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In Hindi, the term “Sapan” means dream. It is also the acronym for the "South Asian Performing Arts Network" and Institute. With this in mind, we invite you to explore our dream and live yours by getting involved. The SAPAN Institute – "Dream It. Live It.”

Performance Company
Bookings | Auditions | Upcoming Events | Resident Artists | Affiliates

The SAPAN Performance Company and its Resident Artists have wowed audiences world-wide, performing at public and private events in South Asia and all over the United States. Composed of professionally trained dancers, singers, and musicians, the SAPAN Performance Company stands apart from all other performance companies in the Washington, DC area in its ability to provide artistic variety, while bringing unmatched skill, innovation and enthusiasm to the stage.

Whether it be classical, folk or modern South Asian dance and/or music, the SAPAN Performance Company has the in-house expertise of its Resident Artists to provide:
  • Individual and group performances in various genres of South Asian dance, including classical and semi-classical (bharata natayam, kathak, odissi, kuchpudi, etc.), folk (bhangra, garba-raas, rajasthani, kollattam, etc.), bollywood film, and modern/fusion dance;

  • Live vocal and instrumental performances (hindustani classical, carnatic classical, bollywood, etc.);

  • Live vocal and instrumental performances, incorporating live dance; and

  • Theatrical and lyrical dancing, incorporating dramatic storytelling.

Event Booking and Inquiries
Interested in booking the SAPAN Performance Company for your next event? Contact

Are you a talented dancer, singer or musician? Have you been looking for opportunities to perform and share your talent with other artists just like you? Join the SAPAN Performance Company!

With a focus on South Asian performing arts (including dance, music and theatre), the SAPAN Performance Company provides talented artists like yourselves with an opportunity to:
  • Share and enhance your skills with other passionate performers;
  • Work with a versatile group of professional performing artists to create innovative performance choreography for public exhibition at recognized events and venues; and
  • Exclusive access to other SAPAN Institute programs, including artistic management, production and networking services.
While professional skills in a genre of South Asian dance, music and/or theatre are preferred, such experience is NOT required. The SAPAN Performance Company is looking for performing artists in a variety skill sets from Indian classical dance to hip-hop, from Carnatic to pop vocals, from Tabla to Violinists. All are welcome to audition.

Interested in becoming a part of this unique mix of dancers, singers, musicians and actors? Contact to schedule your audition today! Additional information on the audition process will be provided upon confirmation of your audition time.

Resident Artists
The SAPAN Performance Company proudly brings to the Washington, D.C. performing arts community its Resident Artists:

Tara Bansal [see photo & bio]
Tara has over 20 years of classical dance experience, being trained in the classical art form of Bharatanatyam under the guidance of Meena Telikicherla of the Nrityanjali school in Gaithersburg, MD. She has also received training from the world-renowned Dhananjayans at the Naatya Adyayana Gurukulam summer camps. Tara completed her Arengetram (solo dance recital) in 2004 and was in the cast for the dance drama 'Arohanam' performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington DC. Since a young age, she has been surrounded by Indian classical dance and music and hopes to continue to pursue various forms of the art.

Rimi Basu [see photo & bio]
Rimi is a singer and performer from the DC area with 16 years of experience in Indian singing. Her initial training was in Bengali and semi-classical music, and then she shifted her focus to Hindi music. She has most recently studied music in Bombay while living there for a year and has produced her own Hindi pop album titled "The Unveiling." In addition, she has received several awards for her singing including the Johns Hopkins University Homewood Arts Award in Music. She looks forward to sharing her passion for Indian music through teaching and performing.

