Dr. Varudhini Reddy
1. What is your background in both dance and medicine? Why did you decide to pursue these two disciplines?
I professionally trained in Indian classical dance, Bharatnatyam, since the age of 5 years old. My first performance was on the grounds of the Hindu Temple in Hockessin, Delaware, my hometown. I later on learned other forms of classical indian dance from Kuchipudi to Kathak, as well as popular bollywood dance. I performed throughout various arenas through the tri-state area as a solo dance choreographer from the American Telugu Association national convention events, and pageants including Jewel of India in Delaware. I later joined the Delaware Kamaal Dance Team at the University of Delaware. Through this collegiate dance team we nationally competed at bollywood dance competitions throughout the United States, charity fundraisers, and other collegiate events in Delaware. Our team won several awards. I danced on this team for four years prior to attending medical school. During medical school I joined the Indian Students Association and performed at cultural events on the island of Dominica. Following medical school I began a personal blog about dance and medicine on a personal website. (This blog is private until I am a full fledged physician!) I wrote about several topics from movement therapy, to kinesthetic empathy, yoga, and mindfulness. I was fascinated about the link between dance and health as a growing physician. I wanted to be able to share my knowledge with others and began expanding my knowledge in yoga. I authored a publication in the New York Academy of Family Physicians, Family Medicine Journal called the “Exploration of Indian Arts and Movement Therapy.”
Excerpt from my blog: (www.varudhinireddy.com)
“Through my own experiences and years of performing up until the end of college, I have experienced dance and art as a way to channel my energy into the environment for positive transformation. Losing yourself in front of thousands of people is an incredibly gratifying feeling. Likewise, any member of the audience may also be able to lose themselves in the moment by taking part in the performance – simply by creating its own meaning, feeling, or sense of awareness to himself or herself. Reaching this level of new consciousness by either performer or observer is an example of the exchange of ideas, feelings, and knowledge without speaking a single word. This is what it means to be transformed by art.”
- Reddy, Varudhini. “Exploration of Indian Arts and Movement Therapy.” Family Doctor, A Journal for the New York State Academy of Family Physicians, Spring 2021 Volume 9, Number 4, Page 29-30.
- Bollywood America National Competition. Delaware Kamaal Dance Team. San Diego, California. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KyOX9VLbYM
2. When was the first time you performed, and what part of that experience do you still carry with you?
The first time I performed was as a young girl, only 5-7 years old, in front of a large audience at the Hindu Temple of Delaware. It was my first time to wear “ghungroo” or musical anklets that are tied around the anklets of Indian classical dancers to intensify their rhythmic movements and add to the overall visual and musical performance. I was so excited I got to wear these anklets. I did not care about being shy or performing in front of an audience.
3. Such creative journeys often face great challenges and successes. What event(s) inspired or challenged you personally to pursue dance and incorporate that practice into your medical training?
Excerpt from my blog: www.varudhinireddy.com
“Creative power can be thought of directing the flow of life force energy to manifest something new, for example your dreams or goals. For this reason, not only may we improve our health through practicing yoga, but perhaps harness our dormant creative energies to create something new or redirect our lives in a positive direction. Have you ever wanted to change your life or manifest your dreams? Meditation, yoga, or dance, may be some proven tools throughout time and science to help you. I encourage others to explore the many health benefits movement meditation has to offer themselves and others in order to unleash their individual power or “kundalini.” I encourage others to explore the performance arts to channel their own creativity into the world.”
4. How do you blend your work in dance and in medicine? What’s one piece of advice you can share for aspiring artist-physicians?
Excerpt from my blog: www.varudhinireddy.com
“For millennials, cultures have used the display of movement or dance to connect others…Performances were used to transmit themes, issues, and feelings to the audience. Empathy is ability to share feelings with another. What can we do to increase kinesthetic empathy between ourselves and others? What kind of impact will this have on our relationship with ourselves and others? Increasing one’s ability to intuit the feelings of others through movement
may increase our ability to connect with each other. I encourage others to explore any type of movement or dance to bring richness to their own life and to that of others.”