes had material gifts/or gift cards for participants or same work received awards in 2 different places by different participants or same participants. There was only 1 ceremony for awards that happened.
- Competitions that are not worth our attention –>
- Students are neglected, mis-treated, insulted by organizers are NOT worth of our time. We will pass their info-you are welcome to compete but keep us out of it.
- Organizers are in favor of other dance schools and allowed several re-takes to them but not to us-for no good reason are NOT worth our time. We DO NOT want children to go through that traumatic experiences.
- Students are questioned about their well-being priorities only because organizer couldn’t see the child winning in-spite of stopping the vote entries are NOT worth of your child’s time.
- Organizers that offer inappropriate stage areas, dressing room areas or unsafe dance conditions are eliminated from our list for any future participations due to SAFETY GUIDELINES concerning child’s safety. We don’t come there to dance in 5-8 steps of stage area.
- A stage or organizer who cannot respect a child’s presence while talking just about anything that they have in mind insulting kids and their parents whatsoever, esp. talking in extremely loud voice and misbehaving in front of children because you couldn’t handle pressures (while others were allowed to do same-all drama in front of child)-is not worth our attention.
Please learn your manners FIRST when you treat a child.
Stop treating them like trash — this tells us about your parenting! Not our parents’.
- An organizer who is bias to us in all the privileges given to other participants will not need our attention at any given point of time. If you have made up your mind in not allowing us to avail the privileges then why should we make kids suffer through your misconduct and inappropriate behavior just for a trophy ?
Constructive feedbacks are very welcomed. We have come this far only because of constructive feedbacks. Please tell us your background before you judge!
All of above are NOT sarcastic humor incidents and are ruled out by experiences in recent competitions and we do not want any child to face such a traumatic experience just for a competition! Our kids/students are very precious to us.
Other Blog Posts where such a traumatic incident happened : Read Here.
Stop blaming parents and kids for your own issues. Open Stats @Cqunce Inc.
This post was updated in May 15, 2019 | May 22, 2021.
Exclusive Copyrights by Reach Media for Hetal Joshi | Grace & Grooves | Grace Creations | Grace And Grooves 2012-2021. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Everybody in this world has their inspiration from somewhere or something. So do we and all our names. Just out of sky it did not come in our mind to get these names on our paper to register them as our own. With so many theories out there about names, we had to clear our own lists of all the DBA(s), Logo(s)….
Grace And Grooves LLC (2012) : This is sort of like additional information on how we got our name. As shared in link above on Grace And Grooves LLC(2012), we got our name from audiences. Topic 2 From Here.
Here’s little more to nail-biting situation we were put through for name!
We had unexpected challenges during this walk-in competition. When asked what dance company it was–we did not have a name back then. We did not know what to answer. We wondered, why was it required to put a name when organizer did not disclose such a thing before the event as a basic requirement and just took us in to compete.
Grace, poise, artistic choreography never fails to sell itself. This was compared to a youtube copied choreography that had over a million views 🙂 It had us worried for a while until we heard that we received 1st place award. We were told to give some name by the end of event and when the results are announced(if we win!) so that they can address it as we were the ONLY people there who did not have name there. They seemed to be against participants that were not registered.
An American Indian (well, married to Indian 🙂 complimented our parents and students that she did not understand language or meaning of song but choreography was so beautiful that it touched her heart.
She mentioned specifically which sequence of dance it was upon asking. The song was about relation between Meera(a devotee of lord krishna) and Lord Krishna that was well-read to audience before the song. But, the ending dance sequence when Meera looses her presence in materialistic world in Hare Krishna Dhun (chants with complete submission to the lord Krishna). This dance was performed by Nirja Setty and her school friend (name disclosed on request) in our own designed Kerala Style Tissue Pattu Pavadai. Cloth for this costume was specifically shipped from India (on request of-course) and re-stitched, re-designed for these girls in the City of Irving-Coppell,Texas USA. She said, the dance brought tears in her eyes. Our Success! After hearing compliments from this young lady, we named ourselves–Grace And Grooves when they called us on stage to receive our award-1st place. It was instant. We loved the name that we accidentally spoke out! Comments by the judges : Beautiful Choreography, Dramatic Appearances, Nicely done, Beautiful costumes/props and compliments such as how did you do such a beautiful dance choreography on this song! We always get that & happy to hear one more time 🙂 Choreographer : Hetal Nagaraj. Inspirations from her trainings.
