Spotlight on Isha Patel
Isha is one of our talented performers at the Global Brand Convergence® streams, November 29 at 8 AM ET
Isha leads the charge at House of Folk in the Bay Area - her brainchild, and the first institution in the US to offer a comprehensive four-year diploma program in Indian folk dance to youth and adults. An Urban Designer by day and cultural ambassador by night, here is a little about Isha's career as a dancer.
Q. What type of dance do you do and what are its origins? A. I am a dedicated practitioner of Indian folk dance, with a particular focus on Ghoomar, a dance that originates from the vibrant state of Rajasthan in India. My training began at age six, and since then, I've been both a student and teacher of this rich cultural art form.
Q. What are its cultural touch points? A. Ghoomar is more than just a dance; it's a celebration of communal harmony and joy. It's traditionally performed during festivals and significant life events, embodying the spirit of togetherness and festivity that is central to Indian culture.
Q. We see dance is modern films about India. Is dance a strong aspect of contemporary cultural life in India?
A. In India, dance is vital to our culture, connecting generations and encapsulating our shared history. It's a form of expression that tells the stories of our ancestors and breathes life into age-old traditions. Across the nation, from rural festivities to the modern films, dance is a celebration of identity, a way to hold onto our heritage while embracing modernity. It's how we remember, how we celebrate, and how we pass on what it means to be Indian.
Q. What got you interested?
A. From the earliest memories of my childhood, dance has been my compass, my way of understanding the indian heritage. With over 100 recognized folk dances across the India, each one tells a story — a story of the land, its people, and their celebrations. My personal journey with dance began with the enchanting spins of Ghoomar, and it has taken me through the rhythmic tales of Bhangra in the North to the theatrical moves of Garba in the West to many more which includes props. I've found a way to connect with others, sharing the stories of our ancestors, preserved in every step, every prop and every gesture.
Q. How do you train for this type of dance.
A. Training in Ghoomar is an exercise in grace, subtle but powerful moves and coordination, requiring one to master elegant spins and expressive hand gestures. you let the hand gestures and spins do all the talking!
Q. The costumes you wear are gorgeous. Tell us about them.
A. The attire for Ghoomar is as captivating as the dance itself. The ghagra choli, a flowing skirt paired with a fitted hand woven top, is adorned with vivid colors and intricate details by rural women in India, such as mirrors and embroidery, creating a stunning visual effect during the dance.