Usiloquy Dance Designs

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

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.

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.

Asavari Scarff
Asavari Scarff

Asavari studied Bharatanatyam for 12 years at the Bharathakalai School of Dance in Massachusetts, graduating with an Arangetram in 2016. She also has experience performing in dance styles such as ballet, Jazz, Bhangra, and Kuthu. She was part of the college competitive fusion dance team 'Drexel Jhalak' from 2017 to 2020 in Philadelphia.

Anusha Srikanthan
Anusha Srikanthan

Anusha learned Bharatanatyam as a child in the Thanjavur style for 9 years in Chennai. During her undergraduate years at NIT Trichy, she performed as a classical dancer in the Eastern dance troupe for three and a half years. By her senior year in 2018, she was leading the Indian classical and Western dance troupe, including administrative work. Incorporating folk and classical styles, she performed as a soloist and part of the ensemble in Chennai and Bangalore at several intercollegiate competitions. She has begun performing with Usiloquy since August 2022 while pursuing her doctorate at UPenn.

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.

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.

Siwaraya Rochanahusdin

Siwaraya Rochanahusdin is a writer and poet. She serves as an advisor to Media Educators Teaching Artists (META), a boutique agency readying actors for theatrical & commercial representation in Hollywood. Siwaraya has consulted for NCIS: New Orleans and the off-Broadway world premiere of Brothers Paranormal. She is a Voices of Our Nations Artists (VONA) alum. She was awarded the Community Honor and the Asian Pacific American Top Unsung Hero by Asian Law Caucus and Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, respectively, for defending the first amendment rights of immigrant seniors (2010). She was chosen as a delegate representing Thai Americans to Thailand meeting with the Vice Prime Minister and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (2020-2011). Siwaraya is a former Thai classical dancer and musician. She is interested in augmented/virtual reality narratives and animation.

Dr. Varsha Patel

Dr. Varsha Patel was born and raised in Philadelphia, where she became involved with Usiloquy Dance, attending their performances and taking lessons during her final year of medical school. She has always been passionate about dance, especially Bharatanatyam, and its significance in Indian culture. She hopes to instill a similar passion in her three daughters. She has been practicing medicine since 2010, and she currently is a Palliative Care physician. She enjoys reading and writing and writes on her blog www.penpaperstorm.com about a wide variety of topics including social justice, medicine, women's issues, books, recipes, original poetry, and more. She loves traveling and cooking and is starting to delve into baking! She lives and works in the Atlanta, GA area with her husband and family.

Pavithra Jaisankar

Pavithra (Pavi) Jaisankar is a nurse practitioner, violinist, and composer living in New York City. Her well-informed worldview can partly be attributed to having lived in Cambodia and Thailand prior to immigrating to the United States in 2000. She has worked in healthcare for about a decade thus far, serving in roles ranging from hospital chaplain to psychiatric nurse to nurse practitioner. She is currently a family nurse practitioner working on an inpatient psychiatric unit in Manhattan. Outside of work, she pours herself into the arts. She grew up playing violin, primarily Western classical repertoire, but in recent years, and with the teaching and guidance of two Carnatic/jazz violinists in NYC has been learning new styles of violin. She has been interested in Bharatanatyam for some time and has studied as an adult under Shaily Dadiala where she performed with Usiloquy in 2013-2014.

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Usiloquy’s work is made possible by generous support from

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

Leadership support for the New Stages for Dance Initiative is provided by

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Usiloquy Dance Designs
Philadelphia, PA 19125

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