Mini Bio (1)
Sheetal Gandhi was born in Oakland, CA to parents Jyoti and Naren Gandhi, originally from Mumbai, India. Sheetal's father was a brilliant man and came to America on a TATA Scholarship to study his Masters in Engineering. Upon receiving his degree from Purdue University in Indiana, he bought a Greyhound bus ticket - $90 for 90 days. On this one bus trip, he visited numerous cities all around the U.S. A man who appreciated beauty and nature, he fell in love with San Francisco. But first, he needed to get married. So he went back to India, met Jyoti, and the two settled in Berkeley, CA. Eventually, Sheetal was born, and soon after followed her brother Sunil, and several years after that was her baby brother Sachin.
Sheetal started her first formal lesson in the arts as a musician. She had a musical ear and could easily pick up tunes on her toy xylophone. Her parents put her in piano lessons, and it was this early training in music that has influenced Sheetal to this day. By the time she was 13 years-old, she had moved from piano to dance and the performing arts in general. She sang, acted and danced through elementary, junior and high school, and eventually attended U.C. Irvine as a double major in dance and psychology.
While studying at U.C. Irvine, Sheetal studied with and performed for her most influential dance mentor to date, world-renowned modern dance choreographer, Donald McKayle. McKayle encouraged Gandhi's love for rhythm and character work. This love for rhythm and culture inspired Gandhi to spend a year in Ghana, West Africa, where she was deeply immersed in the music, dance and culture of the region. She performed as a guest artist with the National Ghana Dance Ensemble and traveled throughout villages of Ghana performing traditional dances with the Novisi Cultural Troupe. Within her own culture, Sheetal grew up folk dancing and in 1995 moved to India to further study the north Indian classical dance form Kathak. As a percussionist, Sheetal plays the Calabash, or dried gourd, and the West African Xylophone.
In 1996, she moved to New York City where, over the next three years, she performed in a variety of plays and musicals including: Fables, Children of Eden, and Hair. She sang with the all women's a cappella group Anam Cara - Angels of A cappella and was a key player in the reconstruction and performance of the works of Hadassah, (Hadassah was a pioneer of Israeli and Indian dancing in America in the 1950's, 60's and 70's and chairwoman of the ethnic division at New Dance Group in NYC).
In 1999, Sheetal moved to Montreal and began working on the new Cirque du Soleil production, Dralion. She was hired to create a character, Oceane Goddess of Water, using elements of Indian classical dance blended with a more contemporary style. With a company of over 53 performers from eight countries, Sheetal was one of only two Americans. She performed the leading role for 2 years on tour; doing 10 shows a week throughout Canada and the United States. Sheetal has appeared twice on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as well as The Donny and Marie Show. She can be heard singing on the original American Cast Recording of Children of Eden and dancing in the DVD/VHS released and Emmy award-winning movie, Dralion.
From 2001-2004, Sheetal was Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco-based modern dance company, California Contemporary Dancers. And in 2004, she was part of the original cast of the hit Broadway show, "Bombay Dreams".
Today, Gandhi is based in Los Angeles where she initiates her own creative projects, choreographs and acts for theater, film, and television, and offers workshops and school-assembly shows that serve to educate, inspire and entertain. She holds an M.F.A. in dance from UCLA and teaches at various universities. She collaborates with artists and theater companies including Cornerstone Theater, Dan Froot and the Who's Hungry project, Post Natyam, South Coast Repertory, and more.
Gandhi's acclaimed solo dance-theater work, Bahu-Beti-Biwi, which received the 2012-13 NDP Touring Award has been performed widely across the U.S. and in over 5 countries. She was also awarded two prestigious artist residencies in 2014 (Djerassi and Montalvo), the 2012 Annenberg Community Beach House Choreography Residency, a 2011 COLA Individual Artist Grant, the LA Dance Advance Grant, and was a participating member of the 2012 Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange (CHIME) Program. Her passion for inter-cultural exchange has been supported by the 2010 Asia Pacific Performance Exchange (APPEX), a Cultural Exchange International (CEI) fellowship in Amsterdam, and an invitation to attend the Tanzmesse International Festival for Contemporary Dance in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Gandhi's commitment to artistic innovation, personal transformation and social change continues to lead her to work with various artists and non-artist communities - both locally and abroad - where she strives to build bridges across class, gender, age and cultural differences through the arts.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous