Choreography Fellow 2018-2019
Sandya Muchimilli is a second year medical student interested in many fields of medicine. She received her bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and biology and minored in South Asian studies. Before medical school, she worked for a year at he Houston Food Bank and Varsity tutors and recently, completed her MPH degree in Dartmouth. During her MPH, Sandhya conducted a qualitative research pilot study that attempted to elucidate the understanding of breast cancer amongst women in rural Assam. She also conducted a pilot study on clinical perspectives regarding standardized handoff protocols as her capstone project.
Sandhya also studied Indian classical dancer for 16 years. She first started out learning Bharatnatyam from Guru Rathna Kumar and then switched to learning Kuchipudi from Guru Raghava Vedantam. She has performed solos and been involved in professional dance productions across the country (Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Dallas, St. Louis, Baton Rouge) and internationally as well (Hyderabad, India and Kuchipudi Village, India), playing both male and female roles, divine and demonic characters.
What is the relationship between dance and medicine?
” During my training under Raghava Vedantam, I learned so much about Hindu mythology and the art of Kuchipudi choreography. This ancient art form incorporates yogic postures and mudras which can be meditative and therapeutic. A excerpt from a Hindu scripture on dance describes a dancer to a yogi, noting the mindfulness, concentration, single-minded focus, and wellness that goes into successfully executing a dance piece. As the cultures of prevention and wellness rapidly gain popularity in today’s modern world, I believe that traditional dance is not only a beautiful form of expression, but can also be used to heal, prevent, and educate.”
– Sandya Muchimilli
How do you believe dance can improve medical care?
” Another strength of traditional dance is its story-telling aspect: ancient forms of dance such as Kuchipudi are able to eloquently pass down mythology over time and space, from the Natya Shastra detailing the performing arts back in 200 BCE to Indian Americans attending dance classes across the United States today; an art form that transcends time and space like this can be a powerful tool of communication within the realm of medicine, relating to the patient narrative and influencing health “