Photos by Jim StricklandPrachi Dalal is a dancer, artist and museum educator. A talented dancer trained in Kathak, a classical dance form from north India, she recently performed as part of ArtsAhimsa at the Summit of Iraqi and American Women organized by the Global Peace Initiative for women. She has performed in India, Washington D.C. and New York. She performed at the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution, the Folklife festival and at the annual festivals of the Indian Dance Educators Association based in the
DC area. She was also the first dancer to perform at the Diwali celebrations at the White House in Washington D.C. She taught Kathak at the Durga Temple in Fairfax, VA for three years. After moving to New York she has performed at the Queens Museum of Art and given a workshop at the Rubin Museum of Art.Born in Bombay (India), she grew up learning dance, studied miniature painting from artists in Rajasthan, and completed her Bachelor in Commerce from University of Bombay. Growing up, she began to observe that many threads of a rich cultural fabric were gradually being lost with every passing generation. This kindled in her a keen desire to preserve artistic and cultural heritage by reaching out to people and nurturing in them sensitivity for the traditional arts by enabling them to make connections with these resources, and providing communities a more meaningful interaction with artistic and cultural traditions.
To achieve these goals, she joined a graduate program in Ancient Indian Culture at University of Bombay. In fall 2000, she arrived in Washington D.C. to pursue a Masters in Tourism Administration with a concentration in Destination Management and a focus on Cultural-Heritage Tourism at the George Washington University. Her goal through tourism is to enable tourists/visitors to interact with cultural heritage resources and help them cross boundaries, not only geographical but also cultural, kindle curiosity and a sense of exploration, help make connections to past and present, broaden perspectives and nurture human sensitivity.During her work as a Museum Educator and Community Outreach Educator at the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution, she has been involved in a wide range of areas within the education department such as- community outreach programs, school programs, teacher workshops, docent training, and organizing performances and public programs. She also worked with the Smithsonian Center of Folklife as a cultural liason for a delegation of Indian artists for the 2002 Folklife Festival called "Silk Road: Connecting Cultures, Creating Trust."
As a teaching artist for the Freer and Sackler's multi-visit program, she has conducted dance workshops in inner-city DC Public. She has conducted dance workshops at the Freer and Sackler galleries for special groups. She presented Kathak at Asia-Pacific Heritage family festival at the museum called 'Dancing across Cultures' (May 2-3, 2003). She coordinated a performance called "Dances of Celebration: Folk traditions from India," on the Freer steps as part of 'Art Night on the Mall', which showcased four folk dances from four different regions in India involving about 30 dancers and musicians from the local DC area.
She started learning dance at the age of seven. As a disciple of Guru Madhurita Sarang, she bloomed under her careful guidance as a mature dancer. She has taken Kathak workshops with maestros such as Pt. Birju Mahara and Smt. Kumudini Lakhia. As part of the dance troupe at Nritya Darshan, she performed in several productions all over India including at the All-India Festival of Kathak in New Delhi, the Kathak festival in Lucknow, and at venues such as Nehru Center, Bombay. Currently she is also a part of the troupe of Sarang Academy of Performing Arts based in New Jersey.