An Indian classical dancer since childhood, Parama Roy Bardhan is creating a sensation in Atlanta with each of her performances. Entrepreneurs Today reached out to her to learn more about her experience as an Indian classical dancer in a country that is far from home.
About Parama Roy Bardhan
A seasoned Bharatanatyam dancer and performer with a career spanning 17 years, Parama’s journey began at the age of 4 when she embarked on classical dance training. Despite early aspirations of pursuing dance professionally, familial circumstances led her to earn a B. Tech degree and work as a Software Engineer.
After settling in the USA post-marriage, Parama revived her dance career, performing as a full-fledged Indian classical dancer for the past 5 years. Based in Atlanta, GA, she initially showcased her talents within the Indian community before expanding her reach to multicultural cross-community stages in the United States.
Breaking the mold
Parama is all set to break the longstanding norms of Indian classical dance in Atlanta. She mentions,
“I had a question about why these art forms are not showcased on American stages outside our community.”
While many artists limit their performances to Indian communities, she sought to introduce Bharatanatyam to multicultural cross-community platforms, a task often deemed challenging due to a lack of confidence among Indian performers about its reception in non-Indian settings. She also reveals,
“People mostly believe that these art forms might not be widely appreciated on multicultural cross-community platforms. I’ve often observed people representing Indian arts here by adapting the traditional classical dance into a contemporary form or performing Bollywood dance.”
Parama’s initiative led her to perform at the Johns Creek International Festival, where she represented India with a captivating ‘Thillana’, winning the admiration of a diverse American audience. Speaking of her performance, she says,
“It was greatly appreciated by the audience from various communities in the USA. They were amazed by how an Indian classical dancer could perform solo on such a large stage. Pictures of my performance were published in Appen Media, a local newspaper here.”
Her dedication to showcasing Indian classical dance reached new heights when she performed “Krishna nee begane baro,” a piece that beautifully portrays the mother-son relationship between Lord Krishna and his mother, along with cosmic symbolism. She recalls,
“The performance was widely appreciated on multiple platforms here. When I performed the same at the Cob International Festival, my performance was also recognized by the Marietta Daily Journal among various cultural art forms from different countries. They featured my picture on the front page of their prestigious newspaper.”
Parama faced several challenges during her journey to promote Indian classical dance in Atlanta. One significant hurdle was her initial struggle to gain recognition and establish herself as a performer in the field.
Despite her talent being appreciated by judges and the audience at a zonal competition for professionals, she faced the disappointment of not being declared the winner due to perceived political influences within the organizing committee. She explains,
“My performance was appreciated by the judges and the audience. Some elderly people even approached me to express their appreciation. The parents of the kids asked me where I had learned and if I had a dance school. However, I was announced in second place. The first place was given to one of the members of the organizing committee. This was very frustrating and demoralizing for a performer like me.”
This setback motivated Parama to seek broader and higher-level platforms to showcase her talent. That was a defining moment for her. Parama recounts,
“I realized that to gain substantial recognition, I needed to aim for broader and higher-level platforms.”
So began her journey of applying to national and international competitions and festivals organized by Indian cultural councils, the Australian Council, and the US Art Council.
Her decision to compete on these broader stages proved fruitful, leading to increased recognition and prestigious awards from these reputable art councils, ultimately helping her overcome the challenges she initially faced.
Achievements so far
Param’s journey with Indian classical dance has been marked by remarkable achievements and recognition. She not only captivates audiences on both Indian and American stages but also imparts her knowledge to students by demonstrating the intricacies of Indian Classical Dance in schools. She has also been invited to schools to demonstrate Indian Classical Dance for students.
Parama’s exceptional talent has earned her solo performance invitations from American and Indian organizations, showcasing her prowess. Additionally, she has ventured into choreography, curating performances that have received high praise within the Indian community.
Her achievements extend to the international stage, with wins in national and international events across various regions of India. Notably, Parama has been chosen for the prestigious National Padma Krishna award for her significant contribution to Indian classical dance abroad.
Her excellence was further affirmed when she received the Best Traditional Dancer in the Professional category award from the Australian Cultural Heritage, underscoring her role as a cultural ambassador. Her performances have even graced the front page of the Marietta Daily Journal, cementing her status as a key figure in promoting Indian classical dance.
Parama Roy Bardhan’s future plans are centered around her passion for spreading the beauty of Indian classical dance to diverse communities. Her approach involves continuous learning, teaching, and performing.
One of her immediate goals is to establish her own school, where she can inspire and instruct others in the art of Bharatanatyam. Furthermore, she aspires to take her performances to international stages, embarking on tours that will showcase this timeless dance form to the world. Parama’s vision revolves around the global promotion and preservation of Indian classical dance, ensuring its enduring legacy and appreciation across borders.
Parama’s wisdom gleaned from her journey in classical dance is that success has no shortcut, as it thrives on daily practice and unrelenting hard work. She also reminds everyone that the road to professionalism demands time, testing one’s patience, and a resolute commitment to perfect every movement.
“Consistent practice and correction are the only means to reach a level that can capture the attention of everyone.”
She adds that only through consistent practice and receptive self-correction can an artist attain a level that captivates audiences. Lastly, she notes,
“Believe in yourself, and be prepared to confront challenges and failures that may obstruct your path. You need to find joy in what you are doing and continue exploring. This resilience will propel you forward and enable you to achieve milestones in your career.”