Embracing Dance, Spirituality, Homeschooling and more – About the Cover Model
By Annette Pinder
Gaitrie Subryan was born in Guyana, a British-owned English-speaking country in South America considered part of the Caribbean region. Guyana is a mix of cultures Inhabited by Indian, African, Amerindian, Chinese, Portuguese, and other European people. Gaitrie’s and her husband Heamchand, is also from Guyana “People see our brown skin and think we are from Indian, but we are really a mix of the rich Guyana traditions reflected in the food, music, culture, and Hindu religion of our families.”
Gaitrie came to the U.S. with her family when she was just five years old under the sponsorship of her grandmother. “We lived together in a small two-bedroom apartment in the Bronx. With my grandma, there were nine of us — four kids and five adults while my father remained in Guyana waiting until he could be sponsored,” said Gaitrie. She doesn’t remember living in such close quarters as a particularly difficult time “I mostly remember the fun I had playing with my cousins, our closeness, eating delicious food, and how every day felt like a party.” Gaitrie longs for these days now as she awaits being safely reunited with her relatives, who still reside in the Bronx.
After spending 13 years in the Bronx, Gaitrie left for UB where she majored first in Business and then Psychology, which helped with her entrepreneurial endeavors. It was there that Gaitrie discovered and cultivated her love for dance. “I became actively involved with a student-run organization whose members were Indian, Bengali, and Pakistani who also loved dance.” Since dance wasn’t their major, the group resorted to finding empty hallways or classrooms where they could practice. We’d finish our homework and dance until 1 or 2 am. Our informal dance group choreographed pieces for a variety of UB shows and cultural events.”
Gaitrie kept dance as an essential part of her life after she graduated and returned to New York City, joining Bollywood Axion Dance (www.bollywoodaxion.com). Later, she would become a member of the Sa Dance Company (www.sadancecompany.com) headquartered in New York and Los Angeles. Sa dancers were trained in Western and Indian dance forms, including Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Ballet, Hip-hop, Jazz, Garba, Bhangra, and Bollywood. The group has performed at Lincoln Center, The Ailey Citigroup Theater, The Peabody Essex Museum, Rubin Museum of Art, Museum of Art & Design, Battery Downtown Dance Festival, and New York City Fashion Week, to name a few. Gaitrie continues to practice with the group virtually and looks forward to future live shows.
As Gaitrie homeschools her young son Shiv who turns five in February and her two-year-old twin daughters Karishma and Divya, she incorporates her own love for music, dance, yoga, and mindfulness. School days, which take place Monday through Friday from 9:45 to 11:30 am, begin with a school bell, Simon-Says, exercise to get the kinks out, and a short one or two-minute meditation. The kids are learning Spanish and American Sign Language, love science experiments, and recently hatched their own dinosaur!
Gaitrie and her husband have much in common. Heamchand’s family also settled in the Bronx when they left Guyana, and the couple unknowingly attended the same high school. With UB and friends in common, it was only natural for them to meet and marry. The love for a common culture manifests itself through their appreciation for food. Their favorite dishes are Thai, Korean, and Indian-inspired, while her children’s favorite is Guyanese soup dumplings.
Gaitrie, who is certified to teach yoga to children and adults, conducts virtual classes through East Meets West. She is exploring new art forms including painting and sketching, pursuing Kathak Dance through the Leela Institute www.theleelainstitute.org, and creates podcasts called Beyond the Studio connecting individuals to artists. She looks forward to meeting safely again with Devi Bollywood Performing Arts (www.devibollywooddance.com), her own performing troupe that also includes classes and a summer camp. She also hopes to inspire others through her own blog at http://ididntthinkicoulddothat.com/blog/.
During the pandemic, Gaitrie has come to appreciate the benefits of slowing down and enjoying her family, teaching yoga virtually, cooking, reading, and homeschooling her children. She says, “I find myself tapping more into spirituality, keeping it alive within myself, and teaching it to my children as a form of guidance and peace. I have also learned that the more excitement my husband and I share with our children, the more excited they become about everything, including learning. As their first teacher, it is wonderful to see that unfold.”