Prabhu Chandar [see photo & bio]
As an admirer of others, Prabhu Chandar has always tried his best to inspire, entertain, and support lovers of the performing arts, just as other artists have done for him. Fortunate to have the appreciation of music running through his blood, as a gift from his mother and others in the family, Prabhu's experience in the performing arts began modestly within school, temple, and community plays, musicals, and dance productions; progressed through Carnatic vocal training, western choral, pop, and rock vocal performance, as well as piano lessons; and included becoming a singer, director, and one of the lead beatboxer/vocal-percussionists of the University of Maryland award-winning co-ed a cappella group, The Faux Paz. Prabhu is also thankful for having had the opportunity to develop his Bollywood, bhangra, and South Asian folk dancing experience through various performances at weddings, in college, and with many of the current leading dancers of the SAPAN Performance Company. As Senior Advisor to the Founders, Prabhu is honored to be a part of The SAPAN Institute's mission to promote South Asian arts and artists to the world.

Professionally, Prabhu has spent four fulfilling years and counting as Account Executive and Manager at E&E Publishing, LLC, the premier source of objective, timely, and comprehensive information for professionals who track environment and energy policy news.

Rishi Das [see photo & bio]
As an American born Bengali, Rishi has beenbrought up embracing and enjoying the arts, music, and dances of Bengal. A keen interest in Rabindra-sangeet & Nazrul-geeti, performed by his mother and father, and their appreciation and love for South Asian classical music and dance, helped shape Rishi's musical connoisseurship. He has trained in classical piano for a number of years and has been writing scores and lyrics for his passion: piano, guitar, and orchestral ensembles for the last 14 years. During his

Bachelors Degree at the Pennsylvania State University, Rishi participated in a number of semi-classical dances, organized various cultural programs as the president the Hindu Students Council, found a passionfor sculpting and photography, and continued his love for music and rhythm at the same time. Currently he is a consultant in a local Strategy and Information Technology Consulting Firm in the Washington DC Metropolitan region. His compositions are available at

Priya Gopalkrishnan [see photo & bio]
Priya started learning Bharathanatyam at the age of seven under the tutelage of Deepika Nagaraj. She continued training in the Tanjore style of Bharathanatyam under the guidance of Smt. Geeta Chandran in New Delhi, India. She is now a disciple of Smt. Prathima Raghu, and is a proud student of Prathinaya School of Dance. She is also trained in Classical Hindustani and Carnatic Vocal singing. She enjoys all types of dance, and hopes to hone her amateur Salsa skills someday!

Nayab Hussain [see photo & bio]
Nayab is thrilled to be a part of SAPAN's theater group. She has always had a love for the arts and never thought the South Asian side of the story could get told, until now. Aside from continuously learning more about acting, she keeps herself busy by filling prescriptions and helping out patients in the community, especially in helping them understand their medications and help them manage their disease states. Nayab has had a chance to be in several community theater plays, industrials, and just finished her first film. She is looking forward to working with everyone in advancing South Asian theater along with collaborating with musicians and dancers of SAPAN. She is thankful to have this opportunity and to learning more from her fellow SAPAN artists.

Inji Islam [see photo & bio]
Inji Islam is what you might call a born-again artist. After a career in policy advocacy and several years of full-time motherhood, she enrolled in an acting workshop while living in New Delhi, where she studied with some of India's most eminent theatre artists and pursued further training in theatre movement as well as Odissi and contemporary dance. Soon after her stage debut in 2006 she returned to Washington, where she continues her training at the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory and with acting coach Robert Epstein, and in Odissi with Sukanya Mukherji at the Mayur Dance Academy. Inji has appeared as part of the Avadance Collective at the 2007 DC Improv Fest and this year in an adaptation of Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis at the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory. She holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering from Brown University.

Vishnu Kannabiran [see photo & bio]
Vishnu Kannabiran began formally learning Carnatic sangeetham at the age of 5 from Smt Tara Anand. In the past, he has learned from Sri Sampath Kumar of Hyderabad, Sri. O.S.Thyagarajan, and Sri T.R.Subramaniam. Vishnu has won at the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Competition and has performed several concerts including at the VDS Arts Academy in Chennai, Saraswati Mandir in New Hampshire, Nandalala Mission in NJ, and most recently a benefit concert in Massachusetts for the American Association for the Social Advancement of India (AASAI). In addition to carnatic vocal music, Vishnu has also learned mridangam from Sri Anand Iyer and Thavil from Sri Nanganallur Natarajan, and has played western classical violin since the age of 5. Professionally, Vishnu is a visiting clinical fellow at the National Institutes of Health and will be completing his M.D. at Albany Medical College in Spring 2011.

