Sri. V.P. Dhananjayan, son of A. Rama Poduval and Madhavi Amma was brought to Smt. Rukmini Devi’s Kalakshetra, Chennai at the age of 13. He received his diplomas in kathakali and bharatanaatyam with distinction and served the alma mater (Kalakshetra) as one of the most prominent performing artists and teacher till 1968. He founded Bharatakalanjali in 1968 along with his wife Shanta Dhananjayan.
Shanta Dhananjayan, daughter of Sri. A. Raghava Menon and C.P.Kalliani, joined Kalakshetra in the year 1952. As a brilliant child prodigy, she won the praise of Smt. Rukmini Devi and received her diplomas with distinction. She is equally qualified in Carnatic music. As performers and gurus, the Dhananjayans’ contributions to the development and propagation of Indian art and culture are significant.
Pandit Chitresh Das
Pandit Chitresh Das was trained in both the Lucknow and Jaipur gharanas of kathak dance by his guru, Nrityacharaya Pandit Ram Narayan Mishra. Pt. Das has become one of the most dynamic and far-reaching artists to have emerged from modern India. A prolific artist, his performance, choreography and evolution of kathak have influenced the art form worldwide.
He is the son of Nrityacharya Prahlad Das & Srimati Nilima Das, who founded and directed Nritya Bharati, Calcutta, one of the oldest dance, music and performing arts institutions in India. He is the founder and director of Chhandam, USA and Chhandam Nritya Bharati, Calcutta, India. With 600 students worldwide, Chhandam has become one of the largest classical Indian dance institutions in the world.
Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri
Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri started learning tabla at the age of five. He bases his style on the intensive training he received from his Guru, the late Pandit Santosh Krishna Biswas of Calcutta, the eminent exponent of the Lucknow Gharana. Pt. Chaudhuri is the Director of Percussion at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California and in Basil, Switzerland, where students from all over the world receive intensive training in tabla. He is also the Department Chairperson for the World Music Department at California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, California.
Pandit Bachanlal Mishra
Disciple of Nrityacharya Pandit Ram Narayan Mishra, Pt. Mishra is one of the most learned Kathak gurus of the modern times. A visionary artist and teacher, Pt. Mishra’s mission has always selflessly been focused on the promotion of the traditions of the Lucknow gharana and the purity of Kathak. His vision to make Kathak accessible to all is being realised through his endless dedication as a teacher and an educator of the arts. In addition to being the director of his own school, Pt. Mishra is an examiner of Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahbad.
Darshana Jhaveri is the disciple of manipuri Guru Bipin Singh. She is one of the four internationally renowned Jhaveri Sisters, whose name has become synonymous with Manipuri Dance. She is one of the founders of Manipuri Nartanalaya and her troupe represents some of the best manipuri dancers, drummers and musicians.
L. Anasuya Devi has trained in Manipuri dance with Guneshwori Devi and later by Guru Bipin Singh, Darshana Jhaveri and Kalavati Devi. An accomplished dancer, singer, drummer and teacher, she has been performing with Manipuri Nartanalaya in India and internationally for twenty-five years.
Y. Bhumeshwor Singh is an accomplished drummer/dancer from Manipur. Trained by Guru M. Ranjit Singh in Pung Cholom, Dhol Cholom (dance with drums) and Kartal Cholom (dance with cymbals), he regularly performs in Manipur in the state’s major social and religious festivals, throughout India and internationally with Darshana Jhaveri and troupe.
Sadanam Harikumaran was born into the lineage of Kakkad Karanavar, the legendary patron of kathakali dance. Trained by Padma Shri Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair, Sadanam Harikumaran today is an established performer, playwright and choreographer of kathakali dance and the principal of Gandhi Seva Sadan (Sadanam Kathakali Akademi).
Vijayan Gopinathan received his diploma in kathakali in 1996 from Gandhi Seva Sadan Kathakali & Classic Arts Academy. He has studied under some its most renowned kathakali masters and gurus and performed throughout India, Southeast Asia and Europe. In addition he taught kathakali dance at Gandhi Seva Sadan from 1998-2007.
