Aditi Singhdeo, a year 12 student at Wellington International School, is pursuing an IB degree with subjects in biology, chemistry, mathematics and economics. “Health and medicine are interests for me, and I aspire to study medicine after finishing high school,” she says.
Passionate about dance, she has been learning ballet since the age of 4, and is also interested in photography and theatre.
Fusing her passion for dance and photography, she is working on a photographic project on Seraikella Chhau, a masked dance originating from Seraikella in eastern India, Aditi’s hometown. “I find Chhau dance to be ballet-like in its style,” she says.
Excerpts from an interview:
Tell us about the photography projects you have done.
I was fascinated by Seraikella Chhau and reviewed some of the old photographs of the dance. Given my interest in photography, I decided to work on a coffee table book, showcasing different aspects associated with dance. During my last summer holidays, during a visit to Seraikella, I photographed different dances and the process of making the costumes and masks that the dancers wear, which I did under the guidance of Sankalp Meshram, who is a filmmaker. This allowed me to have a different approach to dance photography. Through my project (which I’m still working on), I hope to shed more light on the Seraikella Chhau dance and its rich history.
You are also a dancer. What led you to choose ballet?
I started ballet because of the pretty costumes, the fancy hair, and the professional ballerinas that I admired. I admired the elegance with which they danced, and it excited me at 4 years old. I continued to enjoy ballet even though I pushed myself to the point of being out of breath after each performance. I finally learned the dance and mastered the technique. It made me realize that practice and hard work can help you improve and excel.
How has dancing shaped your personality?
Ballet is the main reason I started theater and got interested in piano. All of this made me more confident and expressive; they stimulated the creativity in me and I was able to appreciate art in different forms. Ballet taught me discipline, helped me stay focused and gave me the chance to meet great people, with whom I spent the next 12 years.
You also completed an internship in an investment company. What were the 3 biggest takeaways for you from your experience there?
In 2021, my team won the Business Minds competition, which gave me the opportunity to intern at Lallic Partners, a California-based investment firm founded by high school students in 2020. The three main takeaways from my internship were as follows:
Your age does not limit when you should start working.
Your age does not determine your success.
Technology has enabled people to collaborate across geographic boundaries.
Tell us about the pre-university course you took. How has this helped you?
I took a summer course at Brown University the year before my GCSE. The course pushed me to read more novels and learn different writing styles. The fast pace of the course content made it crucial to have a good work ethic, which helped me during my GCSE preparation.
Who are your mentors and what are the 3 best lessons you learned from them?
I consider my older brother as my mentor. The other people who have influenced me are my parents and my friends. The 3 lessons I learned are:
Create meaningful experiences based on your perception of a trip.
Be curious and question everything.
Focus on the things you can control and don’t worry about the things you can’t control.
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