About Usiloquy

Mission

Usiloquy Dance Designs creates traditional and cross-cultural productions of Indian classical dance Bharatanatyam and conducts educational programs.

History

Usiloquy uses the ancient vocabulary of Bharatanatyam to create works of cross cultural content. It pushes traditional Bharatanatyam with universal influences in music, narration and costumes.

Usiloquy Dance Designs is the only contemporary Bharatanatyam organization of its kind in the region. It was founded in 2008 by Artistic Director Shaily Dadiala to serve the Greater Philadelphia area’s need for an Indian Classical dance platform. Usiloquy builds bridges between diverse audience communities and the age old dance form that originated in the temples of Southern India.

A typical day of holistic learning and rehearsing for Usiloquy’s dancers consists of stretching, vigorous practice, refinement of technique and theoretical principles.

Bharatanatyam dance form

Bharatanatyam is a highly structured, complex dance style that traces its roots to Southern India thousands of years back in time. It is a dynamic, percussive dance form characterized by striking the sole, heel and ball of the foot in countless permutations and combinations with hand gestures-‘Mudras’ and multidimensional arrangements of arms and legs forming at once statuesque and fluid patterns. Emphatic facial expressions and body language reflecting the theme add further layers making it a myriad collage of text, poetry and movement. A typical Bharatanatyam performance is accompanied by Classical South Indian Carnatic music, and the dancer uses elaborate silk costumes fashioned out of saris and jewelry as embellishments.

Artistic Director

Shaily Dadiala (Prasad) was born in 1978 in Bardoli, India. At the age of 9, she felt called to study Indian classical dance Bharatanatyam and to become a dancer.

Ms. Dadiala founded Usiloquy Dance Designs in 2008; she is the Artistic Director, choreographer and Principal Dancer. She completed her B.A. in Dance specializing in Bharatanatyam from the Bruhad Gujarat Sangeet Samiti, India (1988-1994) and 2 year training in Hindustani Classical Music from 1987 to 1989. Ms. Dadiala choreographed and performed at several dance competitions and festivals in India between 1990 and 1996.

After moving to the USA in 2000, Ms. Dadiala taught in Queens, NY for a year before commencing Bharatanatyam classes in Levittown, PA in collaboration with the township recreation department in 2005. These classes with 3 levels of learning are currently taught in center city Philadelphia. Apart from the ongoing classes, Ms. Dadiala’s teaching assignments have included workshops and Master classes at the Thomas Jefferson University and Temple University in Philadelphia and Desales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. In the fall of 2009, Ms. Dadiala was invited to design the curriculum and teach at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Ms. Dadiala’s choreography and performing work has included three evening length works of Bharatanatyam for Usiloquy. Primary among special commissions have been the Philadelphia Geographical Society Festival of India, the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts and the Experience Asia festival at the College of New Jersey. The original works have been performed at The Queens Museum Theater in New York, The Kimmel Center for the performing Arts and the Painted Bride Arts Center in Philadelphia. Her work has been supported by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Samuel S.Fels Fund and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She is also a recent recipient of the Leeway Foundation’s Art and Change Grant.

Board of Directors

Shaily Dadiala (Prasad), President & Artistic Director
Barb J. Baur, Treasurer

Barb serves as the Treasurer on Usiloquy’s board. She oversees all activities related to budgeting and financial planning. She is a Philadelphia based artist and educator who makes and designs things, primarily art jewelry as well as an adjunct professor at Temple University Tyler School of Art, runs the Tacony LAB Community Arts Center and has her own business, Fair Winds Jewelry. Barb is a sailor and has a continuing fascination with wind, water, waves and the forms of sailing vessels. When she is not running a business or making jewelry, Barbara is an artist, musician, published author, home-schooling mother, and spent six year as in-home caregiver for one of her best friends. Barbara has several years’ experience as a board member and committee chair with her previous church in Florida and underwent a Leadership Training by the Florida District UUA.

