Traditional dance performances were the highlight…

 …of many celebrations we attended when I was growing up in Las Vegas. The Friends of India would do Holi, which is the festival of colors; Diwali, the Indian New Year celebration; and Indian Independence Day on August 14. There were also ceremonies at the temple where they would have the young people perform.

I started taking lessons when I was six and pursued that interest through my high school years. The hardest thing for me to learn was the Bharatanatyam, one of the oldest classical dance traditions in India, because there are so many intricate steps and expressions. As a child I didn’t have a strong grip on Hindu languages, and the goal is to match your expressions to the lyrics, so that was always challenging.

I’m grateful to my family for the opportunity to connect with my heritage and our community by making traditional arts a part of my life.

Aisha Virender Sanwal, Friends of India, Las Vegas

Click here for the next story in the Find Your Folklife Exhibit