Tell Us Your Story: Harshal Varpe

Students participate in a Bollywood dance lesson from graduate student Harshal Varpe. Photo by Lauren Finan/Spectrum.

Students participate in a Bollywood dance lesson from graduate student Harshal Varpe. Photo by Lauren Finan/Spectrum.

By Peter Ciocca

Staff Reporter

Graduate Assistant in the Office of Graduate International Student Affairs, Harshal Varpe takes his passion of dance and spreads it to the Sacred Heart University dance company.

Varpe, who was born in India, started dance classes when he was 18-years-old and began dancing with the dance company, Shiamak Davar International located in India.

He traveled around India to teach dance to people from all ages.

“Dancing is God’s gift to me, previous generations in my family have danced as well, it is in my blood,” said Varpe.

Aside from dancing for Shiamak Davar International, Varpe was involved in marketing and executive communications. He wanted to be close to New York City and study communications, which inspired him to seek his masters at Sacred Heart.

“America is the land of dreams, land of opportunities and that’s why my decision was to come here and live my dream,” said Varpe.

The style of Bollywood dancing is something Varpe has specialized in since coming to Sacred Heart.

“The diversity of India inspired Bollywood dancing as it includes Indian folk-dances and Indian classical dance forms,” said Varpe.

In addition to it being a mixture of different dance genres, it still incorporates its own moves and rhythm, but makes it possible for one to focus on one certain dance genre.

Dr. Lori Bindig introduced him to the director of performing arts who invited him for an audition, which landed him a spot in the dance company at Sacred Heart.

“I never turn down an opportunity to experience and teach dance to Americans,” said Varpe.

Varpe ended up teaching a Bollywood class in which the response for the class was great and they ended up performing in the Winter Light concert that took place last
December.

“The response for the show was something that I literally could not put into words. To come to America and receive that kind of welcome was phenomenal for me to see,” said Varpe.

Varpe is planning to display his Bollywood dancing style in the Sacred Heart Dance Ensemble’s next show, which takes place March 24 and 25, in the Edgerton Center on campus.

He uses dance as a therapy because it makes him gain balance and gives him something to focus on other than work or classes. Being a graduate student here, Varpe has really enjoyed his time. The guidance from his directors made this experience so memorable
for him.

“Kathy Dilkes is the best boss in the universe, she has been a large contributor to my growth at Sacred Heart,” said Varpe.

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