Chaudhari finds solace in dance


Karen Lu

Coppell High School senior Advaita Chaudhari takes a ballet class at Ballet Academy of Texas. Chaudhari takes Indian classical dance, ballet, yoga and BollyX classes, finding comfort and passion in multiple forms of the art.

Karen Lu, Daily News/Assignment Editor

From a leotard and tights to a classical Indian dance outfit, Coppell High School senior Advaita Chaudhari explores her passion for dance through several facets.

Almost daily, Chaudhari immerses herself in at least one dance class, whether she’s taking it or teaching it. She takes ballet at Ballet Academy of Texas in Coppell on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays; Yoga for dancers on Saturdays; Indian classical dance (Bharatanatyam) at Arathi School of Dance; and BollyX on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On her days off, she stays involved with dance by teaching younger children Zumba and yoga at the local YMCA. 

While fully invested in all aspects of dance today, Chaudhari was not always this way. Her love for this art form started because of her mother’s desire to share an integral part of her culture with her daughter almost 11 years ago.

“I started in [an] Indian classical dance called Bharatanatyam,” Chaudhari said. “I joined because my mom put me in the class even though I wanted to do theater instead. But she said, ‘No, at least try out this form of dance.’ So I did, and I fell in love with it.”

More than just the physicality of dance, Chaudhari relishes in its more emotional and vulnerable side.

“One thing I love about Indian classical is you’re really telling a story,” Chaudhari said. “In addition to the physical aspects of it, your facial expressions have to show so many emotions. It’s called abhinaya, meaning expression.”

Even when dancing with other people, Chaudhari seeks emotional connection not only with her audience, but with the other dancers as well.

“You really have to connect with people,” Chaudhari said. “That’s the one thing I love. When you dance with someone, you literally figure out everything about them. You have to dance with somebody you have unbelievable chemistry with, so you can tell that story. I describe it as two bodies, one soul.” 

Chaudhari started ballet her freshman year of high school, discovering these dance forms when she took the dance course offered at CHS. Despite only taking classical Indian classes prior, Chaudhari naturally took to ballet and quickly advanced through the levels. 

While seemingly on opposite sides of the dance spectrum, both Bharatanatyam and ballet served as the cornerstones Chaudhari needed at that time in her life.

“When I started ballet, my mom was diagnosed with cancer,” Chaudhari said. “The time I spent at the studio was often my distraction from what was going on at my house. Through ballet and Indian classical, I was able to let out a lot of the emotions and rage I felt because of my mom’s diagnosis.”

Vaishali Chaudhari, Chaudhari’s mother, saw the toll her diagnosis was taking on her daughter. It was also obvious to Mrs. Chaudhari the necessary support and outlet dance provided to Chaudhari. 

“When I got the diagnosis, it was a big hurdle for my home,” Mrs. Chaudhari said. “Sometimes I couldn’t talk with anybody; I couldn’t’ share with anybody, so [Chaudhari] used dance as a tool to take her frustration out, and it also helped her maintain her mental health.”

By partaking in various forms of dance, Chaudhari applies skills from one style to another, interchanging her knowledge and improving in each style. 

“One of her biggest strengths is her versatility in movement,” Arathi School of Dance instructor Alpana Jacob said. “Indian classical dance and ballet are both very disciplined with similar form in terms of straightness of the spine and the way the legs are bent. It really helps with the strength of her body. Your repertoire of movement increases, which is what you want as a dancer.”

Looking forward, Chaudhari hopes to continue her journey with each art form and pursue a dance minor in college. From the basic physical demand to the more nuanced emotional aspect, Chaudhari has fallen in love with every part of dance. 

“She has a love for the dance form,” Ballet Academy of Texas director Lisa Slagle said. “It’s very obvious; you can tell by the way she moves.”

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