“Every innovation builds on old ideas. As responsible artists and human beings, we could do well to check our arrogance at the door and enter softly in bare feet, eyes open, skin open, and curious as ever to share.”
- Sheetal Gandhi
I am a multi-hyphenated artist (singer, dancer, actor, percussionist), teacher and choreographer.
My research in the performing arts lies at the intersection of dance-theater, social activism, and intercultural performance. I make rhythm-based, theatrical dances.
I have always felt a strong desire to make a positive difference in the world by utilizing what I believe to be my strengths: my optimism, talent and tenacity. I do not give up easily. I strive to bring out the best in any given situation and in any given individual.
I am a free-spirit, nature-loving soul whose wanderlust has brought her to the threshold of many adventures - adventures that lead to stories - stories that want to be told.
Family and human relationship are, above all, what grounds me and gives my life purpose. From a very young age, I have been surrounded by a circle of family, extended family and family friends brought together by my parents who immigrated to the United States from India. These bonds infuse my life with so much depth and joy! My cultural heritage is very important to me, and I am thankful for the perspective it has given me - for my ability to learn from the positive attributes of both sides of my identity, East Indian and American - to lead a balanced life and help others to do the same.
“Sheetal Gandhi’s virtuosity lies in her expert navigation of this multi-disciplinary performance – acting, singing, and dancing, all with equal talent.”
- Ellen Gerdes; Thinking Dance
“As a choreographer and dancer who has worked all over the country and the world, Gandhi has made travel into something of an art.”
- Thayil, Jeet. “Dancing to a Dream”. India Abroad. 21 May 2004.
“Sheetal Gandhi has lived in Ghana, India, Canada and New York, honing a distinctive dance and choreography style that respects tradition while aiming to break from it.”
- Tsering, Lisa. “Dancer Sheetal Gandhi to Premiere ‘Bahu-Beti-Biwi’”. India West Entertainment. 14 November 2008.
The ‘I’ Manifesto
Art does not imitate life.
Why should it? Life is interesting enough.
Then, Art heightens our sense – often quiet and hidden – of what we already know about life.
I want to help people remember their own footprints in the sand.
I will be bold. I will be eccentric. I will tell stories, as anti-modern as it sounds. And I will dance to the music. Not always, but enough to make you wonder what box I fit in.
I will not fit into a box.
I will not be defined, but I will be clear.
I will not use you as my psychological and emotional dumping ground. I am not as interested in me as I am in stretching me.
I will stretch the imagination. I will step into someone else’s shoes.
I don’t need to change the world.
I don’t mind being moved… Stop. That is a lie.
I live to move and be moved.
I have no opposition to that which is grand and moving in its grandiose spectacle.
Yes to drama. No to indulgence. Yes to craft that walks a fine line between the two.
Yes to skill and sweat and transformation.
Yes to wonder.
Yes to BIG eyes.
Yes to my ancestors
Yes to the future.
Yes to the moment that erases the line between I…
DEGREES, SELECTED HONORS & CERTIFICATIONS
- M.F.A. (Master of Fine Arts) Dance and Choreography UCLA
- B.A. cum laude Dance and Psychology UC Irvine
- Education Abroad Program University of Accra, Ghana, West Africa
- Pilates Professional Certification
- Map Fund through Creative Capital
- Puffin Grant
- CEI (Cultural Exchange International) Fellowship by L.A. Dept. of Cultural Affairs
- CHIME (Choreographers in Mentorship) Award by Margaret Jenkins Dance Company
- NDP Touring Award for Bahu-Beti-Biwi
- L.A. Dance Advance Award by L.A. Stage Alliance
- C.O.L.A Individual Artist Grant by L.A. Dept. of Cultural Affairs
- APPEX fellow/international artist residency in Bali
- Horton Nominee for Best Choreography for Bahu-Beti-Biwi
- 1st place “Audience Favorite” at Oakland Dance Festival
- Graduate Division Scholarship, UCLA
- Key Note Speaker at UC Irvine Commencement Arts Awards Ceremony