Hi y’all!

I have the privilege to be performing in 2 works for SMU Meadows’ Hope Show this spring! I will be in Bill T. Jones’ legendary work, D-Man in the Water and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s (the 2014 Meadows Prize winner) Chalabati. The show also features the choreography of SMU Dance Division’s Choreographer-in-Residence, Adam Houghland. Rehearsals are well under way and we are almost 3 weeks away from the show. I am so excited and honored to be a part of two such important works and cannot wait to perform them.

The show runs from March 26-29 at 8:00PM and March 30 at 2:00PM in the Bob Hope Theatre of Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $13 for adults, $10 for seniors, $7 for students, faculty & staff. Click here to purchase tickets: http://mcs.smu.edu/calendar/event/spring-dance-concert-0.

Hope to see you all there!

~Deepa

ELEVATOR PITCH

Hey Y’all!

My elevator pitch assignment is now complete! Please check it out and as usual, comment and share! Your support means so much and I’m thankful to be dancing and studying at SMU. For more information about upcoming performances, please stay tuned. Thanks again for your time and encouragement!

~Deepa

Blog #5: My Skills

Hi y’all!

For today’s blog, I will be writing about my skill set. That might sound quite obvious, why, you’re a dancer and a student, Deepa. Well, true. But I also have a lot more to offer the arts community and world as a whole.

For starters, in addition to dancing and performing, I also love teaching. For the past 4 years, I have helped teach dance classes at Cornish Prep Dance and have taught ages 5-11. It’s something that I was not sure I would be good at but have really grown to enjoy. The gratification of students finally understanding a dance step or mastering a combination or just joyfully leaping around the room is so fulfilling. It will definitely be a part of my future which I’m very excited about. I personally have had much experience with the benefits of having a good teacher who truly believes in you and I am excited to pass that on to up and coming talent.

Another thing I’m very passionate about is arts advocacy. Ballet and dance in general is very expensive and very white. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. Growing up as a dancer of color has been difficult but liberating. I’ve had to face the setbacks that come with being Indian in a predominately white profession like not being able to buy tights the same color as my skin, not being cast in a role because I was too dark and having to paint each pair of pointe and flat shoes brown. However, each of these experiences has made me stand out and given me a unique perspective that I take full advantage of.  Now that I’ve found a place that will hopefully help put me on the track to a professional career, I want to do the same for others. I’m hoping to double major in Communications and Arts Management, with the goal that some day I’ll be able to provide the same opportunities to dancers of color that I have had.

Finally, I’m a go-getter. I firmly believe that 99% of mastering or achieving anything is mental. If you have a good mental attitude towards something, you are so much more likely to succeed. Of course, you can’t stop fate from stepping in once in a while, but it’s all about how you recover from those setbacks. I believe I’m a very optimistic person, sometimes too much so, but that has gotten me so far in life, whether it’s school, an audition or just a goal at the gym. I’m determined to see my dreams turned into my reality and am stopping at nothing until they’re fulfilled. I have ideas about where I want to end up but I’m flexible. You never know where the best place for you is until you find it. SMU was 10th on my list of the 10 colleges I applied to, yet here I am. Fate works in funny ways but we tend to end up exactly where we’re supposed to.

Thanks so much for reading and stay tuned for more news on my time at SMU Meadows!

~Deepa

What I’ve Been Up To!

Hi y’all!

Here’s a quick update of all I’ve been up to over the past couple of weeks:

Brown Bag 2013 – ‘Blacks and Blues’ by Kaylah Burton

penche copy on my knees copy sass copy

A Gathering 2013 – Choreography by A’keitha Carey

Winspear copy WINSPEAROMG copy

Monika Korra Foundation Benefit – Choreography by Caitlin Heflin

Cast MK copy

SMU Homecoming 2013 – ‘Blacks and Blues’ by Kaylah Burton

homecoming copy

~Deepa

Blog #4: My Motivations

Hi y’all!

This week I’ll be discussing my motivations, in both dance and life. I think the biggest motivation I have is seeing myself improve. Whether I’m improving the fluidity and flow of my port de bras in dance or getting an A on a test, I love the challenge of taking something to that next step. For school itself, knowing I put my best foot forward and worked hard for my grade is so rewarding. For dance, I love realizing something has become easier, looks better or I feel stronger while doing it. Dance is also one of those art forms where if you don’t love it and aren’t 100% passionate about it, then it’s not going to happen. Talent and natural physicality can only take one so far. There must be an inner drive that makes you work harder, stretch longer, sweat more. I like to think this has always been one of my strengths, I’m quite self-motivated. As I invest more time and money into dance at SMU, I’m truly starting to realize just how much I want to dance. There’s so much to do on campus and I find I keep prioritizing dance over other opportunities, and I’m more than excited about that fact. This first month at SMU has been so amazing, I’m so challenged, pushed and lucky to be here. Stay tuned for more information about my time here at SMU and thank you all for supporting me!

