“We have been fortunate to be part of the Shreyas dance family for over 6 years now, ever since my older daughter Sanjana started learning dance under Sheila, back in Aug 2009. I say ‘family’, because Sanju didn’t merely start learning an ancient dance form but was essentially welcomed into a loving family headed by Sheila and Shreya, and all the other young dancers and their always encouraging and supportive parents. From the start, Sheila has been a mother figure to the girls- patient yet firm, encouraging and always inspiring them to do their best. An incredibly passionate and dedicated teacher, she does not believe in rushing the kids and reiterates that the study of any traditional art form needs to be thorough and learning-oriented as opposed to being performance-oriented. The girls have tremendous love and respect for her. As for ‘Shreyakka’, the girls are always excited when she is at the studio, because she makes the classes a lot of fun with her innate joy and goofy sense of humor and then goes on to wow them with her exceptionally graceful dancing. Secretly, I think they all aspire to be just like her when they grow up 🙂 Here at Shreyas, everybody is always looking out for one another; this is especially evident during rehearsals and performances when everyone pitches in to help out in the best way they can- speaks a lot for the camaraderie we share. 6 years at Shreyas, and we feel incredibly blessed to be associated with the Narayanans and thankful for the great sense of pride in Indian art and culture that they have inculcated in our children. My younger daughter Neha has since, started learning dance here too, and I must say, both girls are proud to proclaim to their friends and family that they are Bharatanatyam dancers, but more so, that they are Sheila aunty’s students.”
– Priya M.
“As a child, one of my favorite books was “Angelina Ballerina” by Katharine Holabird. I was enchanted by the protagonist, a mouse named Angelina who was an avid dancer with dreams of becoming a world-famous ballerina. I asked my mother to enroll me in dance classes, with my own dreams of wearing pink tutus and twirling on my toes. My mother signed me up for classes with Sheila Aunty and thus began a journey unlike any I could ever dream of.
I never did wear leotards or ribbons in dance, but I had the pleasure of being introduced to the ancient South Indian art of Bharatanatyam. Some of my fondest memories growing up include receiving my first ‘salangai’, or anklets, and learning about the symbolism behind ‘mudras’ and ‘hastas’, hand gestures that we use in Bharatanatyam. The close-knit group of girls I danced with shared a sense of cultural awareness and companionship with me that I could never find at school. Both Sheila Aunty and Shreya Akka played a pivotal role not only in my dance career but in my personal growth. I always admired and strived towards their beauty, strength and grace. Without doubt, I would not be the person I am today without the many dance and life lessons given to me by Shreyas: An Expression of Dance.
The opportunity to learn Bharatanatyam under dancers as skilled as Sheila Aunty and Shreya Akka was truly a blessing and something I feel all young girls growing up should take advantage of. To be connected with the rhythm, language, and movement of South Indian culture gave me clarity of identity and confidence in step. I believe Angelina will agree with me when I say that dance, before serving all other purposes, serves the purpose of expressing the truth within our heart.”
– Vivekka S.
“We are so pleased and blessed to have Sheila and Shreya as the Bharathanatyam teachers for my children. Sheila and Shreya have both become family. We feel that we have an Aunt and a Cousin teaching my kids. I could not ask for a more comfortable environment than what they provide for the kids to learn. Their patience towards children is simply amazing. We joke that if only we could carry that level patience into our own homes. Also their accommodative teaching style makes the learning a lot of fun. They are both playful and also firm when need to be.
The performances they get the children to do once or twice a year in front of an audience further enhances the confidence and also gives the parents and family to appreciate the learning the children have gone through. Sheila and Shreya are both now family to us. We truly wish them well and continued success.”
– Arthi D.
“We are very happy that Meghna is learning dance from Sheila and Shreya. Meghna looks forward to going to dance class every week and excelling in Bharatanatyam and I attribute that to Sheila and Shreya. Sheila treats the kids as her own and is like a mother to them, very affectionate, patient, encouraging, but at the same time strict to bring out the best in them. I always say that not every great dancer can also be a great teacher and Sheila and Shreya are the few that are both. They consider all of us as their family (They have celebrated many of our birthdays at the studio with huge cakes and food). The kids are given plenty of opportunities to perform on stage and be part of the studio’s big dance productions. The quality is never compromised and Sheila ensures that kids are perfect for the performance with adequate practices. We love how Sheila helps us get the kids ready for the shows together at the studio, celebrate their victories post shows over pizza and cupcakes. These are very positive memories for our children as they grow up and I’m glad for that.”
