Classical Dances of India

Proceeds from this benefit program go to Asha for Education and SEEED, Inc of Knoxville

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The Dances:
There are Eight forms of Classical dance styles of India. Today two Classical dance styles will be showcased called ​Bharatha Natyam and Kuchipudi Bharatha Natyam originated in Tamil Nadu and Kuchipudit originated in a village named Kuchipudi in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh of India. Bharatha Natyam has been in existence for over 2500 years, whereas Kuchipudi dates back as far as the 3rd century B.C. Bharatha Natyam is mainly a solo program of dance items based on Gods and Goddesses from the Hindu Mythology. Kuchipudi (also based on Hindu Mythology), originally started as dance dramas, but in present times, it is performed as a solo program of  repertoire items also. Both these dance forms are an exquisite  combination of B​hava – expressions, Raga – melody, and T​ala -rhythmic movements and sculpturesque poses.  Both these dance forms follow both Natya Sastra and Abhinaya Darpana (both Hindu Sanskrit texts).​
The performers:

Anjana Nagaraja Vocalist, Anjana Nagaraja from Atlanta, GA is originally from Mysore, Karnataka in India. She is a disciple of Smt.Dr.Sukanya Prabhakar, a leading vocal artist in Karnataka and Vidwan Ganesh Rajagopalan, Carnatic violin maestro. She also has trained in light music under Smt G Pushpalatha. She has completed Vidhwat exams during 2011 and 2012 and has pursued Master of Arts in South Indian classical Music from Karnataka State Open University and is a B grade artist in AIR (Akashavani) since 2012. She has given several concerts at various prestigious organizations such as Sri Thyagaraja Sangeetha Sabha, Ganabharathi, Sri Nadbrahma Sangeetha Sabha, Ramasevamandali Charitable Trust, Sri Chandramouleshwara Temple Trust (all in Mysore), Gayana Samaja, Bangalore, Narasimhachar Music Foundation, Bangalore, The Kingsort Office of Cultural Arts, TN. Anjana has a Master’s degree in Biotechnology from University Of Mysore, Karnataka, India.




Originally from Mumbai, Sri Subramaniam  Viswanathan (Subra) learned to play mridangam from Sri Trichy Raghava Iyer at the Bharatiya Fine Arts in Mumbai.  Subra continues his mridangam training from Sri.  Papanasam Kumar in Chennai. Subra also learned Carnatic music vocals from his father and guru, Sri. N.S.Viswanathan. He has continued his vocal training in Atlanta with Sri. Salem Shriram.  Over the years, Subra has performed as a mridangist, as well as a vocalist, in and around Atlanta.  Subra has also continued his father’s tradition of bhakti marga through  Sampradaya Bhajan with the establishment of the Atlanta Sampradaya Bhajan Mandali, a devotional music group serving and promoting spirituality through the music of NamaSankeertanam.    Subra has a degree in Operations Research from I.I.T Bombay, an MBA in Finance from Georgia State University.  Subra lives in Cumming, GA, with his wife, Latha, two sons, Prateek and Parth, both musicians, and their dog Jet.




Violinist, Prasad Mantraratnam, from Huntsville, AL is originally from Warangal, Andhrapradesh in India. He is the disciple of Sri “Akella Mallikarjuna Sarma”, a leading violinist in Andhrapradesh. Prasad has been a performing violinist both Solo & Accompaniment since 1989. He has performed both solo and accompaniment at several sabhas and organizations widely within India and abroad as well as in All India Radio & TV. He has accompanied on violin for senior musicians like his Guru Sri Akella Mallikarjuna Sarma, Chitraveena Ravikiran, Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana, Puranam Purushottama Sastry, Hyderabad Brothers (Raghavachary & Seshachary), R.K.Srikantan, M.S. Sheela, Karlapalem Chandramouli, Manda Balarama Sarma, Bangalore S Shankar, Prapancham Sitaram, Sankaran Nambuthiry, Malladi Brothers and several others. Prasad has received scholarship from Indian HRD ministry in 1991 for advanced learning in Violin. Prasad worked at ISRO satellite center, Bangalore, India for about 4 years and then joined Intergraph India (Hyderabad) where he worked for about 11 years before moving to Intergraph Corporation Headquarters at Huntsville AL in March 2008. Academically, Prasad has a Mech Engg degree from JNTU Hyderabad and a Masters degree in Computer Science from Illinois Institute Of Technology, Chicago.



