Company

 

Navarasa Dance Theater is a pioneering South-Asian Contemporary Dance Theater company with a wide repertoire of classical and contemporary works inspired by Bharatanatyam and folk dance forms, martial arts (Kalarippayattu), diverse theater and music traditions, aerial dance, yoga and storytelling. We offer classes in Bharatanatyam, Kalari ppayattu martial arts, Yoga, Mohiniyattam and contemporary dance in Los Angeles, Boston and online. Our free training program, Dance For Everyone, is bringing dance to more than 150 students in India and the U.S. Navarasa is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization.

Navarasa was founded as 'Navarasa Natyalaya' by renowned dancer and choreographer, Dr. Aparna Sindhoor and her parents Professor Balasubramanyam and Dr. Srivalli in 1991 in Mysore, India. In 1996, it was reconstituted as Navarasa Dance Theater in Boston, MA by Sindhoor and film director SM Raju. Choreographer Anil Natyaveda joined the team as a co-director in 2004. Together, they have created over fifteen full-length dance theater works and have toured extensively in North America, Europe and India. In 2013, Navarasa opened a branch in Los Angeles, CA as well.

The company has been invited to perform at venues including Lincoln Center, Asian Art Museum, Norton Simon Museum, New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas, World Social Forum, Bates Dance Festival, East West Players, New World Theater, Teesri Duniya Theater (Canada), Amol Palekar's Theater Festival (India), and Germany. Sindhoor and Natyaveda have choreographed for film and television, and the INDIA circus show created by Cirque du Soleil-famed Franco Dragone’ in Germany. In 2012 Navarasa performed over 25 shows at East West Players, a premium Asian American Theater in Los Angeles, CA. In 2013, Navarasa choreographers Aparna Sindhoor and Anil Natyaveda were nominated for an L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Choreography. Aparna Sindhoor and Anil Natyaveda have created works, taught and performed at various universities including University of California at Santa Barbara, Brandeis University, Boston University, Salem State College and Holy Cross College.

Navarasa and Aparna Sindhoor have received support and grants from Arts International, Ford Foundation, Chahara Foundation, Massachusetts Arts Council, Wyomissing Family Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), Boston Dance Alliance and most recently, a creation award from the National Performance Network (NPN).

In addition to performing, Navarasa is an arts education organization that provides training in dance, martial arts, yoga, and performance art from the beginner to advanced level. Navarasa offers weekly classes, as well as occasional courses at universities and community arts organizations in the U.S., Canada, and India.

Navarasa’s programs of 1) Creation/Performance, 2) Teaching/Sharing, and 3) Research, are connected to the aspect of community development through the arts. Navarasa uses the arts to raise awareness and inspire action about social justice issues such as women’s rights, indigenous rights, and the impact of globalization on culture and the environment. Our goal is to promote art to people all over the world as a way of creating awareness and building community. Navarasa seeks to combine artistic excellence and social commitment to power the holistic and compassionate evolution of the human race.

Navarasa Dance Theater is available for performances, classes, lectures, creation work and touring.

You can make a tax-deductible donation to Navarasa to support our arts education programs and the creation of new work through the Donate tab above. You can also support Navarasa every time you shop online - for free! Sign up here: http://www.iGive.com/NavarasaDanceTheater

Founders

 

India:

Prof. S Balasubramanyam and Dr. Srivalli T S

USA:

Dr. Aparna Sindhoor and S M Raju

Aparna Sindhoor

Aparna Sindhoor is the Artistic Director of Navarasa Dance Theater. Sindhoor has trained in Bharatanatyam (an Indian classical dance form) for over 20 years, including 15 years with Dr. K. Venkatalakshamma, one of the foremost proponents of the Mysore style of Bharatanatyam, where Abhinaya (facial expression) and graceful Jathis (pure dance compositions) are emphasized. Sindhoor has been giving accomplished professional performances since her arangetram (graduation solo recital) in 1989. Sindhoor holds a Vidwat (Masters) in Dance, a Masters in English, and a Bachelors degree in Dance, Literature and Dramatics. She was awarded the gold medal in 1990 for finishing first in dance at the University of Mysore. She received her doctorate in Dance, Cultural and Women's Studies from Boston University in 2009. Since 1996 Sindhoor has been working on dance theater forms with SM Raju (Rajendran M. Sivasankaran) that bring varied art forms and styles to tell contemporary stories. From stories like The Incident and After, Hunt, Clothes, Draupadi, and River Rites, written by contemporary writers, Sindhoor and Raju have created works that give a new dimension to the content and beauty of the dance performance. Using Indian classical dance, yoga, songs, martial arts, stories and folk dances, they explore new ways of presenting without compromising the beauty of the forms. This has made their work more interesting and accessible to diverse audiences. Sindhoor brings a unique blend of depth into the content, novelty in the presentation and extraordinary artistry. An accomplished choreographer and performer, Sindhoor is known for her creativity and power to push boundaries. She has conceived and choreographed over 20 full-length dance works. She was awarded grants from the Human Resource Development Agency, Government of India, for her dance works, Vachanadara and A Concise Portrait of Indian Woman. In these works, she has expanded the boundaries of the traditional Bharatanatyam recital in terms of the subject, style and production. In A Concise Portrait of Indian Woman, she used regional folk dance as part of the choreography along with the classical dance. She was sponsored by Urban Bush Women to attend the workshop A New Dancer for a New Society at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida in the summer of 1997. She has collaborated with artists and companies such as Robert Uno of New World Theater, Rangayana and Rahul Varma of Teesri Duniya. She was one of the choreographers for Santhosh Sivan's film, Anandabadhram. She has received grants from Arts International, Somerville Arts Council, Massachusetts Arts Council and UMass Arts Council. Sindhoor is the founding director of Navarasa Natyalaya, a performance art school in Mysore. Aparna Sindhoor is also an experienced actor. Nagamandala, in which she acted as the protagonist Rani, won the best play of the year award at the Karnataka Nataka (theater) Academy. She is one of the three women featured in a documentary film about artists, Take It From Me (2001 Nefertiti Productions). Her works have been showcased in the US, Canada, Germany and India including venues and festivals like Jacob's Pillow, Lincoln Center, New Jersey Performance Arts Center, La MaMa and New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas.

