Performers of Indian dance often rely on dramatic facial expressions and hand gestures to entertain and tell stories. Their bright costumes and eye makeup may stand out the most for those who are unfamiliar with the South Asian art form, or have glimpsed it only in Bollywood films. But those expressions and gestures are rooted in ancient Indian folk dance and classical forms like Bharatanatyam: a dance with spiritual qualities that has been performed in South Indian temples for centuries.
Boise’s own Padma Gadapelly has studied Bharatanatyam so extensively that last year she was designated a master artist in the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program run by the Idaho Commission on the Arts.
And Gadepally’s apprentice? Is her very own daughter: Alekya Tanikella.
Olivia Weitz visited the mother/daughter duo towards the end of the year-long apprenticeship.