Raissa Simpson’s PUSH Dance Company Builds Vibrant Contemporary Dances To Gain A Deeper Understanding Of The Challenges Attributed To Mixed Heritage.

BASE Resident Spotlight: Introducing Nitya Narasimham

Author Shari Baldie

At PUSH Dance Company, we are committed to giving BIPOC artists a platform. Our BASE (BIPOC Artist Sanctuary & Enrichment) Residency allows members to showcase their artistry, connect, and grow. This year’s BASE Residents are a diverse group of artists who specialize in a variety of genres from contemporary ballet and Afrobeats to bharatanatyam and Filipino folk dance. Learn more about these five residents in our BASE Interview series.

Nitya Narasimham

1PM & 3PM

Caption: Nitya Narasimham

Meet Nitya Narasimham. Originally from Bangalore, she has been a choreographer and teacher of the classical Indian dance style Bharatanatyam. Nitya has found joy in not only mentoring her students, but learning from them as well. 

Hometown: Bangalore, India

Dance/Movement style(s): Bharatanatyam

What inspired you to start teaching/choreographing? 

Choreography came into my life unexpectedly when I was tasked with creating dance for a big group of mostly untrained dancers in a competitive college environment. It was an extremely fulfilling and fun challenge that forced me to think outside the box and be creative with my ideas, and it has been a passion ever since. 

Teaching, on the other hand, was a decision I made after much consideration and small nudges from my teachers and support system. Being a classical dance teacher is more than just a profession, it’s a lifelong relationship between teacher and student. As a dance teacher, I strive not only to impart technical knowledge, but also to serve as a mentor and guide, providing support and encouragement every step of the way. It is a responsibility that I take very seriously, and I cherish the opportunity to positively influence the lives of my students through the art of dance.

What led you to the BΛSE Residency program?

The BASE residency is a truly distinctive program that seamlessly blends teaching with choreography, while addressing an essential, but often overlooked aspect of a dancer’s professional career – teaching. Despite its importance, teaching often lacks avenues for exploration and growth in the dance world. I admire how the program is centered around the artist and provides an open-ended, supportive environment for creativity to flourish. It is an honor to be a part of this residency, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to contribute to its vibrant community of artists.

What do you enjoy about choreographing and/or teaching dance?

I strongly believe that teaching and choreography are interconnected and mutually enriching processes. As a teacher, I am constantly learning from my students simply by observing, listening, and being receptive to their perspectives. As a choreographer, one of the most exciting and challenging aspects of my work is to lead and guide dancers in highlighting their unique voices within a structured art form like bharatanatyam. Watching dancers bring their own interpretations and nuances to the choreography, while staying true to my overall vision is a truly rewarding experience.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue this type of career?

Pursuing a career in dance is a journey that can be long and winding, without a clear destination in sight. To navigate this path, it is important to remain open to new experiences and opportunities that may arise along the way. It is also crucial to cultivate empathy towards the people you work with, whether they are students or dancers, and to never assume that you are better than anyone else.

It is okay to admit when you don’t know something and always seek to learn from every opportunity or person you encounter. I have found that some of my most valuable lessons come from my youngest students, reminding me to stay curious and open-minded in my approach to teaching and choreography.

Connect with Nitya Narasimham:

Instagram: @nittuwit and @prayuktiarts

Facebook: @prayuktiarts