1. What styles of dance does Kalanjali teach?
At present we only teach a traditional style of Bharatanatyam. No Bollywood or fusion. Students are sometimes taught a regional Indian folk dance.
2. How old should a person be when joining?
We do not take students younger than 5 years old. 6 or 7 is ideal, when mental and physical development are sufficiently established to handle the stamina and attention to detail required by the style. Older students and/or students with previous training in Bharatanatyam can be placed in higher levels according to the teachers’ discretion.
3. How long does it take to learn?
Classes meet once a week for one hour. Twice a week is more than twice as good, but you would need to come to different locations. This is a process of accumulation of movement and style details that must be mastered gradually. A student wishing to perform an Arangetram, or to leave with a sense of genuine accomplishment should plan to be in the school for 8-12 years.
4. Do students need to practice?
Yes, this is a classical art and requires practice. If students fall into a pattern of regular practice they will feel a greater sense of accomplishment in class.
5. Do you take adult beginners?
We are happy to take any age of beginners, but most of the beginning level classes are filled with very young children, making older ones feel out of place. If we have a sufficient number of requests for teen or adult students wanting to join, we can try to accommodate them in a separate class.
6. Are make up classes available when a student misses a class?
You may attend a class of same or lower level, but may have to go to another location to do so.
7. School Fees?
Fees for group classes are payable by the year, semester, or month. When you register, you are committed to the whole ten months of our school year. We have established a payment plan through PayPal.
8. What is Kalanjali’s “school year”?
We follow the local school calendars as far as possible, beginning in mid to late August. The Annual Summer Festival usually marks the end of the school year, falling on the third weekend of June, followed by the Arangetrams, individual performances by graduating students. Students have about 40 hours of contact time across the school year, including classes, rehearsals, performances, workshops.
9. Aside from fees, what are the likely expenses?
We have a uniform which can be purchased through the school.
At some locations we have a photographer take individual and group shots in costume around the time of our annual performance. This is a small cost of $15-20.
As the students progress, they will need to get costumes and jewelry to perform. There is a wide range of materials and cost for these, some of which are available on line. Kalanjali is committed to both dance and presentation being authentic and decent, so all costumes must be within our guidelines.
10. Do you have regular holidays?
We give a holiday for the weekend of Thanksgiving, two weeks for Christmas and New Year, Easter Sunday, Memorial Weekend, Spring Break. We are closed for July and August. Some days may be given as holidays due to circumstances beyond our control.
11. How does a student move up the course progression?
Not all students learn identically, and if a student is slower than the others in the group, we may recommend that student be moved to a less advanced class. It is frustrating for a student to struggle hard, and it is better to take ones own time to learn. We cannot allow one slower student to hold the others back. It is not about winning or losing, but about the random composition of the group. Likewise, we may move a fast learner ahead to an appropriate group.
12. Must a student aspire to perform an Arangetram?
After 8-12 years of study, a student may want to consider doing an Arangetram.
An Arangetram is a great challenge in every way, demanding of great sacrifice on the part of the student who has to polish a whole set of dances to be performed alone, with a live orchestra. Many other activities may have to be given up for that last year. Parents will have to drive the student to private lessons at least once a week, in addition to the group lessons. It is very expensive, as the family must pay for the extra lessons, the musical ensemble from India, renting a theatre and technical staff, printing and photo shoot for the event, a nice program brochure, refreshments for the guests. Imagine a slightly scaled back wedding without the bridegroom’s family to help. On the other hand, it is an accomplishment that will stay with the dancer in every other life journey, giving confidence and pride that nothing can take away.
13. Is there any way to make an Arangetram cheaper?
We are happy to explore the possible shortcuts to the costs: sharing the performance with classmates who are compatible in several ways, not serving dinner, etc. There are many ways, and we can join our imaginations together to make something work. Without calling it an Arangetram, one can also have a more limited final performance, in a temple or community center, with less pomp and fanfare.