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Spotlight: Namita Khanna Nariani

admin | Front Row Profiles | Tuesday, 04 November 2008

Anyone who has watched Mudra Dance Studio perform is left feeling energized, thoroughly entertained and simply…happy. This is a testament to the founder, dance instructor and choreographer, Namita
Khanna Nariani, whose love of dance, music and humanity is woven into every performance. With each performance, Nariani shares her message of tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness to captivated audiences.

A residential and commercial architect by day, Nariani, who’s East Indian American, founded Mudra Dance Studio, a non-profit organization that promotes classical, folk and contemporary forms of Indian dance.

You’ve studied dance since the age of three. How has this shaped your thinking towards life in general?
Music, dance and performance have been a part of my life from a very young age. My parents were a part of a performing group part-time and my mom was in a few plays while she was pregnant with me. I am told that at the age of one, I would expect my grandparents to perform a drum concert, while I danced, and only then would I agree to eat. I guess the choreographer in me came to life before I could even walk. Dance was my outlet. As long as I can remember, I loved seeing the look in people’s eyes when they watched me dance. The look of joy, happiness, amazement and acceptance was the best compensation anybody could have given me. That is when I realized that people could learn, accept and love others, if they were educated through a medium that really touched their heart.


The World of Wendy Woo

admin | Front Row Profiles | Friday, 03 October 2008

In many ways, Wendy Woo is the quintessential Denver-area musician, transplanted to the area, growing up amidst the excitement and artistic innovation of Boulder in the mid-seventies, and mixing with the children of the area’s best and brightest of that time period. Her various musical incarnations have had a major impact on our music scene; first as a solo acoustic singer-songwriter, then as a powerful funky trio, and now as a four-piece band where each member is multi-faceted, and the overall effect is free flowing and improvisational.

But her Asian background is often overlooked by the mass of her fans, who are mostly interested in her eclectic sense of style. We wanted to know in what ways her experiences played a role in her various successes. Here’s what we found out.

It’s funny because [my music] is very American. I was born in New York City and grew up in Boulder. My father is Filipino/Chinese. He grew up in the Philippines, in Cebu, and then came over to the United States in the mid-sixties to go to NYU to study, and he sort of fell into the whole sixties movement of New York City. And loved it and loved this country and stayed and met my mom, who’s Irish.
They raised my sister and I around a lot of different art, and poetry and music. So it was a very artistic family… and an artistic time too.

Colorado Rapids’ Kosuke Kimura is a soccer pioneer

admin | Front Row Profiles | Thursday, 11 September 2008

Kosuke Kimura signs autographs for fans in Japanese kanji characters.

Kosuke Kimura is low-key about being the only Japanese-born player in Major League Soccer.

“I don’t really care that much about being the only Japanese,” he says. “That was the result of my playing hard in college. It doesn’t give me much pressure.”
Then he thinks for a moment and adds, “Maybe I should care a little more, and be a good example for Japanese people.”

Despite his nonchalance, Kimura is a pioneer in the sport. The Colorado Rapids defender was drafted out of Western Illinois in 2006, fulfilling his dream of playing professional soccer.

To achieve his dream, he had to overcome one enormous obstacle: When he made the decision at 18 to come to the U.S. he couldn’t speak English. And that’s a problem if you’re trying to attend college in America.

So before he could enroll, he had to learn English and pass the SAT. He approached his language education with the same dedication he brings to his sport.

Profiles in Experience: Hank Eng

admin | Front Row Profiles | Friday, 01 August 2008

Hankg Eng

So often in the world of politics, candidates are drawn by the media in caricature, as mere black and white sketches of “categories” of “positions” on “issues” – if you will. The problem for writers has always been finding a way to capture the complex network of experiences that form the human personality. How does one relate the myriad and indecipherable intricacies of thought and action in only a few words?

Consequently, little regard is paid to the notion that the psyche that is formed (by and large) by experience, by the unique decisions people make in life, and the roads they choose to travel down. (more…)