Currently, the Apsaras Arts Dance Group group has grown to 100+ students divided into 3 groups: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. There are 4 teachers: Uma Chetty, Meena Veerappan, Priti Patil, and Lakshmi Vadiiv. Meena and Priti completed their Arangetram under Uma's guidence in 2006. Lakshmi has performed her Arangetram in India when she was even younger than a teen-ager...
Meena Veerappan has been learning Bharatha Natyam from Uma Chetty, for the past ten years. She completed her Arangetram in 2006 under the able guidence of Uma. Meena has been teaching dance since last five years and she has choreographed classical dances for various community cultural programs.
Meena holds a Masters degree in Computer Science & Engineering from Anna University, India. She works full time as a Software Engineer at Acision in Richmond, VA. Another passion of Meena, is writing in Tamil. She has published in popular online magzines, and maintains her own blogs under her pen name, Kavinaya.
Meena says, "Bharatha Natyam has been the passion of my life. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to learn this art from an exceptional teacher, and to have the unwavering support of a loving family, wonderful friends, and a great group of students. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to every one of them and to the Lord, who makes it all possible!"
Starting at age 9, Priti Patil learnt Bharata Natyam with Guru Shri Mani of Kalasadan Institute of Fine Arts in Mumbai for four years. She has been learning from Uma Chetty for past 10 years. Priti has also received a short training from Dr. Sucheta Chapekar (Pune, India). With guidance from Uma, Priti completed her Arangetram in 2006 and conducted a Bharatha Natyam workshop for dance students at Thomas Dale High School.
Priti is a performing artist on the roster of Virginia Commission for Arts and Young Audiences of Virginia ( pg. 28). Through YAV, she has performed in various schools, libraries, Dogwood Dell Summer Festival of Arts in 2008 & 2010, and at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, during their December 2nd Saturday Family Day. She has also learned from renowned visiting artists & scholars from India like Mrs. Shanta and Mr. V.P. Dhananjayan , Mrs. Leela Samson, Dr. Sucheta Bhide-Chapekar, Mrs. Gayatri Balagurunathan, Mr. Parimal Phadke, & Mrs. Deepa Ganesh.
An alumnus of IIT Mumbai, after working in Telecommunications & IT Industry for two decades, Priti now pursues her interests in arts and non-profit causes with love and encouragement from her husband, and help from her twins.
Priti says, “With blessings from my Gurus, Nataraja, my elders, and a lot of help from the family, friends and students, I’m grateful to be able to continue the journey of Dance. I thank each of them from the bottom of my heart!”
Lakshmi Vadiiv started learning at the age of 4 under the guidance of Ms. Subbulakshmi and Ms. , in India. She continued learning this art later from Pandanallur Ganesha Pillai. Lakshmi completed her Arangetram in India at the tender age of 9. Lakshmi has performed in numerous multicultural shows and competitions in Tamil Nadu, India.
After moving to Richmond, VA Lakshmi continued learning Bharatanatyam from Ms.Uma Chetty for the past 6 years. She started teaching dance since last four years. She has choreographed many classical dances for various community cultural programs.