Let’s meet Indian contemporary dancer, Ramita Ravi, who is inspiring a young generation of South Asian dancers with her beautiful dance and story telling ability, which is why we wanted to interview her for The Movement!
You may recognize Ramita from So You Think You Can Dance where she wowed judges with her thoughtful and beautiful synthesis of Indian classical and contemporary dance. Let’s learn more about Ramita including her inspiration, struggles, and goals as an artist.
When & where did you start dancing?
Pittsburgh, PA in 1999 when I was 5 years old!
How would you characterize your style?
Indian Contemporary - mixture of classical indian dance and western contemporary. Draws from influences training in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Tap, Hip Hop - from a competition studio similar to what you'd see on Dance Moms (lol) - as well as Bharatnatyam.
Do you teach dance? If so, what type of classes?
Yes! Indian Contemporary, Contemporary, Classical Blend, and Bharatanatyam
What inspired you to start teaching classes?
It's an amazing way to share culture, connect with new people, and build a community around something we all love
What are your goals as a dancer? As a choreographer? And as a teacher?
As a dancer / choreographer, I'm interested in both performance and creative direction for film / tv / theater and more. Goal is to break boundaries around the type of work a South Asian is expected to create and share art with as many people as possible. As a teacher, I'd love to teach at conventions especially in the American competition world - I grew up attending these without seeing anyone who looked like me and I'd love to be able to teach both western and Indian dance to help kids underrepresented in the industry feel comfortable in their skin.
What gives you inspiration?
I am inspired by the incredible South Asian artists who are defying career norms and pursuing passions that brighten the narrative that our community is writing in the US. Building a more diverse entertainment industry is critical to sharing our culture and stories with the world and creating greater diversity, tolerance, and acceptance more broadly.
What has been your biggest challenge you have come across in your career so far?
It is HARD to find stability as a dancer. The hustle is real and it can be challenging to feel financially stable and also artistically fulfilled. Striking the balance between those two is something I've struggled with since day one and am still navigating.
If you could go back in time, what advice and lessons learned would you had given your “younger self”?
While I think every experience I've had thus far as led me to where I am today, I would certainly tell my younger self to stay confident and never second guess herself. Those around me have believed in me more than I believed in myself at times, and I wish my younger self could have always been fearlessly confident.
If you could give advice for aspiring younger dancers, what did you discover about this industry that you would want others to know about?
Talent is important, but there are so many other factors that contribute to a successful career - resilience, business savvy, adaptability, clarity in communication, grit, and so much more. Build those and you'll be destined for success no matter what you do
What does dance mean to you?
Dance has been my lifelong companion and best friend - has brought out the best in me and always been there through highs and lows
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Bold, Individual, Purposeful
When do you teach? What’s your upcoming schedule? Any upcoming projects?
Bharatnatyam Technique Series: Launching Jan 23, 2019 - A 13 week series focused on foundations of Bharatanatyam technique. Each class includes 15 min of theory and 45 min of practice, exploring isolations, mudras, expressions, footwork, and more. Open to all levels! Wednesdays 7:30-8:30 at Pearl Studios. For more information, email email@example.com
Where can we find you on social media?
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ramita.ravi/, https://www.facebook.com/ramita.ravi.13, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB60wNev05ZjiZZNix1iXTQ