Both students were learning Bharatnatyam with us and Indian Folk Dance(Pure) towards common goal of having them compete in a competition as duet, if the audition process goes well. And, we were waiting to hear the results. Meanwhile, we came to know of this competition and we walked right-in when we heard walk-ins are welcomed. This choreography work has won several awards in competitions, at times-back to back. Nobody gets tired of it :). We hear the same thing–how did you do it!
CALL NOW 972 979 2559 or Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Grace Creations(2013) : A name that was a direct inspiration from an Indian artistic dance company in east-coast of United States. We were in love with it the day we came across them through a friend. We were shown their you-tube videos when our friend saw Mrs.Nagaraj’s semi-classical work performed by her own self. Our other inspiration was Indian Dance School(In Georgia, USA) for their beautiful unique fusion works. Very artistically done and both of these are Bharatnatyam based Indian Dance Companies. And we started following them but with our own artistic, innovative ways and we infused lot of other styles, forms of dances as well–at times within the limits of form or style while the other times-totally off-limits. All students however were trained in their forms and styles to maintain their commitments. All our fusion choreography work often performs under the label of Grace Creations. Grace Creations will perform in later years next and is currently on vacation :).
CALL NOW 972 979 2559 or Email : email@example.com
Nruthyakala Dance Academy(2017) : The word comes from words Nruthya (or Nritya meaning dance) and Kala meaning Art. We had in mind several other names but we needed a name that goes for both the dance forms – Bharatanatyam and Indian Folk Dances(India). Main idea was to have Nruthya(Nritya meaning Dance) that is combination of Nritta and Natya – both;thus separating these two beautiful forms from all the other programs that we offer. Eventually, it may happen that Bharatnatyam and Indian Folk Dances may operate separately but until then this is it-we loved this as it best-fits our need!
CALL NOW 972 979 2559 or Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Mirchi Dance Academy(2017): This word was decided last year! Very well, it came from Red Chillies Entertainment (An Entertainment Company in Mumbai, India). Mirchi(meaning hot pepper/chillies) is always a must have in plate if you have roots from Kathyavaad. Coming from hybrid-gujarati family, we were born eating tasty peppers/chillies with our all-time favorite theplas, stuffed paranthas or bajri-rotlas with all the other goodies. Some habits don’t go, they say! From our food plate to our DBA name. And you thought we don’t love Bollywood :)…Yes, bring it onn. It is tasty!
Date: August 15, 2017.
Exclusively written by Hetal Nagaraj. Copyright Reach Media for Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | Nruthyakala Dance Academy | Mirchi Dance Academy | 2012-2017. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
About Darpana Academy of Performing Arts of (Ahmedabad-India) & Trainings :
1949 : Darpana was established as a dance academy by Mrinalini and Vikram Sarabhai. For nearly two decades it taught classical dance.(1949-1969). With Mrinalini as the lead dancer, and Chatunni Panicker as her partner, the Darpana dance company toured across the world. A few years later the great Kuchipudi guru, C R Acharyelu joined the faculty.
1960s : Darpana added departments of Gujarati theatre and puppetry under the inspired direction of Kailash Pandya, Damini Mehta and Meher Contractor. These departments taught and had performing groups that established names for themselves. Gujarati theatre was revived as was the folk form of Bhavai, and many other declining forms from across the country. The Andhra shadow puppets found a new lease of life.
1970s : Thousands of students were studying BharataNatyam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam, Vocal and Instrumental Carnatic music, Puppetry, Bhavai and Modern Theatre. Many of the faculty members got involved in using the arts to tackle every day issues and prejudices. And Darpana grew.
1977s : Mallika Sarabhai took over as Honorary Directory.
1980s : Darpana for Development was established to focus attention on creating behavior change communication through the arts with Kailash Pandya and Mallika taking the lead. Government departments, Ministries and other non governmental agencies began partnering D for D to educate the public in issues of health, education and empowering women. Over the next two decades D for D became the fastest growing segment of Darpana, creating powerful communication that reached hearts and minds.