~Deepa

Brown Bag 2013!

I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to perform in this year’s Brown Bag show in October!! I will be dancing in Kaylah Burton’s jazz piece and cannot wait to share with y’all all that we’ve worked on over the past 3 weeks! This year’s Brown Bag runs from October 7th-11th in Meadows. More details on time will be coming soon. For those that don’t know, Brown Bag is all student choreography that’s presented in a professional, yet informal setting in the Bob Hope Lobby that’s free to SMU and the general public. It’s a great way to showcase student talent and is SUCH an exciting opportunity. I cannot wait and will keep y’all updated with more details as they come up! Thanks so much and stay tuned!
 
 
 

Blog #3: My Values

Howdy y’all!

In today’s blog post, I will be telling you about what I value, what my motivations are and what/who I find most inspiring. I also thought I’d spice things up and add some pictures to accompany the categories I’m describing today!

For starters, “What I Value”: family, dance, friends, community, love, trust, dedication, empathy, loyalty, courage, faith and humility. A broad and general list, but the values that first popped into my head. All of these values have come from my upbringing; from my parents, extended family, peers, school and dance environments. Each of these people and places have taught me the value of hard work and dedication to a goal. I’ve been given a lot, but I also am appreciative and aware of everything I’ve been blessed with. I have ended up at SMU due to good fortune, timing, hard work and talent. It’s taken a lot to get here, not just in the application but also in my journey as a a person. I believe that without my parents, dance and the education I received at Seattle Girls’ School and Holy Names Academy I would not have found SMU. [Pictures (L–>R): With friends after my Cornish graduation; HNA graduation; My parents and I before I left for SMU] 969839_10151590201714286_1033280997_n1013925_10200653576136130_1772616662_n-1996810_10151672561079286_110421861_n-1

“My Motivations”: I’m hoping this doesn’t sound too conceited, but myself. The saying goes, “You’re your own worst critic” and it’s entirely true. I’ve dedicated myself to my goal of becoming a professional dancer and I’m the only one that can make that happen. Of course, there’s an element of timing, who you know and good luck, but it all must stem from me. I’m a strong believer in karma and if you put good out, you’ll get good back. Not everyday is going to be a good day and I’m going to face ups and downs. However, each day is just another step on this journey of mine and what’s a journey without a goal? Nothing worth pursuing, in my opinion. However if I stay focused, seek out resources and build a strong foundation, there’s truly nothing to stop me from achieving my goals. A lot of it will come down to what I do with my time at SMU. Already, I’ve been given great resources and opportunities. I’m here on scholarship, I’m performing at the Winspear Opera House and I had a FABULOUS master class with Jessica Lang Dance yesterday. (For more information on JLD please visit: http://www.jessicalangdance.com) I can’t wait to see where my 4 years take me. [Pictures by Colleen Dishy/Makena Gadient (L–>R): Sugar Plum Fairy; a senior photo; an audition photo for college]428854_10151290313639286_1709464927_nPlie copyBest copy

And finally, “Who I Find Inspiring”: This list is long, so I’ll just mention a few highlights – All the first year dance majors at Meadows, Kara Wilkes, Misty Copeland, Linda Celeste Sims, Sierra Boggess, Chanel da Silva, Lauren Worley, Beyonce, Michelle Kwan and of course, my mom and dad. <3 [Pictures (L–>R): Kara Wilkes, Misty Copeland me with Chanel da Silva]meredith_photo-rj-muna__largetumblr_lpbwcy505k1qgwi7to1_400529630_10151526215109286_797446797_n

Anyway, that’s all for now! Stay tuned and thank you for your continued support!

~Deepa

Blog #2: My Work Habits

Howdy y’all!

My work habits…this might be the most challenging blog entry I’m required to write during my time in the class. Why? Well, mainly due to the fact that I have always struggled with  focusing on one activity and not getting distracted.