Amit Kapoor [see photo & bio]
Through the teaching and guidance of his mother, Amit developed an affinity for performing arts at a young age. His first stage recital was at age 4 when he performed a traditional Indian folk dance to live music. Amit went on to learn other forms of South Asian dance as well as to learn musical instruments such as the tabla and dhol. In college he was part of the first Bhangra team to be established at the University of Virginia known as UVA Di Shaan where they performed at numerous dance competitions throughout the nation. Currently, Amit is a Co-Founder and Director of The SAPAN Institute and hopes to share his passion for the performing arts by leading SAPAN's efforts in artistic instruction. Amit is a Systems Engineer with the Federal Government specializing on issues of national security. He holds a M.S. in Systems Engineering and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.

Puja Luthra [see photo & bio]
Puja Luthra has been trained in Bharata Natyam by Guru Meena Telikicherla of Nrityanjali since the age of six. Additionally, she has studied under the esteemed Dhananjayans of Bharatakalanjali during their gurukulam dance camps in Yogaville, VA. In addition to her Bharata Natyam training, Puja has experience in a variety of Indian folk dance styles including raas-garba, bhangra, and rajasthani folk dance. She has performed as a dancer in dramas as well as a competitor in group dance competitions such as Bhangra Blowout and Raas Chaos. Puja has a passion for dance and enjoys it in all its many varieties. Outside of dance, Puja teaches Chemistry at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring.

Ali Miller [see photo & bio]
Ali Miller is a director with a specialty in devised theatre. She has helmed these projects, in which the ensemble creates the text together as part of the rehearsal process, for Arena Stage's Community Engagement programs, Imagination Stage's Speak-Out on Stage Ensemble, and Firebelly Productions. Other directing credits include Dust for Imagination Stage, Proof for Firebelly Productions, Toujours Paris at the inaugural Capital Fringe Festival, and the Off-Broadway premiere of The Bridge Street Jumpers at TSI/PlayTime in New York City. Ali studied devised theatre with Michael Rohd as part of the Sojourn Theater Summer Institute and acting with The Atlantic Theater Company in Manhattan. She holds a theatre degree from The College of William and Mary.

Divani Nadaraja [see photo & bio]
Divani has been an avid dancer all her life. She began her formal training in Bharatanatyam at the young age of 4 under the tutelage of Mythili Kumar of the Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose. With the Abhinaya Dance Company, Divani performed in countless dance dramas and community events. After completing her Arangetram (solo dance recital) in 1996, she continued her Bharatanatyam education in Australia and India, and has since performed solo full-length dance productions internationally. Divani's lifelong connection to dance continued at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was vice-president of PENNaach, the Nation's first collegiate South Asian dance troupe. The troupe specialized in everything from Classical, Garba, Fusion, Dance Dramas, Folk, Bhangra, Hip-Hop, Semi-Classical, and Bollywood. Although the pursuit of a legal education brought her to Washington D.C., it was not long before she was dancing actively with a Virginia based dance company. Alongside dance, Divani is a trained Carnatic (a form of Indian Classical music) singer with over 16 years of experience. As Co-Founder and Director of The SAPAN Institute, Divani intends to bring her keen sense for artistic detail to all of its endeavors. Divani is a practicing civil litigation attorney representing survivors of domestic violence.