– Sunitha B.
“Anusha has been a student of Sheila Narayanan for the past three years and she enjoys going to the Bharatanatyam class. We feel blessed to have found a great teacher in Sheila. Sheila is a very sweet, hardworking and patient teacher.
Anusha loves the fact that she is so encouraging and greatly appreciates the way she works along with her students on any areas of improvement.
While most of us would read and forget an article that we read in a newspaper, magazine or online, Sheila’s initiative to actually act upon it and start a drive to help out and donate, is absolutely commendable.
Anusha looks up to Shreya, she is a great role model and is very inspiring both in dance and outside as well.”
– Latha K.
“Our journey to the arangetram is something that we will cherish forever in our lives. We owe it to our teachers, Mrs. Sheila Narayanan and Shreya Narayanan. Sheila’s attention to details, total dedication, and incredible sense of musical rhythm helped me understand the nuances of bharathanatyam. Sheila gets such pride and joy when her students blossom beautifully at their own pace. Hence, her students truly enjoy this beautiful art from and make it part of their lives. Shreya’s passion, energy, and enthusiasm is so addictive. Her crisp and pure dance, clean lines, and flawless execution of eye, hand, and neck movements coordinated with precise steps is truly breathtaking.
Arnika and I are truly fortunate to have danced in some of the many big productions of Shreyas Arts like Krishna Leela, dashavatharam, and samarpana. High level of technical proficiency with such grace and beauty of story telling come to life on stage. Vast groups of audiences always enjoy them and talk about them for a very long time. Shreyas Arts donates to several charitable organizations from their theatrical productions.
Over these years, we have become family. Sheila is not only my teacher but a good friend who continues to inspire and guide me.”
– Aneetha K.
“I have been Sheila aunty’s student for almost 9 years. I felt very safe in her class. Sheila Aunty is like a mom and is always there to help you, and make sure you are doing the best that you can. I wasn’t very scared to make mistakes because I knew she would help me. She is very funny and class was always fun. While teaching dance, Sheila Aunty taught lots of discipline. We were always told to go home and practice. I really enjoyed my bharatanatyam experience thanks to her, Shreya, all the girls and their families. Thanks to this class I have made friendships that will last a long time. We accomplished a lot, like India festival, special programs, and performing wherever we could. I couldn’t have asked for a better dance experience.”
– Shreya P.
“I have been learning dance for the past ten years since the age of 5. To me, dance is a great way to express myself and develop the skills necessary for life. Sheila Aunty, my guru, not only teaches me dance, but also gives knowledge about the culture we are growing up in and teaches us life morals in the stories we hear through the music we dance to. Sheila Aunty with all her patience, determination, and compassion, helps each and every one of us with individualized attention. She works with us and mentors us and helps us reach our highest potential. I have not only learned a lot from Sheila Aunty but also a great deal from my mentor and one of my best friends Shreya Akka. Akka is in dance class whenever she has the chance, even when swamped with work, to help us and guide us in a way that we can understand. She is always available to talk and answer questions. Akka not only guides us but she has fun, and whenever she can, she dances with us. It feels great to be dancing with her because it makes you want to work harder. The atmosphere in the dance class is not only hard work and dedication, it is also fun. I will always remember the two most important things I learned from: practice and don’t forget to smile. I will and always have loved Shreyas Arts; it’s a home away from home.”
– Apoorva S.
“There are few memories that cannot be swept away by time, such a day is the day I first met Sheila also my first performance itself along with Guru in the stage. There are few persons in the world who come down, hold your hand, give comfort and take you up to the next level and how fortunate should I be to meet such a person and it’s a great boon to be a student in her dance school. Simple, Sincere, Perfection, Caring, Confident, Friendly, Punctual, Smiley, Patience are the Off-Stage Navarasam’s of Mrs. Sheila Narayanan.”
– Manjula R.
“Our daughter has been a student at Shreyas for about 5 years now, she enjoys learning from Sheila and loves performing at various cultural programs in the Tampa bay area. Our daughter has also participated in their last two mega dance-drama productions which have won great accolades from audiences of all stripes. We as a family are very appreciative of Shreyas’s contribution to Tampa community!”
