Grace And Grooves LLC, Names, Logo(s):

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)….

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Our Logo in 2012. It had variations such as Grace And Grooves, Grace n Grooves, Grace Grooves, Grace & Grooves, etc.

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!

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One of other variation that was used…2012 onwards.

 

 

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.

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Our New Logo in 2015 September that we got made for Indian Folk Dances, Bharatnatyam and Fusion Dances. Bollywood was not really program back then. We started Bollywood off-late after September and logo was already done by then!!

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 : info@graceandgrooves.com

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Grace Creations Logo that was created much later. Before that, several works were done in fusion dances.

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 : info@graceandgrooves.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 : info@graceandgrooves.com

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.

Salutations To Darpana Academy of Performing Arts (Ahmedabad-India) & Hetal’s Trainings :

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*****This article is being submitted by Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, Ahmedabad-India to Grace And Grooves & Hetal Nagaraj to provide knowledge about institute’s premier setup in Ahmedabad-India. This article was specifically formatted to meet the guidelines for a particular submission in news all over USA. Please do not copy without permission of Hetal Nagaraj or there will be legal consequences. Hetal Nagaraj owns several of these copyright articles to circulate in USA, for Darpana.*****

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.

Indian Folk Dances, Bollywood and Bharatnatyam

Bollywood, Bharatnatyam and Folk Dances of India, Hetal Joshi Nagaraj

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 . .

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Our choreography works from past trainings

* 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.

Our Founding Member

Solo-Irving, Duets-Plano, Solo-Fortworth. Choreography Work from past trainings. 1999, 2000. Gujarati Theatre Dance Skit.

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 & Hetal Nagaraj to provide knowledge about institute’s premier setup in Ahmedabad-India. This article was specifically formatted to meet the guidelines for a particular submission in news all over USA. Please do not copy without permission of Hetal Nagaraj or there will be legal consequences. Hetal Nagaraj owns several of these copyright articles to circulate the materials of Darpana, in USA.

Hetal’s Inspirations from own family for performing arts is mentioned here.

Company : www.graceandgrooves.com

Hetal’s Outside family inspiration are from Darpana Academy : 

                      Lt. Mrinalini Sarabhai was the inspiration for institutional setup along with hetal’s own mainstream schools other than her own family environment. She provided a full guidance when Ms.Hetal & her mom:Daksha Joshi came in contact with Darpana & their staff from 1992 to 1995.  It was during a govt program in school functions; when they met!

                       Ms.Daksha Joshi was a contracted artist with govt events for various services. Mrinalini Sarabhai proposed for Hetal if she would be interested in Darpana Academy with everything that is required to be done including the trainings;which she was already taking in schools or had formal teachers too. Amma was then made aware that most girls in Hetal’s family are groomed for outside-india-life to join our other NRI-families and with that, she may not stay in India as well. And so it may not be good idea to commit upfront with these family traditions;few other officials were approached too for same guidance. She was also a volunteer at temples. But with that, she agreed to be launched as paid artist freelance with other projects outside Darpana. And this led to foundations of all the knowledge that she will need to open an institute in 1994-1995 for future, ”if she wants to!”.

Pics of Daksha Joshi & Mrinalini Sarabhai at an event in Gandhinagar – will post them soon 🙂

Hetal completed several trainings at Darpana that she couldn’t complete at schools as she moved to Ahmedabad for her Bachelor’s degree. Ms. Hetal’s trainings that she completed (1999, 2000, 2015) were in various Indian Folk Dances, Puppetry, Chhau 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, Bharatanatyam 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.

About Grace And Grooves Group under Hetal Nagaraj (www.hetaln.com) :

             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.

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Bharatnatyam Solo 2008-2009 in Irving Texas. Repeated again in 2012-2013 in Grapevine Texas.

  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 & puppetry(-includes making them-) is also taught wherever applicable; knowledge of which she has inherited from her own mother. About her mother’s transparent background.

Graduates of Hetal Nagaraj : By Genre, Click Here.

Hetal’s 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.
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Some of our elite performers. Bharatnatyam in 2 different styles and Indian Folk. Performances 2015-2017. Works of other renowned bharatnatyam guru(s) and Indian Folk Dancers from straight trainings. Elite Students and Hetal Nagaraj.