1994s : Darpana’s Amphitheatre Natarani, Gujarat’s only state-of-the-arts venue came into existence to give local audiences the opportunity to see world class performance, and to give artists a platform to build on. Each year Natarani presents close to 80 events, including dance performances, concerts, plays, cultural programs and films. Natarani’s café offers young writers, poets or music groups its space to hold informal performances, jam sessions and readings. The open gallery space allows Natarani to host thematic events encompassing live performances, craft demonstrations and sale, sculpture and painting exhibitions and specialty food at the café go with the theme.
1999s : When Darpana turned 50, all the Founder’s dreams had been fulfilled and over 20000 students had streamed through the institution. In a major reorganization, the teaching of the arts were put on a back burner and new collaborations, technological innovations and the use of the arts for social change took center stage.
2001s : Yadavan Chandran started Darpana Communications to explore the use of television and film for social change. Over the next decade the department produced and broadcast more than 2000 hours of programming, much of it path breaking in its innovative use of audience participation and in using popular genres to introduce taboo subjects. Recently Darpana for Development and Darpana Communications were merged to become Darpana for Change.
2014 & onwards : Revanta Sarabhai took charge of the teaching wing, the Conservatory, to revitalize it. This department now runs short and long term courses in classical dance and music, theatre, martial arts and a variety of other forms.
Natarani hosts seven major international festivals every year:
* Sunday to Sunday Theatre Festival – October 5 to 12
* Naada Music Festival – November 13-16
* Women at Work Festival – November 28-30
* InterArt, The Vikram Sarabhai International Arts Festival – Dec 28-30
* Cinema of Resistance – January 23-26 . .
* Festival of Nonviolence – Jan 30-Feb 2
* Celebrating the World of Dance – Apr 1-6
Over the last 20 years of it’s existence, Natarani has presented performers like Aditi Mangaldas, Amjad Ali Khan, Anahita Uberoi, Anupam and Kiron Kher, Anuradha Kapur, Astad Deboo, Atul Kumar, the Auroville Dance Company, the Cartoon Sardine Theatre, Fazal Qureishi, the Garlic Puppet Group, Javed Akhtar, Louis Banks, Shivamani, Niladrikumar, Mynta, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Rahul Bose, Ramdas Padhye, Raman Kutty Nair, Daksha Sheth, Rohini Hattangady, Ronnie Govender, Shabana Azmi, Shovana Narayan, Shubha Mudgal, Tom Alter, Usha Ganguli, Vibha Mishra, Zakir Hussain, Indian Ocean, Deepti Naval, Nandita Das, Zohra Sehgal and many others.
No other private arts institution in India had the facilities available at Natarani. The campus, the theatre, the artists, the technical equipment, the rehearsal rooms, the library of books, music and videos, the workshop, and perhaps most significantly the mind set. This made it unique for opening it out to the artists and creators of the world who wanted to break out of technique bound institutional or performance set ups and have the possibility of working with artists of different trainings, nationalities, sensibilities and goals.
Grace And Grooves thanks Darpana Academy of Performing Arts for sharing their beautiful journey of performing arts under the leadership of Guru Smt.Mrinalini Sarabhai and Guru Smt.Mallika Sarabhai. This as well reflects in quality, technique focused environment pertaining to style or form and above all-commitment and discipline to form/style.
The above article is being submitted by Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, Ahmedabad-India to Grace And Grooves to provide knowledge about institute’s premier setup in Ahmedabad-India. Ms. Hetal Nagaraj has taken several trainings (1999, 2000, 2015) in various Indian Folk Dances, Puppetry and Gujarati Theatre at Darpana Academy of Performing Arts from some of the most renowned artist that visit the institute for teaching their speciality. Some of these choreography and conceptual works were also performed before and after Grace And Grooves was registered with state of Texas as a LLC and were reproduced as direct replica of her trainings at Darpana Academy of Performing Arts(Ahmedabad). While a few of the choreography work-ideas from Darpana students’ showcases (of 1999, 2000, and 2001) have inspired Mrs.Nagaraj to use the very same in Bollywood, Bharatnatyam and other Classical Fusion works (Kalakshetra Style or with multiple styles of Bharatnatyam, and Kathak). All with required trainings without forsaking fundamentals, practical approach and creativity.
Be it for fun or competition–it is all about what you take home once the training is done.
