Parivaar – What does ‘family’ mean at Kala Vandanam?

By Suchitra Sairam

“What does ‘family’ mean at Kala Vandanam?”

We were asked this question as a part of composer-vocalist Shruthi Rajasekar’s project “Parivaar – A Celebration of Community as Family“.

How did we answer?

To me, the Kala Vandanam family really just feels like home and is so supportive and loving both in and out of the studio, a connection built through a shared love for and commitment to the art.

– Aarthi Vijayakumar

I think that family means endless support, in all of our ventures and milestones. I feel like at Kala Vandanam, we have all become family through our shared experiences and growing together as dancers and as people ❤️

– Akshaya Ganeshkumar

Kala Vandanam instills the idea of growth. Apart from the love and support from my peers at Kala Vandanam, Suchi Akka is truly family to me… I know that I can go to her for anything.

– Arjun Acharya

Family at Kala Vandanam are the people you work and learn from/with but not always necessarily in pursuit of success, but of growth.

– Mala Minerva Ballolla

Family at Kala Vandanam is not “chosen family” the way it’s normally talked about. I don’t choose the people around me but rather I choose to be around those people who are there. We all choose to be there, and our love and commitment to Kala Vandanam and each other is why we are such a strong family. We dance together, we smile together, we succeed together, we fail together and we grow together… I will always choose my Kala Vandanam family. ❤️

– Maya Athena

At Kala Vandanam, family means people who we celebrate our passions with, a place for us to learn from each other, and a home for us to express ourselves.

– Mahati Rayadurgam

Kala Vandanam has always been my second home and a place where I can truly express myself. Im always challenged and pushed to give my best while I’m also able to share laughs and inside jokes with my peers. Watching others grow beside me is almost like watching a sibling grow up with you back at home. It’s also a space where I’ve been taught discipline and life lessons, which are things that I might not have gotten even at home. It’s such a beautiful balance!

– Malini Sundaramoorthy

Being a part of the KV family means to be connected by the arts, supporting each other in our own diverse passions, and ALWAYS having one another’s back.

– Sahitya Satish

As a student who has learned Bharatanatyam for over 12 years, under Suchi Akka, I have not only fell in love with this art form, but have also grown in my personal life. Dancing and being part of the wonderful Kala Vandanam family has been something I love being part of! Dancing makes me feel joyful – I enjoy learning new pieces and challenging myself. Being able to dance with my friends at Kala Vandanam’s annual tradition has been extremely special… seeing others growth has always been a highlight. The Kala Vandanam family means being surrounded by kind and welcoming dancers, that all have one thing in common; the love for dance ❤️

– Sonali Bhaskar

It’s not a classroom/school where I dropped off my child. It’s a community so tightly knit with a sense of belonging that it always felt like family. I used to drop in all the time – not just to watch my child but everyone in her class. And it’s a pleasure to watch them grow, and I still take pride in their accomplishments even if I don’t know the child.

– Devi Vijayakumar

Kala Vandanam – the family that gave me a new identity as Arjun’s mother! The family that celebrates achievements together, working as a team to celebrate Salangai Pujas and Arangetrams. The family, that above all, regards Suchi Akka as a dear friend, confidante, and mentor, who can get even tight-lipped teens to open up about their worries and concerns.

– Mangala Acharya

The Kala Vandanam family has evolved and grown over 22 years, but stayed together thanks to shared values, respect for the arts and each other. It’s a community where we aim for excellence, have a great time and be kind. We’ve learned to be serious about the work without taking ourselves too seriously. Most importantly, we celebrate together and grow because of each other.

– Suchitra Sairam