Bhavani Murthy has been a student, performer, and  teacher of Bharatha Natyam and Kuchipudi styles for past 30 years or so. She is the disciple of Mrs. Sudha Chandrasekar, Miss Bhanumati and Mrs. Sheela Chandrasekar of Bangalore India in Bharatha Natyam and Mrs. Sandhya Sree Athmakuri of Michigan in Kuchipudi.  She has presented many of her students in many organizations, charity shows, and her students have won prizes in competitions as well. She has attended many workshops with well-known Gurus from India. She loves choreographing  classical and folk dances such as Kuravanji (gypsy), Cnadle, Peacock and Kolatam. Due to the blessings and guidance from her own parents, Late  Mr. Shiva and Late Mrs. Saroja Sastry (who was a trained Carnatic musician) , her Gurus and the Divine Lord Nataraja Bhavani has been instilled with the inspiration and passion to be able to teach this art form to many children and adults.She  runs a  dance school Natana Manohari School of Performing Arts in Knoxville in the hopes of spreading this art form to next generation of youngsters to impart her knowledge in the authentic styles of Tanjore and Vazahoor styles of Bharatha Natyam and in the authentic Kuchipudi dance style of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam .



Ranjani Murthy has been learning Bharatanatyam for past 22 years having started Having initially started from her mother Bhavani Murthy, she subsequently has undergone extensive training in Bharatanatyam under renowned teachers, Smt.Sudha Chandrasekar and her love for this art form took her to Bangalore to have advanced training every summer from the age of 8 under Miss Bhanumathi & Smt.Sheela Chandrasekar of Bangalore, India. In 2005 at age of 14, Ranjani did her Arangetram (Debut recital)  under Miss Bhanumati and Smt. Sheela Chandrasekar in Bangalore, India. Ranjani also has been learning Kuchipudi for about 12 years from Guru Smt. Sandhya Sree Athmakuri  (a senior disciple of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam)  of Michigan. She did her Rangapravesam in Kuchipudi under Smt. Sandhyasree in 2007 with rave reviews.She has given several solo and group Kuchipudi performances with Smt.Athmakuri’s troupe and toured across USA for a few  Dance Drama Productions.  She has given several charity programs and has won many competitions in both styles in many parts of USA. She has given several hundred solo and group programs in both styles in Michigan, Tennessee, Chicago, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, etc. 

Noteworthy Performances by Ranjani in USA and India include: 

  1. Cleveland Aradhana First Prize Winner in the First Ever Held Dance Competition (Tie Winner) in 2007 (performed 1 ½ hour solo  recital in Narada Gana Sabha in 2008 for winning this)
  2. Performed  Solo  recitals both in Bharatha Natyam and Kuchipudi from  2006 to 2013 for many sabhas (with live orchestra) in Chennai and Bangalore such as Nungambakkam, Hamsadhwani, Kartik Fine Arts,Narada Gana Sabha, Mylapore Fine Arts, Gana MukundaPriya (which conferred her the title of Natya Kala Ratna for Kuchipudi), World Cultural Alliance in Bangalore, Solo program at Yuva Bharathi in California.  She performed a solo 1 ½ hour recital at the Music Academy as part of Spirit of Youth Festival in summer of 2013 (only NRI chosen for 2013 among several applicants).  She also gave a program as part of Naveen Kalakaar festival in Bhuvaneswar, Orissa in 2013 summer. She holds a B.S. degree in Psychology and an associate degree in Health Information Technology. She would like to pursue dance as a profession and loves  performing both styles of dance for many organizations and charities and is currently teaching Kuchipudi to aspiring youngsters.and adults.