Co-Founder and Co-Director: S M Raju (Rajendran Meena Sivasankaran)

Co-Founder and Co-Director: S M Raju (Rajendran Meena Sivasankaran) has a computer science bachelors from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India and did his graduate studies at UMass Amherst, MA. He worked as a senior researcher in Verizon Labs and then went on to start Knumi, a venture funded startup in 2000 that developed cutting edge video search and voice based search technologies. He has two US patents to his credit. His passion for film and theater has led him to write, direct and produce several theater works for Navarasa Dance Theater. He has produced TV shows, films, children’s animation content and over 120 educational videos for school children for the government of Tamilnadu, India. He is also a multiple winner of the James Baldwin playwright award. He was one of the executive producers of Anandabhadram, a Malayalam feature film (www.anandabhadram.in). His critically acclaimed directorial debut film Varnam ( www.varnamthefilm.com) was released in theatres in India in 2011 and was officially selected for the London Asian Film Festival 2011, Montreal World Film Festival 2011, Chennai International Film Festival 2011, Norway Tamil Film Festival 2012, the New York Indian Film Festival 2012 and the Roxbury International Film Festival 2012.

Dr. Srivalli T S

Dr. Srivalli T S, one of the founders of Navarasa Dance Theater, India is a scholar, teacher, writer, dancer and a leader in the women’s movement in Karnataka, India. She has a PhD., in Kannada literature from the Mysore University focusing on the life and works of a dynamic writer Saraswati Bhai Rajawade (AKA Giri Bale). She is the founder/director of Chiguru, a Children’s theater company that has performed all over Karnataka. Dr. Srivalli’s literary works have been published several magazines and newspapers and by Karnataka Sahitya Academy (Karnataka State Literary Academy), Shivarama Karanta Adhyayana Kendra, Govinda Pai Somshodhana Kendra, Lekhakiyara Sangha (Women Writers Organization), Samata Adhyayana Kendra. She is one of the founding members of Samata and Samata Adhyayana Kendra – two prominent women’s organizations in Mysore. She has written and directed several plays for stage and radio for more than five decades for children including “Dhruva,” “Ekalavya,” “Shunashepha,” “Satyakama Jabala,” “Chand Bebe,” and “Belavadi Mallamma”. Some her plays have been translated into Hindi. She teaches Yoga and works with women and children in distress using yoga as a healing tool. She has performed in theatre plays, movies and also in dance shows. She along with her husband Professor Balasubramanyam and daughter Dr. Aparna Sindhoor co-founded Navarasa Natyalaya, currently known as Navarasa Dance Theater, a leading dance-theater company in the US and India. In the recent years she has been editing Saraswati Bhai Rajavade’s complete literary works and also bringing into light several women writers in Kannada language. Through her research she has contributed to unearthing and documenting Kannada women writers including.

Professor S Balasubramanyam (1942 – 1996)

Professor S Balasubramanyam (1942 – 1996) ,is one of the founders and first director of Navarasa Dance Theater (Navarasa Natyalaya,) Mysore, India. He was a professor of Commerce at Bhanumiah’s College, University of Mysore. He was a singer and actor whose knowledge and passion for music and theater led him to support and nurture his daughter Aparna Sindhoor’s love for performing arts. He performed as an actor in Mysore and also in All India Radio. He has composed songs for children and has authored books for students in Banking, accountancy, music and drama. His contribution to theater arts in Mysore is remembered even today. His unfortunate demise at a young age has left a hole in the hearts of many students, family and art lovers.