Last month Bollywood came to Stanardsville with Kumud Vanderveer offering her dance teaching expertise as part of the Greene County Library’s summer programming.
“The whole idea started because I love to dance, I’ve been crazy about dancing from when I was a little girl,” she said.
Vanderveer grew up in India but has lived here for 17 years and has a yoga studio at the corner of Amicus and Celt roads in Stanardsville. About once a month she teaches Bollywood Fitness at her studio. She also teaches in Charlottesville at the Dance Spot.
“Bollywood movies are usually musicals and they’re long with a lot of songs,” Vanderveer said. “My mom would tell me that even when I was little, we’d go to watch at the movie theater and I’d get up in front of the seat and start dancing. I thought why not create something fitness with the music that I like and dancing.”
“I’ve done it one time and you’ll feel muscles you never knew you had; its very aerobic,” said Ginny Reese, librarian and branch manager for Greene County Library.
“While you’re doing it, you don’t feel that way because it’s so fun,” Vanderveer added. “With Bollywood music, I think, it’s hard not to move. Ginny and I have been buddies for a long time so she asked if I could do this for the summer program and I said yes.”
Vanderveer will also teach yoga for ages 8 and older this summer at the library. She also holds Indian vegetarian cooking classes and is a henna artist.
Swami Satchidananda, who founded Yogaville in Buckingham County and opened the Woodstock Festival, was born in the same town as Vanderveer, Chettipalayamm. He passed in 2002 at the age of 87, but she had a chance to train in teacher training at Yogaville.
Vanderveer met her former husband David Vanderveer while training in Yoga in India.
“We met in India and were married in India and moved here because he had family here,” she said. “I am happy here. I love this community. This community has been wonderful to me.”
Reese said the library has been trying to have more programs at the library that parents can do with their children.
“Ginny brings a lot of fun things to the library,” Vanderveer said.
“I am having a very good time,” Reese added. “We’re doing a lot of things to help people feel better these days. Last summer we offered a lot of meditation programs.”
Bollywood Dancing with Vanderveer will be offered again at the library on July 26 and Aug. 30 from 7-8 p.m. Participants don’t have to have any dance experience and is open to all levels.
“It’s mainly for people who want to have fun,” Vanderveer said.
The best way to get in touch with Vanderveer is through her Yoga by Kumud Facebook page. Her classes run for 10 weeks at a time.
Programming at libraries is changing, according to Greene County Library Branch Manager and Librarian Ginny Reese. The library is not just used as a place to get a book and silence is no longer golden.
Kids’ programming is now about listening to stories and playing with toys that correspond. There are cookbook clubs, teen events, Lego competitions and even a dog who will listen to kids read without judgement—and will accept a few pets, as well.
Earlier this year a self-defense class was held at the library and this spring Lauralee Bliss spoke on hiking safety.
“We’re trying to help people figure out their interests and their passions and help people learn how to do new things and grow in confidence in them,” she said.
And it’s not just outside participants who can learn something.
“The programs can affect the librarians, too,” Reese said. “I learned about Bliss’ Shenandoah 500 program where you can hike every trail in Shenandoah, so I’m doing it now and it has changed my life. She has changed my life. I’m up in the park every weekend learning the bird calls, learning the wildflowers—it’s fantastic.”
Kumud Vanderveer, who is teaching Bollywood Dance and Yoga for this summer’s library programs, has lived locally for 17 years.
“One of the things for me, coming new to the community, was to meet new people at the library,” she said. “When my yoga students are new to the community, I always tell them about joining the library events. To me, it’s a fantastic way to meet other people.”
Reese said a goal of the programming is to help people connect with their neighbors.
On July 30 the library will host an adults-only game night.
“I’m really excited about that,” Reese said. “If we do have a good turnout, we might make a series out of that. It’s really been working for us to make series out of things—like the Cookbook Club-- because then you figure it out and … get to know people.”
“The library is so valuable, especially when someone comes to the community with no friends and no family nearby,” she said. “It’s very valuable because you can meet people of a similar mindset.”
Reese said there are volunteer opportunities as the library, as well, as well as an active Friends of the Greene County Library group.
“There is more going on here than you realize,” she said.
For information about the library and events, visit www.www.jmrl.org/brgreene.htm.