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instructor and institution information

Instructor and Institution Information


Ramya Harishankar combines the elegance, grace and suppleness of the Vazhavoor School of Bharata Natyam with the distinctive ability to express all shades of emotion with sensitivity and intuition. She has imbibed these qualities under legendary gurus: the late Swamimalai K. Rajaratnam and Padma Bhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan. 

In 1982, Harishankar established Arpana, which has grown to become a premier school of Bharata Natyam in California. In 2007, the 25th anniversary of the Arpana School of Dance was recognized with several citations and awards from the State Senate, County of Los Angeles and cities and organizations in Southern California, as well as the Helene Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award from Arts OC, the countywide arts organization in Orange County. The Arpana Dance Company (ADC), made up of the graduates of the school, has performed under her guidance in the US, Europe and India. 

Harishankar has also received several grants from the California Arts Council, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, the Fund for Folk Culture and the National Endowments for the Arts (NEA). As an artist on the Arts Teach and Arts Connect roster of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, she has been sharing her art with schoolchildren all over Southern California. Her solo career spanning more than three decades has taken her all over the world, performing extensively in India, S. E. Asia, the Far East, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Canada and the US. Ph: (949) 874-3662Email:

Contact: Anu Sriram

The Bala Vihar classes familiarize children with stories from epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharatha and emphasize important values. 

Ph: 949-733-3150 (home)


Founder and Director: Guru Deepali Vora
Guru Deepali Vora is the founder and director of Nitya Shetra Dance School of Southern California, one of the leading schools of Bharatanatyam. She arrived from Chennai, India and opened her school doors in 1997. Deepali has received rigorous training in the Thanjavur style of Bharatanatyam from Guru Madurai Muralidharan of the Nrityakshetra Dance School in Chennai, India. She started off as an assistant teacher to Guru Muralidaran before she moved here and started her own school. Deepali has won much acclaim for her performances in India and the United States. She has over 250 dance credits to her name. Her complex footwork mingled with her grace, expression, imagination, and creativity gives her the unique style that makes her one of the leading gurus in Southern California. 
Ph: 310-525-0301Email:

PictureDAYITA DATTA (North Indian Music Specialist)
Shruti Music Academy

Dayita is the founder-director of Shruti Music Academy offering North Indian Classical Vocal classes to all ages in Arcadia/Pasadena/Irvine area. She is a recipient of several grants from ACTA (Alliance for California Traditional Arts) for development of North Indian Vocal Music across the local community. Dayita was recently awarded “Individual Artist” 2016-2017 grant by Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division.
Dayita has been performing at various venues around Southern California such as Music Circle, CSULA, LACMA, LA Grand Performances, Pasadena Artnight for last 12 years. As an artist she had the opportunity to collaborate with top rated musicians such as famed Bharatnatyam exponent Viji Prakash, “Quartetto Fantastico” ensemble, celloist Pete Jacobson, etc. She has trained on North Indian Classical music for several years under guidance of late legendary vocalist Smt. Lakshmi Shankar and eminent Hindustani Vocalist Pandit Sandip Ghosh.
Dayita is also an Orff Certified music educator and currently teaches music at several early childhood institutions. She has conducted various Educator Workshops for Pasadena City College’s Child Development Workshop Initiative (CDWFI), Ontario Library, Children’s Center at Caltech and Early Childhood Stem Conference held at Costa Mesa and Pasadena, California since 2014.
Phone: (626) 354-0954

Ruchi Lamba
Ruchi Lamba is a renowned Indian dance instructor from Australia whose skills are deeply rooted in Indian traditions.  She started learning Kathak at the age of four in India, and continued after her family shifted to Australia in the 1980s. She also pursued Kuchipudi from Raghavan Nair, well as Jazz and Hip-Hop at the Sydney Dance Academy.  She has performed at more than 100 venues all over the world including the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and Wembley Stadium in London. Her dance group in Australia won first place in the Australian Dance Championships (national level) three years in a row, and she is a recipient or Best Kathak Dancer award from the Indian Arts and Cultural Association in London.
Ruchi’s first love remains Kathak and she teaches through an accredited exams-based curriculum that combines the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya (India) syllabus with the International Dance Syllabus (U.K), which allows students to take school and college credits in California.
Indian Dance Center is the a branch of Indian Dance Centre in Australia, and the two schools work together to create award-winning dance musical theater productions such as “Ramayana”, “Moksha” and “Anarkali”. This is in addition to GUNJAN – the annual dance recital by Ruchi’s students every year, which is highly praised by the audience and the media alike:
Ruchi believes that teaching the art of dance is an honor and all students, especially children, deserve to have teachers who are capable and caring. Each student is treated with respect and encouragement regardless of experience and age.  Give Ruchi a call today to discuss your dance needs!
Phone: (949) 466-5220


Learn Classical Odissi from Indian Masters right here!

