Monday class- 4:30 pm-7:00 pm
Tuesday Class-5:00 pm-7:00 pm
Firuzi Desai took her first steps into the world of dance at the age of four when she joined a school programme and trained in the Tanjore style of Bharatanatyam under Nritya Kala Guru Neela Raval, based in Gujarat, India. Encouraged and supported by her parents, she went on to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in Bharatanatyam under the aegis of Felicity Art. At the age of 13, Firuzi was selected to represent India in international dance festivals like Folklore Festival, Canada and Children dance festival in Turkey where she performed Indian classical dance and folk dances. Firuzi believes that the learning of a craft never ends. And in her relentless pursuit of excellence, she completed her Masters in Bharatanatyam under Guru Behnaz Todiwala of Utkarsh Dance Academy, Surat, India.
Today, besides working as a therapist, Firuzi has been choreographing, performing and conducting Bharatanatyam classes for 18 years in Pennsylvania, U.S.A through her institution Vedanta Dance Academy. Apart from teaching, she also loves to choreograph Bharatanatyam fusion and Bollywood dances.
Firuzi's love and passion for Bharatanatyam extends beyond the academic, and she has been spreading awareness about the classical dance form through various workshops in schools and colleges. She bas been imparting lectures as an adjunct professor at Cedar Crest College.
Prestigious events like India Heritage Day, Rising Together (in celebration of Women History Month), International Cultural Festival, Ten Tiny Dances and Yoga Fest have all supported and encouraged Firuzi's artistic vision.
When I first began learning Bharatanatyam at the age of eight, I had to start over with three different teachers and didn't make it further than the first dance. I had dropped out for five years when Guru Firuzi Desai called and said she had resumed classes. In the beginning, I thought it would be almost impossible to do my Arangetram. But by attending practise multiple times a week and working around my busy college schedule, I was able to complete my Arangetram. Dance has served as an outlet for expressing and challenging myself. But the best part of the process is being able to convey this very ancient art form to different audiences and telling stories through intricate hand gestures, rhythmic steps and various facial expressions.
Bharatanatyam is all encompassing and requires complete commitment from the student, which explains how easily one can become engrossed in it. And learning from an instructor who is very knowledgeable and passionate about the dance style makes the experience of learning dance even more enjoyable. Thank you, Firuzi Desai.
I have been a part of the Vedanta Dance Academy for the past 14 years and dancing has opened doors to many opportunities throughout my life. Dance has always served as an outlet for me to express myself and I am so grateful to everyone who has made my dance journey possible, particularly my parents and my Guru Firuzi Desai. I remember years ago struggling to bring expressions to match the steps and bring grace into my movements. While I am still learning, I can confidently say those initial hardships do not seem as daunting, and I know that with the support from those around me, I can go far. After completing my Arangetram four years ago, as the first graduating student of the Vedanta Dance Academy, I now love dancing more than ever.
Since then, my self-confidence has improved tremendously and I feel that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. Furthermore, I still continue to perform at various events and venues, and it gives me the same exhilaration and joy it always has. Ultimately, this quote by Wayne Dyer sums up what dance means to me: "When I dance, my purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor, it's to enjoy each step along the way. And my dance journey continues…