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 ūüôā 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.

Recital 2017: JALSO (Celebrations in Life) Nritya(Dance) Ki Masti (Fun). April 9.

Recital 2017: JALSO (Celebrations, Absolute Fun-in Life)-Nritya(Dance) Ki Masti (Fun). Venue: MCL Grand Theater, Lewisville-Texas. April 9, 2017. Why Jalso, Nritya Ki Masti ? Our Story.

Grace And Grooves Annual Events Recital 2017


April 9, 2017 Jalso : Nritya Ki Masti Initial Flyer with Ticket Information.

¬†The idea of the name JALSO¬†=¬†famous Gujarati Festival that’s happening in Mumbai(India) for a few years now. It got our attention in 2016. Our performances had¬†festivals, marriage celebrations, life-events¬†as per¬†Indian life(Country-India) especially for those who have been settled here (-in Dallas Fortworth Areas aka NRIs-Non Resident Indians) for generations now.

<<<<<<<< Our Initial Flyer w/Ticket Information<<<<<<<

Recital 2016 – Adi-Shakti¬†was a fundraiser for a targeted¬†amount to CRY-America Inc¬†and thus had a line of sponsors, good advertisements, tickets, donations, fashion show, sponsored costumes for our guest artists from premium clothing boutique as well as our own costume line.¬†However, our initial plan for Recital-2017 was to do a full ticketed event of Bharatnatyam and Indian Folk Dance showcase name “Nrutya Ni Masti”. We have also taken re-publishing rights from Bharatnatyam dance schools from east-west¬†coasts in United States. Using only Nritta or Natya was not an option and¬†so Nritya/Nruthya/Nrutya it was! (however, you want to spell-check the name.)

Jalso2017 JPEG.jpg

But as the year 2016 ended, we faced unpredicted challenges and eventually, Bollywood was added to this event. This is in spite of the fact that our Bollywood students had a full-length of the playlist to go on stage as a separate ticketed event (Jalso as we had planned it initially) with the quality you would expect to pay for! Same was w/Indian Folk and Bharatnatyam. Either way, Lemonade was tasty.

On a good note, we completed NAVARASA in one program itself and that too in different categories breaking our own record of 2016.<<<<<<>>>>

IMG_1994

Recital 2017, Jalso-Nritya Ki Masti

 

 

 

 

We¬†had few sponsors on the list such as¬†Sheetal’s Mehendi Arts, Jazz It Up Inc, and The Grace Effect¬†to go with our Mehdi ceremony theme dances.¬†Sheetal’s Mehendi Arts¬†specializes in Mehendi/Henna services for all occasions such as Mehdi Nights, Bridal Mehendi/Henna, BabyShowers, Marriage Functions/Parties, or just Henna Tatoo for entertainment purposes.¬†

11

Nruthya Ki Masti, Recital 2017, Jalso Indian Folk Dances, Bharatnatyam, Bollywood

Jazz It Up Inc. is our own costume & dance prop services for our Competition Dancers-Elite and Pre-Competition Teams. At times, we rent our costumes to outside students depending on availability. Custom Stitched Costumes usually take a month of time if you want to order!Coming back to our Recital 2017 Event, dances were featured in Bharatnatyam, Bollywood, and Indian Folk Dances with students trained in their respective categories from ages 5 to 40.

IMG_1988

BharatnatyamCollage1

Allaripu and Jastiswaram Bharatnatyam Recital 2017, Jalso Nritya Ki Masti. Pictures provided by Parents or our audiences

IMG_2086

Recital 2017, Jalso-Nritya Ki Masti. Celebrations in Life

Our Choreographer’s Retreat had Hetal Nagaraj, Mansi Chauhan and Deepthi Chandrasekaran showcasing dance forms and styles.Our intern-faculty Shruti was to perform as well but happen to missed it! We missed Buvaneshwari Murugan at the event when her very first male student performed a full-length of Jatiswaram in Bharatnatyam of minutes 5:26 under the guidance/assistance of Hetal Nagaraj at the age of 10.¬†

Our students from Irving-Texas, Plano/121-Texas, Lewisville-Texas, Frisco-Texas performed in their respective categories for Nritya Ki Masti-Jalso, Recital 2017. Students were rewarded with participation medals 2017 and our student of the year Ashna Pethe was acknowledged for her achievements w/trophy and the gift voucher. All our choreographers were acknowledged for their efforts and students were introduced with their individual achievements.

Recreation Students(Southlake), Summer Workshop Students(Grapevine), Private Class Students (Carrollton, Dallas, Irving, and Frisco) Community Folk-Workshop Students(Frisco East, West, Lewisville) or Our Couples Retreat Students(Irving, Dallas, Plano) DID NOT participate in the recital. We missed their showcases, big time!

