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Smitha Paily

Smitha Paily

Arts Education Artist
  • Dance
  • Traditional and Modern Indian Dance
  • Artist Specialty : Traditional and Modern Indian Dance


SMITHA PAILY is an accomplished performer, award winning choreographer and instructor of traditional, Bollywood, and modern Indian dances.  Smitha is the Founder and Artistic Director of Natya Kendra Dance Academy in Louisville. She has performed internationally in India, United States, Canada, and Singapore. She has contributed to the research of motion analysis of Classical Dances and the collaboration of technology in traditional dances in Singapore. Smitha has her own unique style of choreography and she has produced and choreographed various thematic dance dramas like Divine story of Prince Rama, Enchanting India, The Divine Family, Gokula Krishna, Rhythms of India, to name a few. Her choreography also includes dances for The Nutcracker, Aladdin, Lion King & The Little Princess. Smitha has performed for various fund raising events including the American Cancer Society, Catholic Charities of Louisville, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Crusade for Children and for various festivals and cultural exchange programs. She has been featured multiple times in the Courier- Journal Newspaper, WAVE 3 TV News, WLKY news, WDRB-FOX TV & WHAS-11 news. She has conducted master classes and dance workshops at various schools and universities in Kentucky and also serves as a dance faculty at the Sacred Heart School for the Arts.  In addition, she is a Showcase Kentucky and Kentucky Arts Council Education Roster artist that works with educators to design and implement quality arts education programs in Kentucky schools. Smitha has organized national and international entertainment conventions and she has been the entertainment chairperson for various non-profit organizations locally and nationally.  Her dance performances include traditional authentic costumes and appropriate props. Her vision is to share and teach the art of dance to adults and children, to increase their love for this art medium, and to enhance their self-confidence. For more information on performances and classes visit

Potential Residency Project

The goal of this project is to increase self-confidence and self-esteem by introducing students to the art of Indian dance (classical & Bollywood dance). This will provide an outlet for self-expression and an opportunity to learn something new and fun and to get exposure to the diversity in Indian culture. The project will introduce the students to the history and the influence of dance in Indian culture and the technical aspects of Indian dance. The students will be excited to learn about the meaning of the hand gestures that are used in the Indian classical dance and how they are incorporated into the dance. The dances will be selected according to the age of the participants.

Indian classical dance (Bharatanatyam & Mohiniattam) was created not merely for pleasure; it teaches wisdom and discipline. Hand gestures and facial expressions are used to communicate the ideas and thoughts to the audience.

Indian Bollywood dance is a blend of East and West. The term Bollywood is derived from the film industry in India - a combination of Bombay, a city in India, and Hollywood. In this form of dance, dancers dance according to high beat rhythm and music. The dance is a fusion of traditional and classical Indian dances with the influence of some jazz, hip hop and modern dance. This dance form is a fun work out with no age limit and anyone with no dance background can pick up this dance form. Bollywood dance is not only for entertainment, but can help to lose weight and increase self-confidence.

The 5-10 day residency project on Indian dance will be appropriate for grades K-12.

Indian dances, both Classical and Bollywood help children to engage in a multicultural experience and at the same time help to lose weight with physical activity in this era of video games. The program offers students the skills to develop their own talents in creating, performing, and responding to dance beyond the regular classroom. Based on their interests, the students will be taught the traditional or the Bollywood dance.

I will establish clear goals and expectations at the beginning of the lesson, so that there is no confusion or uncertainty about the class objectives. The parents will receive information about the project and what their children are learning. The students will be given a brief introduction about Indian culture and Indian dance in the beginning. The class teachers will always be present in the classroom to assist the artist with the instructions. The students are shown the basic steps. The students repeat the steps along with me. During this, the dancers learn about their distinctive potential, understand each other’s skills and learn to give opinions in a constructive way. The students are given the opportunity to understand, experience the elements of dance (space, time, force) and create dance with locomotor and non-locomotor movements. The students will be able to experience the purpose of dance, ceremonial or recreational. At the end of the session, assessment sheets, based on the age of the child and grade level, will be given to each student. The students will do a performance on what they learned at the end of the session in front of an audience. This will give the students an experience about the use of props, stage presence and dance techniques.

This project can be incorporated into social studies in learning the different aspects and diversity of Indian culture, physical education for fun and fitness, and arts and humanities classes. As a teaching artist, the most rewarding part of my life is when I see the faces of students after their performance in front of an audience who didn’t think they could do it.

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