The above article is being submitted by Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, Ahmedabad-India to Grace And Grooves & Hetal Nagaraj to provide knowledge about institute’s premier setup in Ahmedabad-India. This article was specifically formatted to meet the guidelines for a particular submission in news all over USA. Please do not copy without permission of Hetal Nagaraj or there will be legal consequences. Hetal Nagaraj owns several of these copyright articles to circulate the materials of Darpana, in USA.

This above timeline was submitted by Darpana Academy about Darpana Academy to Grace And Grooves for September 2015 publishings in various media across USA.

Post about inspiration to Hetal from Darpana added on Feb 23, 2022.

Copyright Reach Media for Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | Nruthyakala Dance Academy | Mirchi Dance Academy. 2012-2022. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Past Staff (Volunteer & Paid)

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. 

Srinija Burra

Indian Folk Dancers, Bollywood And Amongst Very First Grace Creations Dancer.

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! 

Blog Entries: Late 2017, April 3, 2019 with Srinija’s credits.

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.

Early Training-Raised with Standards

Cultural diversity becomes lifestyle when you are brought up in Gujarat where business, commerce, equal rights/safety to women, and acceptable knowledge of regional language attracted educated people from all walks of life, other states of India and across the borders too! It automatically becomes a blessing when you are born and raised in such environment and obviously, dance cannot be ignored for somebody who is a lifelong student of performing arts. With all this migration of quality people, t’was a norm to hear news of some cultural association (at times not even registered) celebrating their festival every month and dance being part of it. Gandhinagar(capital of Gujarat)is place where people migrated for government jobs (strictly via entrance exams or transfers) so obviously more than 90% of population is educated to some decent level of education or had thorough knowledge of performing arts as Govt. of Gujarat had opened its doors to several non-profit organizations and associations to promote art & culture of India along with just nurturing Gujarati culture. Some migrated to Ahmedabad (main business city) for business or professional careers (esp. educated women and young girls) due to equal opportunity and safe environment for working women/college girls.

Theme Based Performances

Recent Release Picture/article (2015-2016) of Annual Show by St.Xaviers School, Gandhinagar. For over 40 years, school has been celebrating focusing to various themes. Trainings are provided by local dance teachers or professional instructors whose students study @ the school.

From small pocket size dance schools, passionate dancers w/dance academies (such as Darpana) to educational schools (such as St.Xaviers & Mt.Carmel Convent Schools), had their own events planned through out the school year such as annual day, sports day, teachers day, their inter-school competitions/Odyssey, Eid, Diwali, or Christmas. At least twice a year, schools supported major city events such as Independence Day, Republic Day or any other extraordinary events happening in city! Whole city along with renowned artists from performing arts and govt. delegates were invited so training had to be given to students. Events would either happen at city hall or helipad so the costume requirement, dance props usage was compulsory pertaining to dance. The entire show was about glimpse of India where in at least 5-8 minutes of stage time was exclusively given for each performance with a detailed description of state/region or culture (at-least one type of) identification and choreographer/trainers name if they permitted to be announced. Participation levels were close to 99% as they were absolute FUN! Schools encouraged students to participate by giving extra marks as in cultural activities. The instructors were invited to offer these classes most of times at very nominal price for schools or was free if your group/classroom chose to do it strictly under school name. The program would then end with some stunts by Indian Air-Force pilots, parades and salute to Indian heroes.

All of that doesn’t happen in day or just 10-12 classes! Folk Dances of India are not like Bollywood dances where you can have somebody dance on song and you got it! None of the techniques of Folk Dances of India has any basic movement that matches in anyway if you were to focus on learning folk dance, even it is for fun! It is not possible. As we(Ms. Joshi) remembers after-school practices 2-3 times a week for at-least an hour or two in corridors of school. That is 6-8 hours per week of commitment, at times non-stop through out the year. It wasn’t about perfection; it was about fundamentals because you were to show that in front of knowledgeable audiences and LIVE telecast by various TV channels. Those were our school years!

The dances during those times for these events were never Bollywood dances as Gujarat had a very well established line-up of events by various organizations/association and government departments that would conduct folk dance competitions and had attractive prizes as in cash prizes plus hotel discounts, household appliances and memberships to family clubs such as YMCA, Rajpath, and Rotary Clubs. We are talking of lakhs of INR rupees and not just a couple thousand rupees or a trophy with a picture! Judges were from various tourism departments to PHD holders or Masters degree holders in performing arts or were dance professors/teachers in college/universities. These events were frequently organized so any group that called for avid dancers was a grab & go opportunity for pretty much any student in college who loved to dance. At times, we planned our choreographies right after we got the win if it was 2nd or 3rd place to not miss on our bigger share of pocket money-as we called it! Creativity was an absolute requirement in choreography, techniques, and costumes along with other factors in such a tight competition without forsaking fundamental basics of dance form.

