Performing with passion, Kosuri dances into the spotlight

Ana Cuen, Guest Contributer

Lights shine on the bright-colored dresses and jewelry on stage as intricate choreography performed by dancers captivates many in the audience. 

But there’s no stage fright for junior Shivani Kosuri.

After all, she’s been dancing for a majority of her life. 

From small studios to competitions on Houston stages, she has developed a talent and love for Indian dancing. 

“I started dancing when I was five years old, and it’s because of all the Indian movies I watched as a kid,” Shivani  said. “Like they had these professional dancers and I thought that was super cool.”

From a young age it was apparent to her dad that Shivani was dedicated to dance. 

 “Shivani grew up loving dance as a child,” father Praveen Kosuri said. “Her love for the art of dance developed as she started to have been challenged with complex movements and expressions required in that art form.”

Shivani’s mom, Sue Kosuri, has watched her passion become a reality, as Shivani has become an experienced dancer.

“[She] has been dancing since she could walk,” Sue said. “In the past 13 plus years, she has taken lessons in the American classics like Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, as well as Indian dance like Kuchpudi and Bollywood.  She has performed at many events including Dallas Mavericks game and competed successfully over the years.”

Shivani is now a part of the competing team in her studio, Stage Skuare

“There’s different levels in our studios, and I’m on the professional teams,” Shivani said. “So we go to different competitions. We don’t necessarily have to audition to do the dance, but in order for us to be able to compete, we have to audition to see if we can be placed in the competition for judges to watch us.” 

As a social person, it has become apparent to her parents how dance has aided in her aspects of her life.

“She has had inspiration from her friends who have impressed her in their own way of expressing the art of movement,” Praveen said. “Music and movement along with social recognition for her art has significantly helped her build confidence in her personality which has helped shape who she is today.”

Shivani has grown up dancing with her friends, where others in her studio appreciate her energy. 

“I’ve known Shivani since middle school, and we instantly had a bond,” teammate Saisha Karri said. “She’s one of the most energetic dancers I have ever danced with, and she radiated positivity.”

Spending several hours a week in the studio, Shivani sometimes finds difficulty balancing her dancing and AP workload. 

“Sometimes it can be difficult,” Shivani said. “There have been times where if a certain student doesn’t do part of a performance, I’ve been called in at 11 p.m., and had to get my butt over there for practices because our competitions or shows would be the following day. Or we’d have to learn dances the night before or have to  perform them the day of. So sometimes it can be very difficult, especially with all the AP classes and homework I have to do.”

Shivani’s drive has become apparent to her dance teammates, as she is constantly working. 

“She always makes sure to put her best foot forward, and practices for countless hours until she reaches her goal,” Karri said. “I’m really glad to say I’ve seen her grow as a dancer throughout the years. You can see her passion and years of dedication through any of her performances.”

With Indian heritage, Shivani enjoys sharing her culture with others. 

“For me personally, Indian dancing is a really big part of our culture,” Shivani said. “Especially because whenever we have parties and big events, such as my sweet 16 that I had this summer, I choreographed some dances as part of our entertainment for people to watch and specific dances I used to do especially like when I did classical dance. It had a meaningful story about like the gods and different cultural things.” 

Shivani’s dancing schedule will soon be challenged, as there will be different paths after high school. 

“I definitely do want to keep dancing when I am in college or something,” Shivani said. “Even if I don’t get to continue with the studio, I might be able to teach with the other instructors there to teach other students that are younger than me”

Shivani’s success has come with difficult bumps that have made her stronger. 

“In addition to learning to work hard to become a good dancer, she has also learned about rejection when she did not get selected during auditions” Sue said. “Being rejected made her stronger and a better dancer.  She learned that the most important thing is to keep on going and to not give up. As a result, her passion for dance grows daily as she continues to perform and amaze us with her graceful techniques.”

While dancing may be an extra curricular to some, for Shivani it is a meaningful part of her life. 

“My favorite part is probably being able to express things, and the way I feel, through something I love doing,” Shivani said. “Because dancing makes me feel a little emotional.”ja