Keeping Healthy Through Dance with Akshata Raghotham

Whether you're a qualified dancer, a Gangnam Style dancer, when nobody is looking dancer or an only after three gin & tonics dancer, we all love to throw some shapes to our favourite songs. Whether you're good or bad at it, it doesn't matter because the benefits of dancing are outstanding especially when you're dealing with stress at university. 


The health benefits of dancing are similar to those of yoga. It improves memory function, provides mental stress relief, it improves balance and coordination and it doesn't matter what age you are or where you are, dancing is something everyone can take part in.


 Akshata Raghotham will be joining the University of Limerick in September to study her MA in Dance Performance. Find out why she started dancing and why she encourages more students to take part in dance and yoga.


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Tell us a bit about yourself in four sentences


I am from Bangalore, India. I am a traveller and performer. Previously, I was part of a dance company which gave me the opportunity to travel and perform across different cities of India. Visiting various places inspire me as a dancer and as an artist I believe in attention to details.


What are you studying and why?


I finished my undergraduate in BA Choreography last year from Bangalore. I will be joining University of Limerick in September for  a MA in Dance Performance (Contemporary Dance). I always wanted to take up dance as my profession and that's the reason I am here today doing what I have always been wanting to do.


Why did you choose to study at Limerick University?


After thorough research, I came across  an MA in Dance Performance at the University of limerick which best suited my interest. I read a lot about the course and the opportunities thaat it provides students, the facilities and, of course, the beautiful campus. I was so happy to have found the perfect combination of everything.


How long have you been dancing for and what got you interested in dancing?


I have been dancing since the age of five, but professionally I started four years back. Before that, I used to dance and choreograph for Bollywood songs and took part in various dance competitions at school level. 


As I mentioned earlier, I started dancing at a very young age. Ever since, dance has been my favourite hobby and now I want to make that a career.


What's your favorite part about dancing?


Creation!! You can emote any feeling through dance. It's a way of expression. Before going on stage, the amount of work which goes in, research. During this journey of dance we evolve as an artist.


Your Instagram bio says that you are a movement artist, what is that?


To me, movement is way of unraveling and what we do with our body is an art. That is what movement artist is to me. Everybody can move and everybody is an artist which we often forget to notice.


What are you hoping to get out of your course at university?


I want to learn various disciplines of dance, improve myself as an artist and performer. More challenges, various disciplines and, in the journey, learn about myself and understand my core strengths.

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You also do yoga, how long have you been doing yoga for and what got you interested in it?


I started learning Yoga when I was doing my undergraduate in Dance and Choreography. Yoga was part of my course and it was compulsory for all the students to attend Yoga classes. This kept our minds fresh throughout the day. It also helped us deal with stress levels during our choreography productions. This is the reason i decided to continue Yoga.


Yoga is supposed to be very beneficial for mental health. would you encourage other students to get involved with yoga while studying?


I would definitely encourage other students to get involved with Yoga as it calms our mind and help us cope with our stress level.  It is not only beneficial for our mental health but also for our physical fitness, which is a great combination to stay healthy.


What are your hopes and dreams for after university?


 I am an Indian Contemporary dancer and I have also been trained in Indian Martial Art. My dream is to blend contemporary technique with other dance forms to create movements, choreographies/ repertoires and spread this globally. I would never want to give up performing as well. 

Daniel Hinkley