Uma Chetty started learning Bharatha Natyam at the age of 8 in Singapore under the guidance of Srimathi Neila Sathyalingam from Kalakshetra. She performed her Arangetram when she was 13 and has given numerous dance recitals and performed major roles in dance dramas since then. Uma's love for dance has brought her to perform in different countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, USA, and India.
Uma has also given a variety of lecture demonstrations and classes on the relation ship between Hinduism and Bharatha Natyam at the University of Richmond. A CPA and MBA, Uma works as a Senior Financial Analyst and started the Apsaras Arts Dance Group in Richmond in 2000 to share and teach this Art that she loves. With the love and support of her husband and two sons, she is able to balance her career in Finance and passion for Dance.
The Apsaras Arts Dance Group has grown and 9 students have completed their Arangetrams in the past few years. The main objective of Apsaras Arts Dance Group, Richmond VA is to create an awareness of Bharatha Natyam in the United States, while maintaining the highest and best standards for teaching and performing. Students have performed in various Hindu Center(1) and Children’s Hospital Fundraisers, Indian cultural events, Girl Scout events, Tsunami Fundraiser, Asian Festivals etc. The school has also given multiple dance demonstrations for various organizations and schools including Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Richmond, Jessica Morgan School of Dance, Girl Scout Troops, United Methodist Family Services and Chesterfield Speciality Center for the Arts.
While visiting Singapore in Summer 2009, Uma was invited, along with several long time Bharatha Natyam dancers, to take part in a dance program organized by their Guru and the founder of Apsaras Arts Singapore, Viswakala Bharathi Smt. Neila Sathyalingam. At the end of the program, her Guru bestowed the title of "Bharatha Kalai Mani" on Uma Chetty for her achievements in propagating Bharatha Natya, and the values of Apsaras Arts in the United States for the past 10 years.
(1) Photo credit: Close-up picture by Mr. Dinanath Kukreja, taken during "Aaru Padai Veedu" program in 2009 at the Hindu Center of Virginia, Glen Allen, VA 23060