As a child, I was diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyper-active disorder) which made school, homework and even dance much harder for me than other kids my age. Although I have outgrown some of the habits that plagued me as a child, I still struggle with staying on task. This particularly affects how I study, how effectively I’m able to work and how focused I am.  For studying and homework that needs complete focus, I have to work in complete silence, otherwise my mind wanders and I can spend hours on irrelevant topics.  I also cannot have my phone anywhere near me or else Facebook, Instagram and texting pull me in all too easily. This takes a lot of self-discipline or self-efficacy, which is not always the easiest thing for me to do. I also have found I concentrate much better under a time crunch, so I set timed goals for myself in order to complete my work. For “busy work” or work that doesn’t require total quiet, I generally can listen to music. However, it has to be music that I don’t recognize or without lyrics so I don’t start singing along. I enjoy listening to movie soundtracks or international music. For instance, I currently have my “Bollywood movie” Pandora station playing! Also on the topic of homework and schoolwork, I have to have a clear area without any distractions and few people. I am a very kinetic learner, so I generally will make flashcards and march around my room repeating them out-loud to myself to study. I’m not sure how this will work in college, but I’ll figure it out!

Now for dance, it’s another story. I love the intensity of class and focusing on the minute details. I also love the expressive side of dance and just losing myself in the music, not necessarily worrying about technique. This allows me to enjoy all aspects of class and not focus too much on upsets or mess ups. As for practice times, I really do enjoy class at all times of the day. Here at SMU and generally at summer intensives, class is in the morning and early afternoon, whereas at my home studio I took class in the evening. As for creativity, I find my best work comes out in the evening. There’s something calming about the night and the dark that relieves the pressure of creation. I’m also a night owl, so my imagination is generally most active at night. When I was choreographing my solo for college auditions this past year, I would brainstorm at home at night; working on the bigger moves I needed to accent the music and figure out transitions and what I didn’t like the next morning in the studio. I also found that switching studios each time I practiced my solo was very refreshing as each studio brought a new life and vibe to the piece.

For both school and dance, breaks and rewards are very helpful. I like making lists and the feeling of accomplishment when crossing things off of a “to-do” list. Even when working out, I’ll set a time goal, a weight limit or a number of crunches I need to do before moving on. This helps me feel like I’m accomplishing small victories and overall makes whatever I’m doing feel much more productive.  That’s one of my favorite things about college. I’m truly fully in charge of my schedule and work habits. I have the freedom to set up my time as I like and have to deal with the consequences of not sticking to a schedule. For instance, I slept in this morning and didn’t do any homework and am now stuck with the responsibility of finishing it all this afternoon/evening. Oh well, live and learn!

Anyway, I think that’s all for now. Please stay tuned for future blogs and information about my performances at SMU and in the Dallas community! Information about the SMU Brown Bag show will be up shortly and information about our Winspear performance is under “Upcoming Events”. Thank you all for your support and for taking time to read this blog! Until next time!

~Deepa

Blog #1: My History

Howdy y’all!

My first assignment here on my website is to give you a brief history about myself. If you would like more information on my training please visit my “About the Artist” page.

I was born in Calcutta, India and adopted at the age of one. Growing up, I was always a very hyper and active child, so my parents tried putting me in various activities. From soccer to gymnastics, from theater to competitive Irish dance, I was kept busy. As the years progressed, I consistently chose dance over other sports. By 5th grade, I was dancing 7 days a week, focused on ballet, modern, Kathak and Irish step  dancing. However, by 7th grade, it was too much and I was chose to quit Irish dance and focus more and ballet, modern and Kathak. The switch to a much more intense and focused schedule at Cornish and Leela Kathak was good for me; I grew and progressed and was given many opportunities due to this change. From performing at the Moore Theater in 2008 in Dance This with Leela Kathak, to being awarded the Gwenn Barker Endowed Scholarship for the past three years, to attending the Juilliard School’s summer program in 2012 to performing in front of 1,500 people at a Trader Joe’s Silent Movie Monday, I have been blessed with some amazing opportunities. I give much credit to my mom, Colleen Dishy, Seattle Girls’ School, Summer Lee Rhatigan and Kathi McCormick for fostering my love of dance. All of these influences convinced me that I had the potential to go far and make a career of dance. This past year was very trying, with 10 different college auditions and applications and much traveling, but finding the perfect school was worth it. Auditions take a lot of courage and I am so glad I was able to put myself out there and find SMU. Having just completed my first week of college, I realize more than ever how lucky I am to attend SMU Meadows. Please stay tuned for more blog posts, performance updates and photos. Your support means so much to me and I’m so grateful to be here. Thanks again!

~Deepa