We, at Grace And Grooves choose to provide the very same quality, commitment and creativity without forsaking the fundamentals of dance forms or styles. Students are taught to practically apply choreography work in their specified dance forms or styles and Indian dance categories(if-competitions). Knowledge of various vedas, shastras, epics versions, access to culture books, translations and history books are open to students who would like to study in-depth. Fusion works, musical theatre are taught in their own category of dance forms or styles. It is due to hard work and in-depth interest, that Mrs. Hetal Nagaraj has gained some of the finest knowledge and books from various parts of India during her extensive travels all over India for her education in various fields(including dance) and for the love of travel! While some books and mentorship were gifts from her dance guru(s), instructor(s) and Sanskrit professors at various institutes/universities/department of tourism(state & India) or performing arts related associations.
When you take Indian Folk Dance Classes from Mrs. Hetal Nagaraj in Dallas-Texas, the history of culture with related Indian Folk Dance variations, styles, costume & prop- guidelines, with required rules associated with dance form or style is very much part of program as per region and state wise – Both! Props making(if not available in market) & puppetry(-includes making them-) is also taught wherever applicable; knowledge of which she has inherited from her own mother who was volunteer teacher in local drama plays and schools in which folk dances were prominently showcased as part of entertainment on regular basis.
Her drama-plays included a full routine of dance performances in Indian Folk Dances on Indian festivals and subjects such Ram Leela, Krishnasthami(Janmashtami), Shivratri, Onam, Sankrant(Makar Sankranti), Dussehra(with 9 days decors), Women’s Empowerment, Diwali Decors, Christmas Plays, Lezim, Lavani and many others to include which are taught today also at Grace And Grooves Indian Folk Dance Classes or Musical Theatre (wherever applicable, as per need) as part of various programs.
Possibilities are endless with trainings as they come with practical safety guidelines for each form or style. This allows you to showcase endless creativity and still stay within the form or style.
For No Dance Was Ever Made To Harm And Dance Is Beautiful With Creativity!
Just don’t forget what you were dancing out there in the name of creativity.
This above timeline was submitted by Darpana Academy about Darpana Academy to Grace And Grooves. September 2015.
Copyright Reach Media for Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | Nruthyakala Dance Academy | Mirchi Dance Academy. 2012-2017. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Past Staff (Volunteer & Paid)
Mrs. Swathi Burra, Irving-Texas :
She was volunteering with us for about 2 full years in lieu of her daughter’s dance fees from 2011-2013 and some months post 2013. Rest, we would gift her. A fabulous lady who knows how to treat people, understands queries and at times their concerns regarding costumes, jewelry, to just about anything. She has travelled around world and knew pretty much everything that anybody had queries regarding.
Those 2-3 years when we started off doing regular lessons and filed for company name, we had people from outside US such as newly moved to US due to Green-Card Lottery, some moved to US on business visa or H1 visa from other countries while some like us who were pretty much settled where we were(Irving-Coppell). Times, we needed hand in backstage for costumes, makeup, ticketing, coordinating with organizers, collecting fees, checking the venues-this girl would get it all done. Some of these people had never spoken english or barely knew hindi and were an exclusive Telugu influenced. Swati was our big time help for all our south asian/indian programs for coordinating.
Till date, it is 2019 when we are editing this blog entry and we have received calls from organizers asking if its Swati they are talking to and they would start their talk in Telugu.
Journey with us :
We had just registered our company and formation was still going on with lot of other paper-work during that time and our Indian Folk Dances Program was pretty well established with private groups in Irving, Coppell, Valley Ranch Areas of Dallas and Denton County with over 30 students on an average. Some recreational while some only competitions in Indian Folk Dances and a few work-out groups for moms.
Recreational Folk Dances were only names as such because they would not bother to perform in US or anywhere at all or would perform only in Indian audiences in India which made us even more proud when we received compliments and in some cases, some certificates or awards as they would participate in India for various competitions during their visits to their homeland.
Even after we were registered fully and almost all paper work was done, we were NOT committed to doing any regular community performances as Indian Folk Dances at competition level or even basic performance took us about fairly 10-12 classes for a good choreography to establish for an age group of 6 to 10 years.
It was Ms. Swati’s decision however to prompt us to start Bollywood / Tollywood (Telugu Cinema Dances)/Indian Movie Dances.
And our very first Bollywood Group had its very first official performance in IANT 2013 under the name of Grace Creations-our non-competitive performing fusion company. And we started taking Bollywood students in groups targeting specific performances for community events.