– Julius D.
“My daughter, Shreya, started attending Shreyas Arts when she was 7 years old. Sheila was like a mom and was very patient with teaching the class fundamentals just like how I would want Shreya to be with her phonics as they both are the basis of the future of your child in their own spheres. Shreya has learnt a lot of discipline in Sheila’s class.
Sheila, Shreya (Sheila’s daughter) and the entire dance class with moms and dads too 🙂 has been a big family working together at classes, performances and India Festival participation.”
– Parul P.
“Few years ago, I walked into my first dance class at Shreyas Arts. From that hour until now, I have never regretted my decision to learn Bharatanatyam from Shelia Aunty. Shelia Aunty is like my mom during dance class, and she has incredible patience with everybody. Shreya Akka is a great friend and role model. Just her presence at dance class makes me want to dance better. I love Shreyas Arts and will continue dancing here for my whole career as a dancer.”
– Ananya S.
“Initially my daughter learnt dance from SHREYAS. Sheila is not only an excellent dancer but also a women who imparts her dance knowledge to her students in fine , easy and methodical way. She does not put too much of stress or pressure on the young dancers. She is very motherly and we always feel a lot of warmth and affection when we enter SHREYAS . A rhythmic music can be found in her teaching the sequence of steps which speaks voluminous of the art that she knows…In present day where Gurus do not like to be a part of their disciple, Sheila and Shreya are unique – they blend with their students vibrantly and vivaciously and always try to be there for them at any given time, further more they always try to do and bring out the best from their dancers where only a thorough professional can do.”
– Raji R.
“Sheila is a talented and gifted dancer and an excellent teacher. She gives equal attention to each kid in the group and ensures they all progress at the same pace all along. She treats each kid like her own kid and motivates and encourages them all along. Children get really excited when they see Shreya at Studio and loves it when Shreya takes classes. I am so happy that my daughter got an opportunity to learn from them.”
– Preetha J.
“I have been a student of Sheila’s since 2007 and I feel blessed to be a part of Shreyas Arts. Both Sheila and her daughter, Shreya, teaching techniques are kind and thoughtful as well as through, wonderfully challenging and tailored to each student’s needs without compromising the class as a whole. Being able to provide the individuality that each student needs, balancing and entwining this into the entire class is no easy task, but both Sheila and Shreya work above and beyond to ensure the success of everyone.
Sheila, Shreya and my fellow classmates have become family to me. Not only have I learned a great deal about dance as well as culture, but I have found peace, kindness and camaraderie at Shreyas Arts. Everyone there provides inspiration in their own way and this motivates me not only in dance, but also in life. I look up to everyone at Shreyas Arts, teacher and student alike, and find encouragement both inside and outside of the studio. Attending arangetrams fills me with hope and awe. The productions are always professionally done and the students are so happy to be dancing. And that’s the key; to see the delight and happiness in my fellow dancers, not only during performances but in the studio as well. Every performance involving Shreya’s students has been astounding and insightful for me. Everything from small, local venues, to the large statewide events such as the Florida State Fair, either individually or with a group. I’ve met so many great people via these performances.
Charity is a large part of Shreyas. Everyone including students, teachers and families alike band together consistently to help those in need. I recall one student donating funds from her Arangetram to medical research at her school. We’ve also gathered much needed supplies for women in need and the community response was astounding.
Sheila, Shreya as well as my fellow classmates have brought a sense of family, confidence as well as personal strength that I would not have found within myself otherwise. I am eternally thankful for being a part of Shreyas Arts and have nothing but praise for such a dedicated, caring and professional group.”
– Christina (Twigg) M.
“When we were looking for a Bharatanatyam teacher for our 4 year old, it was by the grace of God that we came across Sheila Narayanan. We could not have hoped for a better Guru for our daughter. She is patient and kind and has an extraordinary ability to teach the young ones and keep them interested in wanting to learn more.
Our daughter is now 15 and is training for her Arangetram. Sheila and her entire family has been with us every step of the way both in guidance and preparation of this extraordinary difficult event. She choreographs and designs these dances specifically to match each dancers ability.
We could not have been more blessed and pleased with a teacher who can teach and share this beautiful dance form to our daughter.”
– Jaya V.