Last week, I happened to share a flight to Sarasota with the Kuchipudi dancer and choreographer Shantala Shivalingappa. She was on the way to the Ringling International Arts Festival, where she performed Shiva Ganga. Taking it as a sign, I asked her for an interview, to which she graciously agreed. I think you’ll find her answers as graceful as her dancing.

And here is a short excerpt:

“What I love about [kuchipudi] is the combination of contrasts: something very strong in the legs—it’s very intricate and quick in the footwork and also very anchored into the earth—but the upper body is full of grace and swaying and undulating. I love the contrast between something very strong and rooted and powerful and at the same time extremely graceful and fluid and lyrical.And musical. Dance in India is inseparable from the music. They are just one [places the palms of her hands together to illustrate]. Actually it’s one discipline in the beginning: dancing, music and theatre.”

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