Dance builds confidence
Sheela Raghavan. Accountant & Bharatanatyam dance teacher
Mahavidya Dance Theatre, Kuala Lumpur 2017
As a child, Sheela learned to dance from some of the most prominent teachers in India. It was her mother who first introduced her to dance. Looking for an outlet for dance, she found an orphanage near her house where she began to teach.
Taking a break from dance to have her children, she started to dance again when her doctor mentioned that children from the low-cost flats in Brickfields could do with some activity. The underprivileged would not be able to afford dance classes so she just decided she would teach them. That was 15 years ago and she has been teaching ever since.
In her journey, she has learned valuable lessons about the resilience of the human spirit. Her classes are not simply about dance but about building confidence, and her students apply the same principles to their school work.
Sheela has hopes for her seven oldest students, two of whom are already 23, to continue in her footsteps. She hopes they will also teach so she can decentralise the teaching. She has seen for herself how dance has influenced the children’s outlook on life.
“A child’s self-assurance is strengthened when she goes on
the stage to dance in her beautiful costume. No one can ever
put them down after,” says Sheela of the girls who come from
Some of these children have defied the odds and gone on to further their studies at university level.