Grace And Grooves, Recital 2017-Nritya Ki Masti had photography services from Bombay Photography, and Videos were taken by The Grace Effect Рour own company photography/videography services.The Grace Effect is exclusive to the students, participants, and choreographers of Grace And Grooves ONLY. The Grace Effect is under the supervision of Mrs. Hetal Nagaraj or Mr. Nagaraj Setty and they have never worked for anybody in past when it comes to any photography or videography services for any volunteer or paid services or even on a friendly note. 

Needless to say, Recital 2018 name has been decided already ūüėČ

Below are some more picture collages that we received from our parents and clips screen-shots from our recital dance videos taken by The Grace Effects. 

bharatnatyamcollage2

Allaripu, Jatiswaram, Varnam-Level Jalso-Nritya Ki Masti Recital 2017, Choreographer’s Retreat

IMG_2003

Congratulations to Deepthi on her very first adult batch/class for Recital 2017, Nritya Ki Masti for Grace And Grooves.

IMG_2011

Congratulations Deepthi on her very first adult batch/class for Recital 2017, Nritya Ki Masti for 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.

Musical Dance Drama-2017….

Inspiration was an Indian-Movie. You read it right!

Dil To Pagal Hai(1997) Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri-Dixit Nene, and Karishma Kapoor under the direction of Yash Chopra. Though not much into movies, Mrs. Hetal Nagaraj was very selective back then about feeding her eyes when it comes to the magic of Indian Cinema(Bollywood). To sit that long for a movie was a non-sense deal to her back then. But a musical drama as part of the movie itself had her all excited and she watched it finally in 2001 and it never left her mind. She thought maybe she could do likewise in Indian Folk Dances, Bharatnatyam..some day if she would get to do it!

pic8

Testing Waters of Musical Drama in Recital 2017 with Role Play of Guest Artist with Bollywood Beginners. May 2017. Picture Courtesy: Phani Pydimaari, Picture Captions and Edits : The Grace Effects.

The whole idea of musicals in Indian Folk Dances and Bharatnatyam(or any classical dances of India) existed back then too. These had very matured audiences and trained performers back then. There were several musical ballets happening in the city(Ahmedabad, India) with the elements of Nritya and intricate elements of Natya combined very beautifully! Mrs.Hetal Nagaraj had watched several notable works from some of the most well-known theater productions to recorded-live musicals by amateur artists/college students for fund-raising activities on women-upbringing, child-marriages, religion riots in Ahmedabad city areas and so on!

But all these years, as if it took its own time to get into the plan of action. 2017, she came back home with a big YAHOO after a chaotic day of a culture community event organized by Indian Association of North Texas, Dallas-Texas(USA). She finally did it in a public community event(India-Day 2017) in Dallas-Texas(U.S.A) under 5 minutes with props!

IMG_1467 (1).PNG

                                                                                                                                        Indian Folk Dance Category and Fusion Category Р2017 Public Performance. Picture Courtesy-The Grace Effects(Added here-Feb 5, 2017)

Not 1, but 2 of those musicals in Indian Folk Dances and Bollywood-Fusion Dances Categories. She took up this challenge when the songs that were ready to go on stage had her scratch the head! And she asked, why not? We had done a mini-version of it in Recital 2016 to test the waters. And so January 21, 2017 was a big day! It was challenging to get all the props all the way to the stage. Thanks to our choreographers Mansi Chauhan and Deepthi Chandrasekaran who made themselves available last moment and it worked out just well. The only challenge was that it was a public event and it was not in their control unlike Recital 2016! However, Choreography and set-up was already planned as most of the students knew their part well enough as it was work of our Recital 2016 : Dance of Gods featuring Adi-Shakti in their own categories. But the Yahoo part was that they managed to cover all the Navarasa (The 9 Moods) as per Natya-Shastra in both the category dances without breaking the rules of any category and yet keeping it creative enough for community fun-performances. Not about perfection but basic requirements were met.

We were able to keep intact the dance categories that our students were trained in(their joined programs). As per our research, it has never happened in Dallas-Fortworth Areas(until 2017 January) and that makes us very first people to do it(Yes!). We have seen dance lessons been taught in the name of Folk, Bharatnatyam and yet ended up showcasing just plain Bollywood Stuff.

Just how she had to believe one more time in all the training that she did in past and all that she had taught to her students. It went well and smoother than she had expected for what was in her control.¬†Fundamentals never run out of fashion and formulas don’t change!¬†It will teach you not only common sense but there is a reason why rules exist in pretty much in any performing arts. If you follow fundamental elements of Indian performing arts(Natya Shashtra in this case) then you will cover pretty much everything with little efforts. Creativity is just an added element to it.¬†

Dil To Pagal Hai-True, we mean it.¬†Now, you call that a Phrase, Bollywood Movie Name, Indian Folk Dance or Classical Bharatnatyam-none of our business. Don’t come after us for this!

Exclusive Copyrights by Reach Media for Hetal Joshi | Grace & Grooves | Grace Creations | Grace And Grooves 2012-2017.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission. 

http://www.graceandgrooves.com        Phone : 972 979 2559                  info@graceandgrooves.com