Senior Master Teacher: Pabitra Kumar Pradhan
(Resident) teacher at Ishwara Dance Academy.

Director and teacher: Sharanya Mukhopadhyay
Received numerous awards (e.g. Princes Grace award), accolades from critics, major newspapers. A child prodigy, compared with Shirley Temple. Taken Odissi to the mainstream platforms including Miss America- winning 8 major titles. TV anchor.

​For details visit: Ph: 714-318-8784 or 714-318-2001Email:

Instructor: Jyoti Prakash Mistry

Born in 1970, Jyoti Prakash started learning tabla at a very early age from his father Sri Nagendranath. He later studied with Pt. Abhijit Banerjee, one of the top ranking tabla players in India, who is a veteran student of the illustrious guru Pt. Gyan Prakash Ghosh. In addition to tabla, Jyoti Prakash has also learnt other Indian percussion instruments under the guidance of Sri Brojen Biswas, a well-known percussionist in India. He is a regular performing artist on All India Radio and Doordarshan (television). He currently teaches at Dhwani Academy Of Percussion, in San Diego, Irvine and Los Angeles, a prestigious institution founded by Pt. Abhijit Banerjee. Ph: (714) 396-4083Email:


Founder and Director: Nakul Dev Mahajan
Nakul Dev Mahajan, “Hollywood’s Favorite Bollywood Choreographer,” is the Founder and Artistic Director of NDM Bollywood Dance Productions & Studios Inc, the premiere Bollywood Dance company in the United States. With over 20 years of professional experience, Nakul has become a Bollywood ambassador, bringing the Art of Bollywood dancing to diverse audiences throughout the US and beyond. 

Best known for his choreography on “So You Think You Can Dance,” Nakul’s unique dance style and choreography fuses a diverse repertoire including Indian classical styles, Bhangra, Folk, Ballroom, Latin, Hip-hop, Modern, and Jazz. Nakul’s work and vision to open the first Bollywood dance studio in the nation has created national press and entertainment attention, including features on ABC Nightline, Time Magazine, and The Los Angeles Times. 

He has worked with a plethora of celebrities such as Natalie Portman, David Schwimmer, Chris Kattan, Steve Carrel, and Kal Penn, to name a few. His major Hollywood choreography credits include So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew, Passions, The Office, MTV, E! Entertainment, Good Morning America and Superstars of Dance. Nakul’s choreography has garnered international interest and secured his role as Hollywood’s Favorite Bollywood Choreographer. 

Nakul has been graced with various awards and accolades, including being chosen as Mr. India California and over fifty prestigious dance awards in the South Asian community in the United States. Nakul also contributes his talents for various South Asian charities throughout the year for children in poverty and women in abusive conditions. 
Ph: (562) 402-7761Email:


Sahaja Meditation is a an international non profit organization that promotes the practice of meditation to help one overcome obstacles to their physical, mental, and emotional health. Unlike other forms of meditation, in which one’s mental state is dependent on a focused thought, Sahaja Meditation helps one relax their mind by eliciting a state of ‘thoughtless awareness’. This is meditation in its purest and most original form. By coming to Sahaja Meditation meetings, one would learn the ancient knowledge of the subtle system, a collection of energy centers and channels within the human body, and how to get into thoughtless awareness on a regular basis. Introductory meetings are on Sundays from 4:00 to 5:00 PM at Ektaa Center. There is never a charge for learning Sahaja meditation from introductory to advance levels. Please register with Preeti Singh by phone or by email. 

Contact: Preeti SinghPh: 949-413-6223Email:

Cultural and Langage Classes in Bengali Ph: (949) 466-7638

ARTI MANEK (Artistic Director / Instructor) 

Artistic Director and Instructor: Arti Manek

SDA aims to contribute to the training of current and future generations in the field of Kathak.Ph: 714.595.3735Email:


Instructor: Anjani Ambegaokar
Anjani Ambegaokar is a senior guru, choreographer, and renowned artist of Kathak dance who was awarded the National Endowment for The Arts National Heritage Fellowship for lifetime achievement in her field.

Anjani teaches Kathak at UC Irvine as a visiting lecturer and was the lead choreographer for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s 2008 production of The Clay Cart. Anjani’s dance school, Sundar Kala Kendra, has trained several hundred students over nearly 25 years and her professional touring company, Anjani Dance Theatre, has performed all over the USA, Canada, Europe and India, featuring the exceptionally trained dancers of Sundar Kala Kendra. Ph: (909) 595-8934Email:


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