About 50 Years

The Journey – 50+ years

Vishal Ramani doesn’t remember when she began to study dance, but she believes she was kicking her legs in the cradle because dance has always been a part of her life. Vishal Ramani grew up in a musical family. Her mother sang and played violin and she enrolled Vishal at the Raja Rajeshwari Bharata Natya Kala Mandir school of dance in Mumbai, India, when she was only three years old. Vishal performed her solo dance debut, or Arangetram, at the age of seven, and continued to study with her gurus Mahalingam Pillai and Srimati Karunamambal, as well as many other renowned teachers. When she moved to the United States in 1974, she faced new challenges. There were fewer Indians in the Bay Area at that time and there wasn’t as much interest in the arts. Her dance teachers were in India and she wasn’t yet connected to an Indian dance community in the United States. She found a way to keep her identity as a dancer by starting her own school and becoming the first person in the Bay Area to teach this art form, and sustain it. In thirty plus years as a teacher she has trained over one thousand students – Mari Pongkhamsing, Special Project Coordinator, Alliance for California Traditional Arts, 2006.

The Studio innauguration