Choreography Fellow 2021-2022: Nandini Aravindan

Photo Credit: Swamy Fine Arts Studio

Nandini remembers convincing her mother to enroll her in training for Kuchipudi, an Indian classical dance form, in 2003 under Smt. Kamala Reddy. In 2010, she continued her training under Smt. Anuradha Nehru, and joined the Kalanidhi Dance Company in 2015. She has performed at prestigious venues across the country including the Cherry Blossom Festival, the National Museum of Women in
the Arts, the Kennedy Center as a Local Dance Commissioning Project awardee, and the Erasing
Borders Festival of Indian Dance in New York City with the Kalanidhi Dance company and school. Meanwhile, in 2013, Nandini decided she wanted to study medicine. Inspired by the ability to use cutting-edge technology to improve the lives of others, she was accepted at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the fall of 2019. Nandini states, “My passions for dance and medicine are major driving forces in my life, and I look forward to bridging these while pursuing my interests in women’s health, surgery, and global health.”

Photo Credit: Swamy Fine Arts Studio

How do Traditional Arts and Medicine combine?

I believe that dance provides a space for healing both for patients in their healthcare
journey and doctors in their attempts at work-life balance and combating burnout. Dance has
been part of my life since I was 5 years old, and being disconnected with it for the beginning of
medical school left me lost and unsatisfied; this made me realize how substantially dance
provides happiness, distraction, motivation, a medium for processing, and a sense of community
that is not mutually exclusive from medicine. In addition to the healing that dance provides, it is
also utilized to fine-tune movements that are central to the practice of medicine. This
process and artistic mindset are essential not only to perfect those movements but also to
encourage variability and creativity in tailoring each movement to different bodies. This
fellowship will provide an avenue for me to connect my deep roots in Indian classical dance with
my future career and medical endeavors.
” -Nandini

Choreography Proposal

Imposter Syndrome

This fellowship would give me the opportunity to choreograph a piece centered around
imposter syndrome. It is a feeling that many, especially women, have faced throughout their
training. This piece would express the range of emotions of a new medical student: excitement, nervousness, and motivation. Although the creeping feeling of inadequacy has always existed, it will fully emerge after a simulated patient interaction. This interaction will catalyze a spiral of increasingly nagging and disparaging thoughts that eventually become debilitating, until the community helps to remind her of who she is