Choreography Fellow 2018-2019
Sophia studied Bharatanatyam with Guru Dr. Sreedhara Akkihebbalu from the age of nine in San Antonio, Texas. Since her debut recital – ‘Arangetram’ – in 2010, she has given many solo performances in the US and abroad. She is an ICCR Empaneled Artist and a 2013 Young Arts Finalist. Also a pre-professional ballet dancer, Sophia studied at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow for six weeks under full scholarship in 2015.
She is currently a chemistry major student at Columbia University, and passionately continues her pursuit of dance. Sophia hopes to attend medical school after graduation, with an interest in geriatrics and orthopedic surgery. She wants to explore how dance can serve as a medium to cross cultural and religious boundaries.
What is the relationship between dance and medicine?
” I believe that traditional arts have the ability to heal in a way no medical treatment or pill can. I have performed for nursing home and inpatient facilities and seen decrepit, wheel-chair bound patients perk up to the sound of my bells or the movement of my body. I have also participated in socially conscious performances that have moved perfectly functional, outwardly healthy, audience members to tears because they know someone close to them that struggles with the issues we depicted through dance.”
– Sophia Salingaros
How do you believe dance can improve medical care?
“As a dancer and an aspiring doctor, I am immersing myself in both the world of art and health care. I believe that bringing the two together can greatly benefit a system of healing people by bringing a more humane aspect to treatment. While modern medicine has worked wonders on improving the quality and length of life today, art still plays a fundamental role in healing that cannot be recreated. “