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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Awards

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Roopa Shyamasundara and Sruthi Ramesh
2015 master artist and apprentice
Rochester Hills and Troy (Oakland County)
Indian Bharatanatyam dance

Roopa Shyamasundara was born in India where she learned to dance classical Indian dance from noted dance instructors and gurus and was supported by dance scholarships from the government of India. After graduating with degrees in dance and establishing a career as a performer, she moved to Rochester Hills and she founded the Nrityollasa Centre for Performing Arts where she has taught bharatanatyam dance for 17 years. Currently, she has over 50 students attending the academy.

Apprentice Sruthi Ramesh is sixteen years old, but has already been dancing bharatanatyam for fourteen years. Sruthi was born in Michigan, but spent several years in India during her childhood.  She began apprenticing with Roopa in June of 2013. Since then, she has competed several times and has had opportunities to teach in Roopa’s studio as an assistant. Sruthi finds that this dance form allows her to develop discipline and self-confidence while connecting her to her heritage. She hopes to continue this tradition throughout her life and spread it further to future students of her own.

-Micah Ling

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