Obviously Bollywood did not stand a chance in this! Back then; Bollywood was referred as hindi movies with beautiful songs/lyrics and not really about dance due to dominance of above competitions in the field of performing arts. Nobody wanted their daughters to dance like Helen or Bobby as in Dimple Kapadia, or boys to dance like Mithun Chakravarti, Jitendra (no-way) but rather Hemamalini, Sridevi had set examples of Bollywood style of classical dances where Bharatnatyam had gained popularity and for budding artists, singing classes would go in full-thanks to our Kishor Da & Gulzar! Obviously, as we further embraced western cultures, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Sridevi, Meenakshi Sheshadri and such other dancers made their way to introducing modern dance moves successfully in-spite of being trained classical dancers and we can only imagine how much work they must have put in to achieve all of that in lime-light!

None from ALL of the above is a day of work or few classes’ work! It was more than that. You’ll know when you have gone through it just as we know it and so our students learn it, just as well. This is applicable to all recreational programs or private groups as well depending on program you join at Grace And Grooves.

While competition programs such as Grace And Grooves Elite Teams are for those who want to learn how to handle it with pressures and would like to make it as their way of life, like it is ours.

Our elite dancers are trained in least 2 dance forms (Not Bollywood) for at-least a year as a routine, or at professional & competitive level to bring them at our Elite level & ignite their creativity.

After all, dance is all about having fun and we like to keep it that way!

Copyright Reach Media for Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | 2012-2017. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Our Story – How, when…. Grace And Grooves Started. And Why us ?

Any kind of Indian Dance, be it Bharatnatyam, Folk Dances of India or Bollywood was NEVER mainstream career in India and neither in Ms. Hetal Joshi’s family.  Right after 1999 when Hetal Joshi Nagaraj(Founding member) stepped in freelance private group choreography for Folk Dances of India (competitions), there was no looking back indeed. But these competitions demand creativity, dramatic appearances & intricate choreography thereby following the rules of your chosen dance form. This means that it involves hours of training even before the actual choreography work starts. You can only imagine the work required for competitions if you were to do it as a mainstream career with your own mainstream studies. So, it was once or max twice a year exclusive work for competitions only.

So, was this the reason that company was established? Nope.

Way of life made a way of life when her 3.5-year old-daughter started dancing (not moving) to Krishna Bhajans at Hare Krishna Temple of Dallas, Texas (ISKON of Dallas, Texas-USA). The crowd turned heads when she “danced” and people asked if she took lessons and when she started dancing. Her daughter happened to pick these folk dance steps while Ms. Joshi was teaching a competition group. She then started teaching her daughter just as any (trained teacher or)mother would do with proper training. But, she felt that her daughter needed more structured program of folk dances, if there was anybody doing it as mainstream. After trying a dance school/academy (for 2-3 years w/group & private in Plano & Irving) that claimed to teach authentic, creative or curriculum based Folk Dances of India, Ms. Joshi just couldn’t find ANY other in entire Dallas Fort-worth areas. You-Tube videos as Guru, copied resumes of other trained dancers & even copied choreography (Bollywood mostly)-of unpublished works of other artists seemed like a practice to this so called folk-proclaimed gifted artist. All of this @ the cost of parents and students’ who are ignorant to Folk Dances of India and would consider Bollywood or even community folk as actual folk dances! What ? The artist would then get their way out of all the blames by just doing govt. services-shocking and above all – shameful! Indeed an exhilarating & fraud experience from a senior artist it was! Not as expected when we joined folk program! A simple fact—you can’t call yourself a doctor coz you know dosage & medicine names or you saw a surgery on you-tube and thus open a clinic @ home! Can you? We wished ;).  For an untrained eye will identify community dances as pure or modern folk, the so-called—“Hey, I know Folk Dance-pride” just crashes before the trained eyes that look for basic folk-requirements. More than 99% of videos on You-tube are entertainment videos in the name of folk & don’t reflect the right elements of folk! Content 6 History