Sri Ratikant Mohapatra
Sri Ratikant Mohapatra, the son of the legendary, Guru Kelucharan Mohatpra, has carved a space for himself as a dancer, percussionist, teacher and archivist of Odissi. Drawing on a vast reservoir of creative talent found abundantly in father Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra & mother Laxmipriya, the young Ratikant demonstrated a precocity far beyond his youthful age. In the last 25 years, together with his father, he has been able to establish a firm imprint of Odissi in the consciousness of audiences around the world. He is the current director of Srjan – Guru Kelucharan Mohaptra Odissi Nrityabasa.
Smt. Mahua Mukherjee, daughter of Sri Khirod Chakraborty & Chabi Chakraborty, is an accomplished dancer, teacher, choreographer, and researcher. She is credited for reviving Bengal’s own semi-classical dance form, gauriya nritya.
Ruma Dey is a disciple of Smt. Mahua Mukherjee and a well-known gauriya nritya dancer. She has performed in some of India’s most notable festivals and venues and is a junior teacher at Gauriya Nritya Bharati.
Ayan Mukherjee trained in gauriya nritya and gauriya sangeet with his mother, Smt. Mahua Mukherjee and his father, Amitava Mukherjee. He has performed in some of India’s most notable festivals and venues and assists in workshops and classes taught at Gauriya Nritya Bharati.
Charlotte Moraga is a senior disciple of Pt. Chitresh Das, principal member of the Chitresh Das Dance Company and an established kathak soloist. She is also Director of the Chhandam Youth Dance Company.
Seibi Lee is a senior disciple of Pt. Chitresh Das, senior member of the Chitresh Das Dance Company & an emerging soloist. She is also Co-Director of the Chhandam School of Kathak.
Rachna Nivas is a disciple of Pt. Chitresh Das, a member of the Chitresh Das Dance Company and Co-Director of the Chhandam School of Kathak. She is also known for pioneering the use of the harmonium in Pt. Das’ innovation, Kathak Yoga.
Anjali Nath is a disciple of Pt. Chitresh Das, a member of the Chitresh Das Dance Company and Co-Director of the Chhandam School of Kathak’s San Jose branch.
Rina Mehta is a disciple of Pt. Chitresh Das, member of the Chitresh Das Dance Company and an emerging soloist. She is also Director of the Chhandam, Southern California.
Antara Bhardwaj & Labonee Mohanta are disciples of Pt. Chitresh Das, apprentice members of the Chitresh Das Dance Company and instructors at the Chhandam School of Kathak.
Kasturi Mishra, is the daughter of Pt. Bachanlal Mishra, guru brother of Pt. Chitresh Das. She has trained with her father as a child and now trains under Pt. Das. She is the cofounder and codirector of Gharana Arts, based in Ottawa, Canada.
Mythili Prakash is trained in the Thanjavur tradition of Bharata Natyam with her mother, Smt. Viji Prakash, disciple of grand masters Guru Kalyanasundaram and Guru Mahalingam Pillai. She is recognized as one of the world’s leading young exponents of Bharatanatyam. Her inventive approach to classicism revitalizes bharatanatyam and awakens the physicality, musicality and expressive theatricality of the dance.
Smt. Viji Prakash has been a pioneer in popularizing the performance and presentation of bharatanatyam in the USA since 1976. A disciple of Gurus Kalyanasundaram and late Mahalingam Pillai of the Tanjavur tradition, Viji is a renowned dancer, choreographer, and teacher of bharatanatyam and director of her acclaimed Shakti Dance Company. She has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of bharatanatyam at World Arts and Culture, UCLA since 1999.
Nilanjan is the son of tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. He received his first Tabla lesson from his father at the age of five. Nilan performed his first Tabla solo at age 11, receiving blessings from Ustad Ali Akbar Khansahib and becoming his Ganda Bandhan disciple. Nilan currently resides in the Bay Area and is a student at San Francisco State University and the Ali Akbar College of Music, where he continues to study with his father in the Lucknow Gharana tradition of Tabla playing.