By Dr. Ramana Vasili, Spiritual Foundation, Inc. –
Spiritual Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in Cordova, Tennessee to protect, preserve and promote Indian culture and heritage. The Indian Ballet Theater (IBT) is a dance division of the Spiritual Foundation and received an Arts Build Communities (ABC) grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission through Arts Memphis for FY2018. They also received an ABC grant for FY2017. Shelby County children, young adults, as well as any interested individuals of any age can learn Indian Classical Dance Kuchipudi from one of our training centers that IBT offers. Dance classes are offered on Thursday and Friday at Holy Apostles Church in Collierville, TN, and Saturday and Sunday at India Cultural Center and Temple, Eads, TN.
During the last three years, students who trained at IBT under this grant and several other projects gave astonishing performances not only in Memphis, but in big cities like Saint Louis, MO, and Chicago, IL. This year, IBT students gave a live dance performance for Local Memphis TV24. In addition, the students performed live for The Arc, an organization that works with people with mental disabilities and physical limitations.
This past year, the Spiritual Foundation, Inc. represented the Mid-South on the national stage during the international celebrations of North America Telugu Association, Chicago, IL, and Telugu Association of North America, Saint Louis, MO. IBT lead dance teacher and co-founder, Smt. Chandra Prabha Vasili along with Yogita Manasa Dintakurthi, Mounika Kandakatla, Sahasra Sasipalli, Rashmita Bayanna, Asmita Boddu, Ashwika Bandaru, Sahasra Thota, Saanvi Kuntamalla, Nidhi Chennam, Vaishnavi Pilli, Naidrua Menothuperambil, Shanthi Ballepu and Rithika Pagala (also known as “Dancing Bells of India) proved to be the most talented Indian Classical Dancers in the Mid-South.
Lastly, Spiritual Foundation students gave a live performance at Liberty Bowl Stadium for Bridge Builders in their YOUnified summer youth event and also delivered two electrifying performances at India Cultural Center and Temple (ICCT) during the celebration of Kumbabhishekam, a ritual marking the completion of another 12 years — the 2nd time since the temple was built. During the temple’s Vinayaka Nimajjan, in collaboration with Telugu Association of Memphis and India Association of Memphis, IBT gave several local performances.
I would like to thank Art Memphis and the Tennessee Arts Commission for their generous support and look forward to working with them in the coming years.