Columbus Makes Art Presents: Classical Indian Dancer Sukanya Chand at the OhioDance Festival
Sukanya Chand will perform in the evening concert and teach a master class at the 2018 OhioDance Festival, held April 27-29. Chand is a dance educator, choreographer and performer of classical Indian dance. She has a dance company, Natya Nirvana, and is an instructor at MUCAI Academy. Jane met with her to learn more about her artform.
Jane: How long have you lived in Columbus?
Sukanya: I have lived in Columbus since 2001. My husband and I both fell in love with the city; we could not think of any other place to be. Columbus caters to our artistic needs and is a safe place to bring up our family.
Jane: Where did you live before Columbus?
Sukanya: I lived in Chennai, India before moving to Columbus. Chennai is one of the largest cities in India on the Coromandel Coast of the Indian subcontinent. It is a cultural center for South Indian music and dance.
Jane: You teach and perform traditional Indian dance. Can you tell us something about these Indian dance forms?
Sukanya: Dance forms in India are regional — each region being distinct in their language(s), food, culture and traditions. India has a total of eight classical dance forms molded and shaped through millennia.
I teach Bharatanatyam and Odissi. Bharatnatyam is a linear South Indian classical dance form. The dancer dances to the tala (rhythmic beats) set to raga (melody), to showcase the abinaya (expression). The movement generally tells a story or dances to a poem through hand gestures and footwork, or may showcase the technical aspect to complement the beats. Odissi, on the other hand, is a non-linear dance form, from the eastern part of India. The dance is known to captivate the audience with its curvy dance movements that resembles the sculptures from the temples.
Jane: Who did you study with? And at what age did you begin?
Sukanya: I studied under various gurus, and began studying dance at the age of five. I received a solid foundation in Bharatanatyam from Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant and advanced concepts from Guru Suryakala of The Temple of Fine Arts, Chennai (TFA).
Jane: What’s the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Sukanya: Columbus has an active Indian dance scene. I was fortunate to have been invited by the Pizzuti Collection in collaboration with Dhvani India Performing Arts Society of Central Ohio to share a folk dance workshop for Deepavali celebration. It was a delight to see the children inquisitive to learn about Deepavali, and eager to stomp their feet to make dance moves.
Jane: What other festivals and collaborations have you been involved with?
Sukanya: I am currently preparing for a festival in Chennai, India this year conducted by Temple of Fine Arts. I will be collaborating with artists from Malaysia, Singapore and Australia in a three-day event.
Jane: What are your favorite places in Columbus?
Sukanya: Our family and I love the Columbus food atmosphere, we love exploring different kinds of food. Our favorite things to do would be to have coffee or Sunday lunch in North Market. We look forward to the Food Truck Festival, Jazz and Ribs Festival… and, yes, we can’t wait for the Short North Food Hall to be opened.
OhioDance invites you to attend and/or volunteer at the 2018 OhioDance Festival & Conference, April 27-29. It is co-hosted and held at The Ohio State University Department of Dance at Sullivant Hall, 1813 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43210. Please call or email us for discounted tickets at [email protected] or 614-224-2913, or visit ohiodance.org and mention Columbus Underground.
Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art and sharing information about exhibitions, performances, concerts and more at ColumbusMakesArt.com. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.