Kathak Teacher: Sheila Oak

Read on about Sheila Oak and her Kathak journey in the DMV!

1. Tell us about yourself:

In addition to directing the Kathak program for Rhythmaya Dance and the Maryland Bollywood programs, Sheila received her MBA at University of Maryland and B.S. in from the School of Engineering at George Mason University. Sheila lived and worked in investment banking for 5 years in New York City and has  over 15 years of of professional experience in the securitization bond market industry.

Sheila enjoys spending time with her 2 sons and husband, family and friends.  Sheila attributes her curiosity in different cultures and dance forms to having traveled to over 30 countries and looks forward to continuing to do so!

2. When did you start dancing and training in Kathak?

I started training in 1991 for Lunknow gharana of Kathak

3.Who is your Guru and since when?

Asha Vatikuti (founder of IDEA – Indian Dance Educators of America) since 1991.

4. Why do you love dancing so much? Was it always the case? 

I have always had a passion for dance and love how it gives you the opportunity to portray emotion and send messages. Music is a powerful tool and dance enhances this.

5. How have you evolved as a dancer?

I have expanded my skills to other global dance forms. We are a global society and dance is great way to expose our cultures and historical roots.  I have learned many other dance forms and have been able to exchange ideas and network with many other teachers, dancers and educators through dance.  As a dance teacher I have had the opportunity of going all over the world to expand other dancers’ knowledge and expose Indian dance to others.   

6. Notable performances or accomplishments as a dancer

Sheila Oak Maggin was the first written Kathak dancer to complete her Raangmanch Pervesham on the East Coast along with 2 other colleagues. In addition to receiving her minor in Dance at George Mason University

7. How do you see yourself in 10 years time with respect to dance?

Sheila would like to continue to learn new dance forms and educate and inspire others through dance. 

8. What advice would you give aspiring dance students?

Don’t stop your passion and finish what you started if your heart is in it.  Don’t limit yourself to any styles and continue to learn and evolve.

You may follow Sheila on her Instagram and her website: Rhythamaya .

Author: tandavam