Student of The Year….Updated Yearly!

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 : 

  • whatsapp-image-2021-08-31-at-11.03.24-am-3Aahana 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 :

SindhuStudentoftheYear2019-2020

Sindhu Jampala comes with package, 2019-2020! Congratulations!!!

  • 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.

Aanya's Pic.PNG

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.

IMG_58232017-2018 : 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
    Ashna Pethe Student of the Year

    Congratulations! Student of The Year 2016!!

    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.
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Congratulations! Student of the year 2015!!

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).
Student of the Year 2015

Congratulations!! Student of the year 2014

 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.
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Congratulations!! Student of the year 2013!!

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 Counted On Our Lists :

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 mail2hets@gmail.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.  

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.