AFTA Teaching Artist (TA) Anthony Hyatt invited guests from India to experience two AFTA workshops. One of the guests, Neelima Pandit, is a traditional Kathak dancer.
In an interactive workshop with Quicksilver at Iona Senior Services, Neelima demonstrated Bharatnatyam dance. The Quicksilver dancers borrowed from her movements and gestures in their own improvised dance. Later that week Neelima danced for participants at the Asian and Pacific Islander Senior Center in Washington, D.C. She danced the story of Ganesh and performed the kuma, a dance in circles.
The Silver Singers, a dance and music performance group founded by Hyatt at the center, embraced Neelima and were eager to join her in dance. With no shared language, the dancers passed movement back and forth in a beautiful conversation accompanied by Anthony’s live music. Afterward Neelima shared that she was impressed by the AFTA teaching artists she observed, noting that few artists are so aware of and responsive to their audience members.
Neelima’s guru in India, Mrs. Sharadini Gole, is still performing and teaching dance at 85 years old.