So, with training, in-depth knowledge, and competition experiences in competition that we already had (Ms. Hetal Joshi), we opened our doors to teaching authentic, certified folk dances of India to outside students and public altogether. Grace and Grooves, name itself was a recommendation from the audience where prominent dance teachers participated and only Ms. Joshi’s advance dancers did not have name when asked. Grace and Grooves it was then in 2012 when the company was finally registered in Dallas-Fortworth (DFW) as LLC with the State of Texas, USA. Since then, Grace and Grooves is focused on providing structured programs for Folk Dances of India, Bharatnatyam and Bollywood. Certified programs are available if you want to make it a part of your life just as it is ours for generations! These programs receive continuous mentorship from lead dancers, junior & senior artists in India who do it as mainstream career either as gifted dancers (Bollywood) or as trained dancers (All genres). A consistent passion to compete in Pure and Modern Folk Dances of India to NOW a full-time certified business offering Bharatnatyam, Bollywood and Folk Dances of India. This is something like “the forgotten-once upon a time vision” in performing arts that actually came true! In 2016, Grace and Grooves was accredited by BBB(Better Business Bureau) so that you learn from the right people, just the way it is, in the right way & yet be just as creative enough, wherever required! After all, we want to introduce our kids-India’s beautiful culture, so that they don’t forget their roots and most importantly love to embrace it. The Right Folk Dances of India–Not the You-Tube videos!.

So Why Grace & Grooves ?

All of above….PLUS How you want your child’s talent to be judged. Based on govt. service that a dance teacher does, their partnered businesses, and copied unpublished works of other artists ?

OR 

You want your child’s dance talent to be judged based on their own ability/talent because of training & by right people ?

Choice is YOURS!

Make your $ worth of where you spend! Common sense, culture knowledge is taught FREE with all our trainings just like the way we learned from our institutes and yet look beyond possibilities, wherever/whenever required!

God’s grace, this definitely answers as to why your child should enroll with Grace And Grooves.

Copyright Reach Media for Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | 2012-2017. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

 

1999…. Entering Freelance Private Group Choreography. How we got into it…

1999 marked the year when our founding member Ms. Hetal Nagaraj first stepped into professional competition choreography as freelancer. It was the very first time when she taught students similar to her age, or they did not belong to her affiliated groups/school or college or let’s just say, were complete strangers. For a 20 year old, it was tough call when she was not a performer but a choreographer (Sigh). Through a friend’s friend, this all got started and today we are thankful to both of them.

Biggest challenge was that these students were avid dancers (who could move the way you want them to) but they had no idea of what they were doing. This is in-spite of being natives or participating in various community or school events as they claimed to. But, ready to work hard & first whole week just passed by getting their moves FIXED to folk requirements, which we did daily for 4 hours totaling to up-to 28 hours of training!

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After spending all that sponsored funds for the costumes and travel, you cannot afford to do mistakes. The whole week, with pure folk training & listening to audio/video of 30+ folk artist, finally we ended up in a song that was approved by competition board to use and was best fitting our decided folk & theme!

Then the real drill work of choreography had begun!

Folk Dance Competitions in India were/are technique focused (The ones we participated in) considering the important and major elements of folk dances to promote the authenticity and importance of Folk Dances. Other folk dances participated as well due to diverse cultural demographics in Gujarat. Judges either had dual degrees in performing arts, followed by PHDs or double masters in their areas. Ms. Joshi (we were) was worried as it was her very first freelance private group choreography with just some amateur free-move dancers who took training for short period of time! Getting them to NOT do mistake was biggest challenge.

If that was not enough, innovation & creativity was an essential element and to further make it look dramatic, we added the props that required balance.

Pressures…pressures & crazy pressures of around 16 dancers (14+2 setting) and it was all worth taking the pain! Cash prize of 1 Lakh Rupees & gift certificates to various malls & resorts. We did bag 20K INR (from award money as our % other than choreography fees), free tickets to cultural concerts, and gift cards to restaurants and hotels. It was a big amount back then in 1999 for a 20 year old to earn that money for just 3.5 months of work!

The satisfaction, Ms. Joshi (we) got was PRICELESS. Ms. Joshi also received additional perks from group as a thank you note for arranging costumes, jewelry & Props in last moment when board did not approve costumes and jewelry (due to folk costume guidelines) that group had initially decided. This was a kick-starter for us…Our best of all until now!

Copyright Reach Media for Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | 2012-2019. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Elite : Expensive Or Quality ?

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2014 Winners. Copyright Images Exclusive to Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations, 25$ Costume on the left of this picture & 100$ Costume(handmade-on the right).          Choreographer : Hetal Joshi Nagaraj. Picture Courtesy : The Grace Effects.

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.