Sishya: Kuchipudi Dancer Srimanya Panidepu {Spotlight}

Srimanya is a student of Kuchipudi and a dancer at Kalamandapam, Fairfax, VA. She is a freshman at Centreville High School, VA. She learns from Guru Mrinalini Sadananda and guru Kavitha Cheedalla.



1, How old are you and what do you do? (grade/school/college)

I’m 14 years old and I attend Centreville High School as a freshmen.

2. When did you start dancing and who are your gurus?

I started and currently do Kuchipudi at Kalamandapam with Guru Smt. Mrinalini Sadananda and Smt. Guru Kavitha Cheedalla, and have been doing dance since Kindergarten.

3. How do you prep for a dance performance?

When I’m learning a dance, I practice the steps thoroughly and also try to understand the lyrics of what the song is describing, so that I’m able to convey my expressions and feelings throughout the dance. Whenever performing, it’s important for me to just enjoy the dance and share that to the audience.

4. What’s your favorite dance item or music piece you listen to when you want to connect to dance?

I really enjoy dances with a lot of emotion and feelings, such as Jaavali’s. My all time favorite song to dance to is Krishna Shabdam, as it is a song about the story of Krishna and his feats, which takes you through a plot of a variety of expressions of Krishna’s mischievousness and his kindness.

5. How would you describe an amazing dancer and do you have any inspiring role models?

To me, an amazing dancer is someone who is dedicated and passionate about the cultural dance they pursue. They are someone who is able to connect and portray the fine art that they are practicing, to an audience. As for me, my inspiration for dance are my gurus and the amount of hard work they put towards Kuchipudi.

6. How has dancing helped you in other areas? School, friendships and other?

Dance has let me excel both emotionally and physically around my community and also has let me embrace my culture as an Indian American. At school, it’s a way for me to relieve my stress and let me be able to have fun and enjoy school days. Moreover, dance has let me benefit so many personal qualities

7. In your eyes, what’s your biggest achievement or moment of satisfaction (in dance)?

For me, I think being able to perform in the Pentagon and World Bank have been my biggest achievements. I think performing these culturally rich dances in such places, is so important for us in America, because we need to preserve the origins of India in our generation. Attending events like Trilochana, shows the diverse interest in dance and let’s us keep these art forms alive.

8. It’s the year 2024 – where do you see yourself in the dance field? 

In 2024, I want to be able to continue dancing Kuchipudi and join other types of Indian classical dances in college. I hope that one day, I could also be able to teach dance to other people and let them experience the greatness in dance the way I did!


Liked reading? Then check out the other senior and more accomplished dancers and their gurus of the DMV area here 


Author: tandavam