A summer camp tale

Valley mom and dancer Kriti Agarwal has enjoyed summers in India, Dubai and America

Chandler mom Kriti Agarwal says she eagerly seeks local summer camps that will help her two young children “develop their social and mental skills.”

Agarwal recalls spending her childhood in India and her “formative years” in Dubai before coming to America to earn an undergraduate degree in business management and economics — and an M.B.A. with an emphasis in technology management.

“Growing up internationally in the Gulf,” she says, “I used to look forward to summer camps.”

Seems the appeal was threefold. Summer camp meant no more school for a while, gave Agarwal a chance to enjoy diverse activities and beat the heck out of “just droning to sleep in books!”

Her summer camp experiences included arts and crafts, sports and “personality development” (think public speaking, drama, elocution and dance).

The dance stuck with her big time. After training from the age of six in contemporary, folk and modern dance styles — and enjoying formal training in two traditional Indian dance styles (Kathak and Bharatnatyam) — Agarwal went on to start her own dance studio called “Kriti Dance.”

Enjoy Bollywood style dance during the Phoenix Suns half-time on Fri, March 18

Agarwal’s studio offers all sorts of dance classes for children, teens and adults — and her dancers have performed during several Phoenix Suns half-times.

Your next opportunity to enjoy a bit of Bollywood during a Suns half-time will be Fri, March 18. The game starts at 7pm at the US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix.

It just so happens that basketball was part of her many summer camp adventures — along with soccer, horseback riding and swimming.

You get the feeling while watching her dance (check her website for video) that she has the energy and flexibility to kick, dribble, back stroke and ride a horse all in one fell swoop.

While most of us are whining about Arizona summers, Agarwal recalls summers spent in the Gulf region — noting that “the only place hotter is the earth’s core, or perhaps sitting on erupting lava.”

Seems her many summer camp activities took place indoors, where fans and air conditioning were plentiful — thanks to the “scorching heat” she says the Gulf and Arizona have in common.

Still, it isn’t the heat that Agarwal most often recalls of her summer camp days. Instead, she reflects on the “positive impact” summer camps have had on her life.

The next adult/teen workshop at Kriti Dance begins March 6

Agarwal credits her own summer camp dance experiences with fueling a lifelong passion for dance — and hopes the summer programs offered by Kriti Dance will “instill confidence” in children and adults who’ll go on to explore plenty of new activities.

But what I admire most of all, truth be told, is her admission that ice cream was another summer camp lure.

It’s certainly at the top of my checklist.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn about Raising Arizona Kids’ 2011 Camp Fair

Coming up: More Valley dance delights

Photos courtesy of Kriti Dance

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