Mythili Kumar is the founder, choreographer and artistic director of Silicon Valley-based Abhinaya Dance Co. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the award-winning dance company that is recognized for teaching Indian classical dance & innovative dance dramas. Besides teaching dance, Kumar also teaches classical Indian dance forms at the University of California in Santa Cruz.
We sat down to speak with Kumar about how she got interested in dance and her journey from India to California and the founding of Abhinaya Dance Company. Kumar came to study nutrition science at the University of California, Davis in the late 1970s. She moved to Silicon Valley after her marriage and got involved with teaching dance at her school and at local universities like Stanford, San Jose State University and University of California, Santa Cruz.
LISTEN: MYTHILI KUMAR OF ABHINAYA DANCE COMPANY
Besides Kumar, her daughters Rasika Kumar and Malavika Kumar also teach at Abhinaya Dance Company.
We were curious to find out her story and how she came to combine her twin passions – science and dance and pursue them with equal dedication. Kumar grew up in a home surrounded by science, dance and music. Her father is a hardware engineer and her mother is an educator and dancer, who founded Abhinaya Dance Company.
We had lots of questions for Kumar. How did her parents influence and mentor her? When did she develop an interest in math and science? Did she have challenges doing her math homework at high school? How did she decide to study computer science at MIT? What does she have to give up to keep her twin interests in science and dance? Was she ever torn about giving up one for the other? Tune in to find out the answers to these questions and more.