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Rhythms of India: A Beginner's Workshop in Bharatanatyam Dance with Shalaka Kulkarn

May 26

Thank you for joining our last event of the AAPI Heritage Month Culture Festival this year! On the last event of our one-month cultural celebration, the artist Shalaka Kulkarni led us to a world of traditional dance from South India: Mudras, where each gesture holds profound symbolic meaning.

Participants were introduced to movements representing various elements of nature, including the earth, sky, wind, flame, sun, and moon. It was a unique opportunity to connect with these natural symbols through the art of dance.

An exciting revelation during the workshop was the discovery of similarities between the dance gestures and the symbols found in our museum's collections. This connection between performing arts and visual arts underscores the universality and timelessness of these cultural expressions.

As our final event of AAPI month, the artist Shalaka Kulkarni shared with us traditional dance from southside india: Mudras. After one month of various events, we all need to take a breath and return to “Namaste.” Thanks to everyone who has joined us this month, come back for more events next year! 

About the Instructor 

Asian-American, Shalaka Kulkarni is an interdisciplinary dance artist trained in Indian Classical dance who creates experiences that bridge the ancient and contemporary while uplifting marginalized voices. As an actor, filmmaker, dancer and choreographer, she has toured her work in India, US and Europe. In Chicago, she has presented her work at various events, venues and festivals, such as Athenaeum Theatre, Harper College, Chicago Cultural Center, Depaul University, Chopin Theater, Museum of Contemporary Art, Dance Chicago Festivals, High Concept Labs, Loyola University, The Mccormick Center, Lions Club 100th Anniversary, Links Hall, Elastic Arts, Ruth Page Performing Arts, Columbia College Chicago, Newport Theater, Dominican University as well as has created work for numerous independent performers and artists. She is a recipient of various awards for her choreography and dance work.

Kulkarni began training in the Tanjore style of Bharatnatyam as a child in India. After immigrating to the U.S., she continued her training under the international artist Sandhya Desai in Kathak and Mandala Founder and Executive Artistic Director Pranita Nayar. She holds an MFA in interdisciplinary arts and media from Columbia College Chicago, where she worked closely with the dance master Nana Shineflug, one of the pivotal voices from Chicago in American Modern and Contemporary dance style. She is interested in creating and presenting a hybrid movement form that fuses techniques of Bharatnatyam and Kathak with other movement influences, text and technology. More info:

Museum of Asian Art


Heritage Museum of Asian Art is a non-profit organization with IRS 501 (c) (3) tax exempt status. 

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