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.

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.

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.

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.

Meena Chen
Meena Chen

Meena began dancing Kuchipudi under Nilimma Devi at the Sutradhar Institute of Dance and Related Arts in 2005. After moving to New York in 2009, she transitioned to learning Bharatanatyam under Dr. Nailini Rau at the Natya Anubhava Academy of Classical Dance. She completed her Arangetram in 2015 and danced with Natya Anubhava until 2017. At Swarthmore College, Meena continued to study dance, branching out into styles like modern, ballet, hip hop, jazz, West African, and more. She graduated with a major in Environmental Studies and a double minor in Religion and Dance. She is a choreographer and multi-media artist who has performed her works at notable venues such as the United Nations, the Paradise Factory Theatre, David Cooper Black Box Theatre, and Kun-Yang Lin's CHI Movement Art Center. She is interested in spiritual healing and community building through the arts and hopes to explore this by connecting back to her roots in Bharatanatyam.

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 the faculty advisor for Drexel Dandiya, a competitive team focused on bringing Gujarati dance to a wider audience. In addition to her teaching, she presents training 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.

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.

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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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Philadelphia, PA 19125

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