Mahavidyas in Medicine

Traditionally, Indian Classical Dance focuses on narratives of gods and goddesses from stories of Hindu Mythology. We are hoping to use this dance form to tell stories of female patients and physicians who embody the strength of these mythical figures as well. The Mahavidyas are a group of 10 demi-goddesses, each with a unique strength and character, who live on the margins of acceptable society. They are widows, young girls, dark skin, blood thirsty, warriors. They are feared and celebrated for their imperfections. It is this ability to cross boundaries that makes the Mahavidyas the inspiration of this dance project—a project hoping to cross boundaries in medicine.

Medicine and the female doctors and patients however, have very little room for mistakes. There are so many incredible stories of triumph and loss that are hidden because they seem “unacceptable”, not status quo. Their stories and experiences are often untold, adding to the list of injustices against women existing in the silence. 

Our goal is to pull from our patient and provider experiences over our third and fourth years of medical school to portray and tell their stories through connections with stories from the Mahavidyas. 

In order to be true to the form and to the stories, we hope to conduct informal interviews with  individuals involved in the patient’s care. Doctors, nurses, and the patient themselves will be consulted and consent obtained. The stories will be anonymous.

At the end of two years, we hope to have ten 4-5 minute dance pieces that portray a breadth and spectrum of female patient stories, mirroring the strength of the Mahavidyas.

This project is dedicated to our amazing parents, our generous and brilliant dance teachers, and our many well wishers. We could not have done this without you. In particular, I would like to mention my personal inspiration for finding the connections between religion,science, art, and history–Dr.Pemmaraju Venugopala Rao, professor emeritus at Emory Univeristy. His kindness, brilliance, and guidance are forever remembered and cherished.