Grace Creation, however, was formed with an inspiration from Indian dance companies in east-coast which Mrs. Nagaraj had been following in various social-media channels or as her idols or via her network of dancers in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Rajasthan and Delhi. Our Students were already trained in Non-Indian Dances from Ballet Academy of Texas, and Coppell Dance Center(Now Prestige Dance Center) and we already had required Indian Dance knowledge of Indian Folk and Bharatnatyam that we needed to create fusion category of dances.
But that was it, the group then dissolved as nobody was interested in regular community performances on monthly basis for Bollywood but instead wanted to move to Bharatnatyam when they saw Ms. Hetal Nagaraj teaching some classical work to college students who had come for competition related classes.
Some students moved outside city itself while for others who stayed with us, shaped with us with our newly established structured program for Bollywood Dances. These students were also taking Indian Folk Dance Lessons from us as seperate programs and Bharatanatyam. In total, they would dance 1 hour per week for each program i.e. 3 hours total.
Looking back, if it wasn’t for the push of Ms. Burra, we would NOT have initiated the Bollywood-Tollywood or Indian Movie Dances Program and Grace Creations wouldn’t have existed so early. Initial plan was to launch Grace Creations in 2016, otherwise. Grace Creations is still our non-competing group for Bollywood students where now, most of our Musical Theatre Dances and acts happen in their respective categories and programs based on type/timeline of performance date. However, off-late in 2016 onwards, some of our fusion dances won 1st place non-stop in various competition from local, regional to state and national level.
Ms. Swati’s daughter, Srinija Burra was a fabulous recreational Indian Folk Dancer who was accepted in several competitions as Solo dance artist(Age 6) and was important part of our team. She has also won group Indian Folk Dance Competitions (Pure Folk and with respected judges/organizers with double degrees in fine arts-very proud of this young lady!) with our other 10 Indian Folk Dance Students. Srinija Burra has also been the student of the year and received discounts on our elite line of costumes rentals and several other perks that we offered from our sponsorships of our dances that time.
Srinija & Nirja were often mistaken and switched in their solo performances by the organizers due to similarity in names and back then they would look very same! Best part was, both these girls would steal the show anywhere they would go, be it solo, duet or in group. All photographers, videographers and other parents who did not know us or these girls would take only their pictures and dance-videos with close-ups in-spite of being 10-15 dancers on stage without our informing them.
They were/are known to be the face and honor of Grace And Grooves LLC and often mistaken as Mrs. Hetal’s daughters or Mrs. Swati’s daughters as well. Nobody knew. Fun!
Today as well, till date in 2019, they are asked by various organizers who see our promo videos and pictures going out or in google search for modeling to dance assignments. A childhood friendship that shares some of the most beautiful memories that both the girls will cherish throughout their life! We are very blessed to have these young ladies as part of our family.
Srinija was also the reason why we have student of the year today and was amongst our very first Student Of The Year :).
Thank you Swati for being our best one. We Miss You 🙂 This Blog post is exclusively for you!
Copyright Reach Media for Hetal Nagaraj | Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | 2012-2019. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Past Performances of Grace And Grooves. List of paid and unpaid public events – 2015 and before in no specific order of occurrences and numbered per event/not by number of performances):
- Grace And Grooves performs at Plano Library, at a Diwali Event (Organized by Independent Groups). Ms. Mansi Chauhan offered Bollywood Workshop-Age Group 4 to 8 Years.
- Grace And Grooves performs at an invited event organized by DFW-Hindu Temple, Irving-Texas featuring Semi-Classical Bharatnatyam-Bollywood Style , Bollywood-Folk, and Bollywood Performances.
- Grace And Grooves performs Bharatnatyam(Shabdam/Shabhdam), Garba, and Bollywood Dances in a walkathon organized by CRY America Inc in Irving-Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performs Bharatnatyam (Art-work), Bollywood and Fusion at Iskon-Dallas at a sponsored event.
- Grace And Grooves performs Lavani, Garba, Ghoomar/Ghummar, and Folk tale lyrical in Dallas-Texas for Dallas Catholic Charities in Dallas-Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performs Bharatnatyam(as guest artist, Allaripu) in competition where Ms. Hetal Joshi was judge for Non-Classical Category-Dallas, Texas. (2011)
- Grace And Grooves performs Garba, Bollywood Dances, and Lavani in May Festival -Fortworth.