Dr. Maureen Gibney

Dr. Gibney is a teaching professor in the Drexel University Department of Psychology, where among her other mentoring responsibilities she is faculty advisor for Drexel Dandiya, a competitive team focused on bringing Gujarati dance to a wider audience. In addition to her teaching, she presents trainings for professionals and staff working in social service and health settings in mental health and aging, and in ethical issues arising in elder care. She continues to fall in love with Indian dance and other forms of artistic expression.

Dancers / Nartakis

Ankita Reddy

Ankita has been dancing Bharatanatyam for 18 years, training primarily at the Natyabhoomi School of Dance in DC. She completed her Rangapravesham in 2015 and continued to dance, forming the Trishulam Group in Boston. Ankita has danced in several venues including the Kennedy Center, National Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Boston Conservatory. She also enjoys exploring other dance forms, including Bhangra, ballet, and salsa. As she continues Bharatanatyam she hopes to use movement as a lens to critically reflect upon the dance form and the diaspora experience.

Antima Chakraborty

Antima completed her Arangetram in 2003 in Connecticut, through Smt. Padmini Ramachandran’s school at the Middletown Hindu Temple. After that, she did advanced courses with Smt. Narthaki Nataraj. In college, Antima was one of the lead dancers for her school’s classical dance team: Samhati Dance. While working in Boston, Antima learned from Smt. Nina Gulati where she was exposed to Kuchipudi and Odissi and performed with Triveni Dance. Once she moved down to the Tri-state area, she was part of NrityaCreations for several years as a Bharatnatyam and semi-classical dancer. She’s performed in Naya Andaz, at the NJ Performing Arts Center, Atlantic City Convention Center, Sixers halftime show, Madison Square Garden, and even appeared in a Malaysian music video. Presently, Antima teaches an advanced Bollywood choreography class through Philly Dance Fitness and continues to perform in Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. During the day, Antima works as an attorney in Philadelphia and was recently named in the National Top 40 Under 40 Trial Attorneys.

Meghna Gummadi

Meghna began her dance journey in 2003 learning Kuchipudi from Shri Raja Reddy and Smt. Radha Reddy at the Natya Tarangini Dance Institute in New Delhi. After that she continued her studies with Smt. Manju Bhargavi in Bangalore until 2010 and then learned Bharatanatyam for a couple of years from Smt. Usha Prabhakar. She performed with her dance schools and at events organized by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Air Force in India. She returned to learning and performing with Usiloquy in 2021 while pursuing her doctoral studies in Philadelphia.

Aney Abraham
Aney Abraham

During her early education in South India, Aney received training in Mohiniyattam, one of Kerala’s traditional dance forms. She performed folk style dances, including Thiruvathira, Oppana, and Kolkadi in school kalolsavams. After high school, she moved to United States where she studied modern dance at Temple University and has performed semi classical Indian dances in cultural festivals. A passion for dance has followed Aney all throughout her life. Though Mohiniyattam is still close to her heart, she returned to dance in 2013 learning and performing Bharatanatyam with Usiloquy.

Sruthi Murlidaran
Sruthi Murlidaran

After 12 years of training under Guru Adayar K. Laksman and Smt. Roja Kanan, Sruthi completed her Arangetram in Chennai. Aside from performances at the Shanmugananda Hall in Mumbai amongst others, being a part of a 1,000 dancer ensemble celebrating 1,000 years of the Tanjore Brihadeeshwar Temple stays one of her proudest performance memories.

Malathi Pentapalli

Malathi has been learning Bharatanatyam in three bani (Kalakshetra, Tanjore, Vazuvoor) since 2005 from different teachers. She is a passionate teacher and student and continues to learn and perform other Indian dance styles like Bollywood, Tollywood and semi-classical fusion. She has performed competitively and mentors children in summer dance camps. She stays deeply involved in community activities in New Jersey.

Stay in Touch with Usiloquy

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Usiloquy’s work is made possible by generous support from the Samuel S. Fels Fund, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund,
The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Leadership support for the New Stages for Dance Initiative is provided by the MetLife Foundation. New Stages for Dance is a program of Dance/USA Philadelphia.

Usiloquy Dance Designs is a not for profit, charitable organization under section 501©(3) of the Federal tax code.

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Usiloquy Dance Designs
Philadelphia, PA 19125

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