All About the Guru and Disciple
Maansi Desai has been an ardent student of the Indian classical dance form - Bharatanatyam - for almost ten years under the guidance of Ms. Neha Parikh. In addition to learning the art of Bharatanatyam, Maansi enjoys Bollywood dancing as she has won several competitions and performed locally in New England with her group at numerous events. She loves Garba dancing also, a traditional and graceful Gujarati folk dance done during Navratri, which usually falls in September or October every year. Dance has remained a central feature of Maansi’s young life through her growing up years and she hopes to continue dancing and performing even after her Arangetram recital.
Currently, Maansi attends Bedford High School and has just begun grade 11. Maansi is the VP of Operations for her school’s DECA (Competitive Business) Club and won a gold medal at the International Conference for DECA this past year. She is also actively involved in community service by volunteering at soup kitchens as a part of the IANH Youth Group and being involved in her school’s Habitat for Humanity club. Additionally, Maansi is a part of Spanish Honor Society and is starting her own club in her school. She also attended Shishu Bharati for 8 years to learn about the history and culture of India as well as learn how to read, write, and speak Gujarati. Maansi is on track to complete the IB Diploma Program through her school as well.
Some of Maansi’s other hobbies include traveling, listening to music, watching Bollywood movies, and spending time with her family. Learning Indian Dance has helped Maansi get more connected with her Indian Culture and has taught her very important life skills of discipline, patience, and determination. This unique and soulful journey through dance has helped shape her personality and will continue to endorse her strength in character and career building for any future endeavour she desires to embark on.
Neha Parikh is a well-acclaimed dancer in the New England area known for her choreographic skills. Neha is the founder and artistic director of “Chidambaram Nritya kala Academy”. She founded this school at the beginning of 2005 and since then it has been reputed for maintaining the good standard of dance and the rich tradition of Bharatanatyam. She inspires all her students to strive for perfection with her authentic style of teaching and uncompromising discipline, that helps her students reach the highest standards in dance.
Neha was exposed to Bharatanatyam at a very tender age. Her deep love for the art form persuaded her to take up dance as her profession and she acquired a Master’s in Fine Arts in Indian Classical Dance from the Nalanda Institute (Mumbai), founded by Padma Bhusan Dr Smt Kanak Rele. Neha had the opportunity to learn under various eminent Gurus -who were the professors at Nalanda Nritya kala Mahavidyalaya, such as Smt Tangamani Nagarajan, Smt Malati Agniswararan, Shri Vaibhav Arekar and Smt Ambika Vishwanathan to name a few. Back in India, she had several multifaceted experiences in higher academics, stage performances, and classroom instruction with wider theoretical dimensions to the traditional practical training & choreography. Neha was a dance teacher for senior students at the Nalanda Dance Research Center for 9 years. Apart from teaching at Nalanda, she had her own school where she conducted dance workshops, and had exams every year for students. She has extensively performed along with the Nalanda troupe and has played major roles in the most prestigious productions of Nalanda, such as Shilappadikaram, Santavani, Kanchanmrig, and Swarpnavasavadattam. Along with her Guru Shri Vaibhav Arekar, she was also the part of a Hindi theatre production called Shyam Sakhi.
Here in the USA, Neha is listed as a traditional artist in the New Hampshire State Arts Council. She has been the part of various fund raisers by non-profit organizations such as Vision aid in 2012, Kanchi Kamakoti Seva Foundation, MITHAS, Hindu Temple of New Hampshire and Multiple Sclerosis Society. Neha and her students have performed at locations in NH, MA, CA, and TX and received rave reviews. She also performed with Shri Vaibhav Arekar in the production ‘Nritya Chitra’ at Chinnmaya Maruti center back in 2012. Apart from Bharatanatyam, she also teaches Mohiniattam, another beautiful dance style from Kerala. Although being trained in classical dance, she has a natural flair for Folk dances and Bollywood dances. Her students love dancing under her banner and have grown up to be graceful dancers both in Classical and Bollywood dances. She has also received great appreciation from locals and organizations for her creativity in Bollywood choreographies and her students have won numerous awards for both classical and Bollywood dances at various dance competitions locally. As a dedicated dancer, Neha was awarded the “Excellence Award” from IANH and was also presented the “Spotlight on Excellence Award” from Lokvani e-magazine.