Katradi brings together people who are passionate about social change. What excites us is creating innovative, out-of-the-box strategies to jolt people out of their comfort zones and search within for the biases that create fear and separation. We constantly strive to nurture the empathy within ourselves and infuse it in every aspect of our work, creating powerful spaces of transformation.
“Hatred cannot be vanquished by hatred. The fractured world we live in today needs more empathy, more love to destroy the fear that underlies most conflicts and discrimination. The most important life lessons I've learned were in my dance classes as a child, learning to create rasa (a form of empathy), seeing every other being as an extension of oneself. This flame of understanding fuels every aspect of my work with people to trigger transformation.”
Sangeeta, founder of the Wind Dancers Trust, is a dancer-performer who developed the Katradi method, working in marginalized, underprivileged communities using the arts in education, empowerment and conflict resolution across 30 countries. For her scholarship in the arts, she has been honored with the highest national award for young dancers – the Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar. She is a Fellow of the International Institute of Conciliation, USA, and a Honorary Associate of the Nature Conservation Foundation, India. Speaking 8 international languages, she has taught in over 20 universities and international organizations. Sangeeta’s Tedx talk: View
“Curiosity, connecting people, a strong sense of justice, and a tremendous love of sports have been a part of me since I was a child. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be part of a movement that connects people separated by gender, color and economic status; Katradi, especially through the Bridging the Gaps programs, has allowed me to do this beyond what I thought possible. Sitting at my desk in a corporate office ten years ago, I never imagined that I could use sports and art to tap into teaching youth in such a profound way.”
Combining her passion for sports and expertise in nonprofit and corporate finance, Liz develops creative approaches of using sport for social transformation as well as heads the organizational side of Katradi. A graduate of the University of Michigan (BBA ‘03, MAcc ‘04) Liz worked in accounting and finance in New York before moving to non-profit management in New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina working with disaster relief agencies and charter schools. Liz was an Education Pioneers fellow (Los Angeles, 2013) before moving to India to work in sports for development.
Project Manager, FacilitatorThilaga Palani
“As a woman from my village, my caste, and my community I am told I need to get married and have babies but I always knew my path was different. I want to perform, to learn, to teach, to travel -- to see the world and share what I know. I have fought to be where I am and will fight for others too.”
In 2010, Thilaga graduated from the Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam as one of the first-ever female Kattaikkuttu performer, breaking the stereotype that this theatre-form is in the domain of men only. After working there for a few years as an assistant teacher and performer, she co-founded the Sri Krishna Kattaikkuttu Company. A versatile Kuttu artist who has performed in the UK, France and Malaysia, she has also interned with Theâtre du Soleil, headed by the renowned Ariane Mnouchkine. Thilaga is a dynamic and talented facilitator whose creativity, empathy and capacity for fun is endless.
“As a man my duty is to relieve my family of their crushing debt. My dreams of doing Kuttu always conflicted with the more urgent goal of getting a government job, maybe becoming a teacher in school and earning more money. Now, I am teaching, performing Kuttu and earning money - it is possible to marry dreams and reality.”
In 2010, Moorthy graduated from the Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam. He then earned a Bachelor's degree in Commerce while working with the Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam Young Professionals Company. Later he co-founded the Sri Krishna Kattaikkuttu Company which he continues to head today. He is a wonderfully talented Kuttu artist known for both his comedic and heroic roles and has performed in France and Malaysia. He is a self-reflective and thoughtful facilitator, with an approach that is equally intellectual and empathetic.