Arts & Culture

Honors Students Come Together Through Shared Passion for Dancing


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2018) Students in the University of Kentucky Lewis Honors College created Kentucky Karana, a nationally competitive program that brings students together through a shared passion for dance.

Founded in the spring of 2016 by UK students Sneha Rajan, Monica Shah and Chaitra Tirumalaraju, Kentucky Karana is a Bollywood-fusion dance team that combines Indian and American dance styles together to showcase South Asian arts and culture. The program was created to allow students of Indian heritage to continue to connect with their background while attending school and introducing Indian heritage to students interested in learning about it.

Rajan, Shah and Sara Lee, who serve as this year’s co-captains, are responsible for creating all the choreography Kentucky Karana performs for shows and competitions. The team practices twice a week normally, and every day on the week leading up to a competition.

“Traveling and performing together is so much fun, and we are all connected by this common love of dance which makes the bond so much more special,” Rajan said.

The students say that the Lewis Honors College recognizes that successful people are diverse in culture and interests, and so they make an effort to go beyond their classroom education by pursuing different passions, even if they do not always correlate with their chosen career paths. While it might seem overwhelming for Honors students to also be a part of such a competitive extracurricular activity, the students believe it makes them more motivated and driven to manage their time and activities.

“My connection to Honors definitely encouraged me to found this team,” Shah said. “Honors advisors were so encouraging of me pursing the creation of a new student organization and have been there to help navigate the process.”

The 12 members of Kentucky Karana are busy preparing for their next performance at the Black Student Union’s annual talent show, Apollo XIX, scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center in Lexington. They are preparing a routine that combines Indian dance styles with various Western dance forms.

Students interested in joining Kentucky Karana can learn more about the program by visiting their Facebook page or become a member through their OrgSync. Although many of the members are a part of the Lewis Honors College, Kentucky Karana is not limited to Honors students.