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City of Plano Parks and Recreation

Posted on: August 28, 2019

Bharathanatyam brings cultural exploration to Carpenter Park Recreation Center

dance pic

Kala Krishnan started learning classical Indian dance in her hometown of Montreal when she was just 6 years old. Today, City of Plano employee shares her passion and talent with children and adults of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds.

And starting on Tuesday, Sept. 3, her classes will come to Carpenter Park Recreation Center for those looking for a holistic and enlightening workout while experiencing an ancient art form.

The name of the dance Kala teaches is called Bharathanatyam—a classical art form that originated in the temples of southern India. There is a lot of spiritual background behind this dance, Kala said, as it is a deeply devotional art form that has evolved into performance art. Bharathanatyam is, in fact, a form of storytelling based on Indian mythology, cultures and traditions, and is told through facial expressions combined with graceful postures and movements.

“My mother is my teacher. She’s always been my inspiration and I try to replicate what she has done in her studio in Montreal for the past 43 years,” Kala said.

KalaKala, who also works as a planner in the Neighborhood Services Department, said although Bharathanatyam is a challenging workout physically, it also focuses on connecting the mind, body and spirit. Students will also gain strengthened self-awareness and coordination skills, grace, as well as a positive social outlet that emphasizes the power of teamwork.

“It’s a physical activity but it is very much about meditation as well,” she said. “Every part of the body is involved. Your mind has to be in the dance all the time.”

Teaching this unique art form has also benefited Kala personally in her job the when it comes to working with neighborhoods groups and engagement. Being comfortable in front of an audience and projecting confidence serves her well when leading neighborhood meetings.  

“Not being afraid of crowds has enabled me to be fully engaged in front of a group. I often have to keep both my students and my neighborhoods excited and enthusiastic,” Kala said.

Classes are currently open for children ages 6-13 and individuals 14 and older. To register and for more information about class offerings at Carpenter Park Recreation Center, visit Plano Parks and Recreation’s registration website

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