- Grace And Grooves performs Bharatnatyam(Pushpanjali-Guru Vandana), Tollywood Dances, Bollywood Dances, Folk Lyrical in Dallas International Festival, Dallas-Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performs Kalbelia, Kshatriya, Tippani and Bollywood Dances in Plano, Texas at an International Festival representing India.
- Grace And Grooves showcased art-works (Garba of Smt. Indu Mangrola) and Semi-Classical Kathak in Tarrant County-College, Arlington-Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performs Bharatnatyam(Thillana), Bollywood Dances, Rajasthani Folk Tale(with Chirmi) event organized by DFW International in Addison, Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performs Gidda, Bhangra(Beginners) and Bollywood performances at Ram Mandir-Plano Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performs Bollywood Folk, Semi-Classical Kathak, Bollywood Hip Hop, and Bhangra at an event organized by Indian Association of North Texas, Dallas-Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performs Teratalli, Garba, Ghoomar/Ghummar, and Chirmi in Fortworth Festival-Forworth.
- Grace And Grooves performs at inaugural function with Bollywood Fusion, Koli, Lavani, KummiAdi, Bihu at a sponsored event in Colleyville, Texas featuring Cultures of India. PAID Performance.
- Grace And Grooves performs Bharatnatyam(Jatiswaram)in Grapevine-Texas for Diwali event organized by Denton Association.
- Grace And Grooves performs Raas/Dandiya, Bollywood-Retro, and Fusion Tap w/Bollywood in association with Dance Workshop at Lewisville Grand Theatre(Lewisville). Students were avid Tap/Jazz dancers trained for more than 2 years at Coppell Dance Center(Coppell) and later at Prestige Dance Center (Lewisville), Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performed Bollywood-Lyrical, Lezim, Bollywood Bhangra, and Bollywood HipHop at Chinese Festival in Arlington, Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performed KumiAdi, Garbi, and Bollywood Dances, organized by DFW International in Addison-Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performed Lavani, Bollywood Dances, Semi-Classical (Bharatnatyam), and Tollywood in International Travel Show-Global Beatz Stage-Dallas, Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performed Chirmi, Bollywood, Rumaal Dance, Bharatnatyam(Lyrical Artwork) at World Fest, Addison-Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performed Fusion of Tap, Bollywood Hip Hop, Nepali Folk and Rajasthani Folk Tale in Grapevine Texas by Denton Association.
- Grace And Grooves performed Folk-Fusion, Bollywood Dances, in Plano-Texas. Students were avid Tap/Jazz dancers trained for more than 2 years at Coppell Dance Center-Coppell and later at Prestige Dance and Performing Arts Centre(Lewisville), Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performed Bharatnatyam-Ballet Fusion in DFW Hindu Temple, Irving-Texas. Students were trained in Ballet from Ballet Academy of Texas-Coppell, Texas.
- Grace And Grooves performed Fusion at Indian Association of North Texas, – Dallas Texas: Tap, Jazz, Gymnastics, Salsa, Bollywood and Folk. Students were trained or were avid dancers/gymnasts in Tap, Jazz, and Gymnastics, from Ballet Academy of Texas-Coppell, Coppell Dance Center/ Prestige Dance and Performing Arts Centre (Lewisville), and gymnastics studios respectively. Ms. Joshi took required Salsa Personal Training from a Master Choreographer at Arthur Murray Dance Studio (Plano). Please do not copy our artwork without training. It may harm your child.
- Grace And Grooves performs Bharatnatyam/Tap Fusion, Bollywood Dances, Kumari (Indian) Semi-Classical in Addison, Texas event organized by DFW International. . Students were avid Tap/Jazz dancers trained for more than 2 years at Coppell Dance Center-Coppell and later at Prestige Dance and Performing Arts Centre(Lewisville), Texas.
- Grace And Grooves (Ms. Hetal Joshi) performs for consecutive 3 days in Culture Cowtown Event (National Gathering) organized by American-Mensa at Fort Worth-Texas, for Classical Dances of India, Folk Dances of India and Nepal, and Bollywood Dances. The performances featured Bharatnatyam (Kalashetra/Pandanallur), Fusion, Semi-Classical, Bollywood and various Folk Dances of India with variations in styles and techniques with time-line. Folk Dances of India discussed were – Garba, Raas-Dandiya, Gidda, Garbi, Bhangra, Lavani, Kshtariya, Lezim, Koli, Dumhal, Tribal Dances of India, Chhau, Sambalpuri Folk, Rumali Dance, Tippani, Matki, Bhavaai, and many more were showcased with variations/types, techniques and costumes. An educational workshop was also given after the performance with LIVE participation from audiences to American-Mensa Members on the all of above with and without costumes/jewelry. Over 30 Mensa members participated in the event of which a few were performing arts major.
