Celebrating Women’s History Month

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Celebrating Women’s History Month

Throughout history, dance has been shaped, expanded, and created in many different ways. Oftentimes we have seen women in this role of enhancing dance forms or making their own even though they lived in challenging eras. The impact of these women on dance is undeniable and is still felt to this day. There are an infinite amount of women who have contributed to the success of dance, here are a few who stand out!

Bottom Right: Rukmini Devi, born in 1904, is the founder of Kalakshetra. She was also a big activist for animal welfare. She brought Bharatanatyam into the view of the whole world. She also was the first woman in Indian history to be nominated a member of the Rajya Sabha. She’s truly an inspiration and shows us that women and dancers really can do it all!

Bottom Left: Sudha Chandran, born in 1966,  truly has one of the most inspirational stories. She had been learning dance from a young age, like many of you. But, at age 16 she got injured in an accident and had to amputate her right leg. Despite being told she may never be able to dance again, she kept working hard to regain her strength and her ability to dance for 2 years until she was finally able to dance again. Today, she has a very successful career as a dancer and an actress. She teaches us to face any challenge with strength and determination no matter how much is up against us!

Top Left: Leela Samson, born in 1951, is an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer, instructor, and writer. She is a recipient of the Padma Shri. She started learning classical dance and music at the age of 9 at Kalakshetra under its founder, Ms. Rukmini Devi. She then took her passion for the dance and spread it all around the world. She performed in many prestigious places including the Royal Opera House in London. She also authored an amazing biography about Ms. Rukmini Devi. Ms. Samson’s dedication to her art expanded her guru’s vision and is truly inspirational! 

Top Right: Saroj Khan, born in 1948, was a powerhouse in the world of Bollywood choreography. Despite being married off at the age of 13 to a 43-year-old man, she found a way out and ended up becoming one of the most influential choreographers in Hindi cinema. Ms.Khan started her career in an era where women choreographers were unheard of. She was faced with skepticism from everyone. Yet, her talent proved everyone wrong. Many iconic Bollywood steps were created by her. She choreographed dances for almost 40 years. Her most recent work was in the movie Kalank, only one year before her passing. Until her final moments, she was constantly learning and teaching. Ms. Saroj Khan changed dance in India forever and her contribution to dance will never be forgotten!

These women all show immense courage as they succeeded in a time where the dance industry was male-dominated. Not only did they succeed, but they also made the industry better through their work. These women had international impacts and planted the seeds for the next generation of women to come and improve on their work even more. They inspire us to work our hardest, and they show us that hard work pays off in the end!

 

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