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The Best of Both Worlds

Rachana Gandhi, a financial analyst, finds joy and relaxation in traditional Indian dance.

Rachana Gandhi
Rachana Gandhi performed at NYC Bhangra’s Third Annual Holi Hai event in March in New York City. She and her dance group helped to organize the spring festival that celebrates South Asian culture. Photography by Benoit Cortet

A “left-brain” person, the observation goes, thrives on logic; the “right-brainer” depends on the creative and the emotional. Rachana Gandhi, you could say, inhabits both brains. An index analyst for FTSE International Inc., a British stock-market indexing company in Manhattan, Gandhi SBC’07 provides financial information to brokers by day. And she is an avid dancer by night.

As a student at Rutgers–Camden, she discovered bhangra, a Punjabi dance that is lively and colorful. Having studied classical Indian dance since she was 8, she helped form a dance group on campus to fuel her passion.
“I cannot imagine my life without dance, especially bhangra, with its culture and music,” Gandhi says. “I enjoy my work with the stock market, but I love that I have a creative outlet. The union of these two worlds is who I truly am.”

Traditionally performed in the Punjab region of South Asia 500 years ago, bhangra dance is typified by vigorous kicks, jumps, and bends of the body to the beat of a double-headed drum. Today, it’s a regular feature of weddings, local fairs, and other celebrations.

— Shannon Rossman Allen

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