- Grace And Grooves performs and gives workshop at Uplift Education – Summit International Preparatory, Arlington-Texas featuring Bollywood Dances, Choppai-Bollywood Style.
- Grace And Grooves performs at Independence Elementary, Lewisville featuring Tollywood Performances-Semi-Classical Style , Bollywood Dance.
- Grace And Grooves performs at Harmony School of Innovation, Carrollton featuring creative fusion styles.
- Grace And Grooves performs at Isaacs Early Childhood School featuring a neo-classical fusion and bollywood dances.
- Grace And Grooves performs at Universal Academy, Coppell featuring Bollywood Dances.
- Grace And Grooves performs at Castle Hills Elementary, Lewisville featuring various Bollywood Dances such as Medley of creative Modern and Traditional Bollywood Dances and fusion of Ethnic Rajasthani Folk dance styles.
Grace And Grooves holds exclusive rights for all the pictures being posted with permission of organizers for exclusive Grace And Groove use only.
More as we dig in our files…We enjoy performing and doing workshops so that you can enjoy reading/seeing pictures.
ELITE: Expensive or Quality?
What makes a DANCE company enjoy “An Elite” status?
Looking at pictures of Grace And Grooves, one might assume the OMG factor is of an expensive costume or is it, that rich families being part of event that company gets impression with the word – Elite?
W…R…O… N…G…! It wasn’t that. Don’t get deceived by the pictures or words!
In 2014, students of Grace And Grooves (Ages 7 & 9years old) won awards against pure Indian Classical Dance by some of the finest teachers in Dallas-Fortworth areas (Indian Dance Competition). The awards were won with pure folk dances of India and participating dance teams were from all over Texas. It wasn’t the first win that Grace And Grooves got it with pure folk in the same competition. 2013 competition wins were still fresh to all who participated again in 2014. They admired pure folk dances of india done by Grace And Grooves amongst the others–one more time because it was something that reminded them of their home. Just the way it is supposed to be! Choreographers addressed the performers of Grace And Grooves as an Elite with respect to choreography. That day, it was an honor for Ms. Joshi when those choreographers gave pat on her back for her 9 year old (with $100-custom handmade costume) stealing the award with a simple pure folk dance of India-Rajasthan-Ghoomar(or Ghummar/Ghumar) & a Lavani (or Laavani)- folk dance of India-Maharashtra by her 7 year old (with a $25 costume) against pure Bharatnatyam & Kuchipudi & other folk dances of india in non-classical dance category. Can’t get that wrong with all that years of knowledge/sweat & yes, constant mentoring. There it was, the company changed their tag line from a Premier Award Winning Folk Dance Company to an Elite Award Winning Folk Dance Company. In 2015, company started offering Bollywood Dance and Fusion Dance in name of Grace Creations for non-classical category of dances and to welcome Indian Movie Dances loved and admired for its peppy beats.
For most Bollywood/Tollywood Dances, Grace Creations costumes range is anywhere from a simple Jeans/legging with a t-shirt of $5-$10 and goes up-to $100 while the Folk Dances of India has costumes with price tag that starts from $25 to $120. Bharatnatyam costumes starts from $30 with shipping & goes up-to $110.
It all depends on how far you want to go with your pocket when it comes to dance. We welcome students to get their own costumes as well.
After all, dance is all about teaching your child look & feel beautiful which often goes with other performing arts factors & BIG yes–plus the COSTUME; if it comes with an affordable price tag.
And that’s how it is supposed to be – Simply Elite or Call it graceful. It’s the same thing. To be straight, no one wants to look beautiful with a hole in pocket or buy a $60 costume that makes your precious child look like a junk!
Pictures posted above are either past or present students of Grace and Grooves & their pictures are shared based on their exclusive photo sharing rights and approved by parents when shared/transferred to Grace And Grooves for the purpose of Grace and Grooves ONLY.
Copyright Reach Media for Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | 2012-2017. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.