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Lokvani Talks To Hema Iyengar And Vandana Rao

Ranjani Saigal

Motivated by their common passion for arts and wellness, Senior QA manager Hema Iyengar and the State Director for Water Policy, Dr. Vandana Rao co-founded the center for arts and wellness in Westborough, MA.  

Hema Iyengar, Senior QA manager at ikaSystems has learned dance from Sucheta Chapekar and more recently from Madurai Muralidharan. Dr. Vandana Rao learned music from Shri Mathur ji and more recently from Dr. Sadhana Upadhyay, Warren Sanders and Gundecha brothers.  The started the Center for arts and wellness  in Westborough, Ma. The center offers the following 

Dance: Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Belly Dancing. Bollywood Dance
Music: Hindustani Vocal, Carnatic Vocal, Hindustani Flute, Mridangam, Tabla/Dhol/Dholak, Western and Indian Guitar, Piano, Western vocal
Fine Arts: Painting, Film Making, Mehndi Design
Fitness and Wellness: Yoga; BollyAerobics; Zumba, Ayurvedic Treatments such as Masages, Facials, Shirodhara; Reiki
Little Medical School
Vacation and Summer Enrichment Programs

You both have full time professional careers. What motivated you to start this center? 

Hema: Both of us are passionate about art and wellness. I have studied dance seriously and Vandana has studied music. Both of us are particular about following healthy lifestyles. We try as much as possible to not use allopathic drugs and use natural cures. We felt that creative arts and wellness fit well together. Thus we decided we decided to start a place that is truly a one stop shop for all your arts and wellness needs. 

Vandana:  We also realized that often adults who would like to do Yoga and other wellness activities often do not have time to do that because of their schedules with their kids. So we thought if they could take Yoga while their child is in dance class it would be a good use of their time. 

What is the mission of your center? 

Vandana: Our vision is to provide the community with a wide array of classical and applied art classes as well as wellness related services under a single roof. We want to put a great emphasis on quality. All our practitioners are whetted and they have had extensive training in their areas of expertise.  Our focus is also to support new people who want to offer their services to the community. 

How did the two of you meet? How is it working together? 

Vandana: My daughters learn dance from Hema. Thus we got to know each other very well. Our daughters also are very good friends. We realized we had a common passion and together we were encouraged to start the center. Not being alone makes it easy for we are able to push each other. 

Hema: We have complimentary skills and that is very helpful. It  is wonderful to be able to bounce ideas of each other and work together through challenges. 

How has the journey been so far? 

Hema: Like any other startup the journey has been thrilling and hard at the same time. There is so much that needs to be done. 

Your space is really beautiful. Are you considering other uses of your space? 

Vandana: Yes. It is perfect for office retreats and other small events. We can host a music concert for up to 75 people.  We are also planning to offer classes during the day for office workers who work near by.  Our location is very convenient. We are right off of Rt 9.  

Any special message to the community? 

We have wonderful opportunities to support your creative  passions and address your wellness needs. We welcome you to join us and use our services. 

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