The Calm with Kalaa initiative was founded by Shruti Parthasarathy to promote racial harmony and reduces psychological trauma associated with self-identity through the art of Bharatanatyam, a 2000-year-old Indian Classical dance form. Combining my research and passion for dance, the initiative Calm with Kalaa holds regular 40 minute workshops for students and adults of all ages where, (1) Shruti introduces the cultural concept of Bharatanatyam and importance of stress reduction, and (2) Shruti teaches hand gestures, footwork, and facial expressions along with each movement’s scientific benefits. Simultaneously, Calm with Kalaa promotes racial awareness and garners an environment of cultural understanding about India’s historically underrepresented culture. As members of my community indulge in a culturally unique environment, he or she learns about an ancient Indian art form and accurately identifies racial stereotypes. Wanting to better their actions, people join together and engage in a collaborative discussion about similarities within the American and Indian culture. By breaking preconceived notions, Calm with Kalaa reduces one’s ability to act on implicit bias, and eventually reduces racial discrimination within communities.
When we imagine a dancer, we picture a poise, energetic, graceful, and youthful person. However, that is quite the opposite of what today's youth seem to be; they are far from energetic - often too stressed from academic and social pressures, easily irritated, eventually taking part in unethical behaviors or becoming depressed.
According to the American Psychological Association, 34% of students reported feeling overwhelmed, 30% reported feeling depressed, 36% reported fatigue, and 23% reported skipping meals due to stress. In addition, APA stated that teens averaged a report of 5.8 out of 10 for their level of stress during the school year. This number not only exceeds the healthy level of 3.9, but exceeds the 5.1 level reported by adults (APA). Unfortunately, nearly half the teens do not know how to combat their stress (APA). Thus, it is Calm with Kalaa's duty to help provide students with a simple medium to relieve stress and promote positivity. Bharatanatyam is a concept often never mentioned in a conversation about health and wellness. Calm with Kalaa strives to shine light on a powerful, scientifically proven methods of stress reduction that is not found in any other art form.
We believe the voice of Indian Classical Art is a universal language that transcends racial boundaries!