Ankush Nayar [see photo & bio]
Ankush Nayar has been performing since the age of 10. He particpated in theater in high school and sang in the South Asian a capella group Anokha at the University of Maryland. He kept performing in shows through law school dabbling in singing, acting, and writing for the annual George Washington Law Revue Show. In his spare time Ankush enjoys watching old school hindi movies and rocking out on his air guitar to bollywood songs during a long and sometimes arduous commute on the beltway. This leaves many to wonder how he keeps his hands on the wheel.

Puneet Panda [see photo & bio]
With a classical, creative, and sincere approach to his dance, Puneet Panda is a vibrant performer with an effervescent joy for the inner realm of Bharata Natyam. Critics have applauded his rare combination of energy and elegance while staying true to the tradition-bound purity of his Gurus, the Dhananjayans. While in the US, Puneet trains under Preeti Vasudevan whose uniquely insightful pedagogy has enabled him to have a distinctive stamp in his interpretation of the art form. In addition to his training in Bharata Natyam, Puneet has also learned various Indian folk dances including Garba and Raas, as well as Bhangra as a member of the Cornell University Bhangra Team. Though his passion for natyam remains steadfast, Puneet is pursuing a professional career in medicine and is currently a fellow at the National Institutes of Health in their Clinical Research Training Program for medical students.

Jay Patel [see photo & bio]
Having embraced both his South Asian roots and his American influences, Bhangra Beats ( founder and creator - Jay Patel - is considered a pioneer in the Pop-Bhangra dance movement. Jay's dance career began at the University of Pennsylvania, where he co-founded the all-male South Asian dance team known as Penn Dhamaka. As he began sharing his new found passion with others, he soon realized the fitness value of Pop-Bhangra.

Over his career, Jay has performed at numerous major dance competitions and shows, including Bhangra Blowout, Raas Chaos etc., demonstrating his versatility in Bhangra, Garba/Raas, Bollywood, and Hip-Hop. In addition, his "Bhangra Beats: Round 1" DVD is sold globally through major online distributors.

Jay is also an acclaimed Tabla artist, as a student of Tapanji Modhak, a disciple of the great Tabla Maestro Shri Kishan Maharaj of Benares. As Tapanji's premier student, Jay has performed both as a soloist and an accompanist at events throughout the US.

Aside from dancing and teaching, Jay works as a Consultant for Accenture, working primarily in Project Management.

Meera Popat [see photo & bio]
Dance has always been an integral part of Meera's life. She began learning Bharata Natyam at the tender age of 6 and had the honor of training under the world-renowned dancing couple, the Dhananjayans, as well as Padmarani Rasiah-Cantu, Rasmita Amin and Esha Bhavanandan. In 1996 she had her Bharata Natyam Arangetram and also had the pleasure of being a Bharata Natyam instructor for 5 years. In 2005, Meera was selected to participate in a tour of the dance production Satyam Shivam Sundaram, a collaboration between the Fine Arts Society of Yogaville and the Dhananjayans. She performed in Chennai, Coimbatore, and Cochin. In addition to Bharata Natyam, Meera has learned and choreographed various folk dances, including garba/raas and bhangra and was a member of the all girl fusion dance team JHU JOSH. Along with pursuing her interests in dance, Meera is a practicing corporate and securities attorney in Washington, DC.

Nistha Raj [see photo & bio]
Nistha Raj's initial training in music began with Western classical violin at the age of nine. She received a B.A. in music with honors from the University of Houston in 2003. In 2005 Nistha was awarded a scholarship from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations to undergo rigorous, intensive formal training in Hindustani classical violin at the Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya in New Delhi. There she trained under the guidance of Sharat Srivastava, the foremost disciple of his grandfather, Sri Joi Srivastava, belonging to the Senia Maihar Gharana. In addition, to further increase her understanding of Hindustani music, she also trained in vocal with Meeta Pandit, belonging to legendary Pandit Family of Gwailor. She has also had the privilege to receive guidance from Dr. N Rajam, one of the foremost Hindustani violinists. Currently she is receiving training from Smt. Sisirkana Chowdhury. Nistha feels a deep affinity for Indian classical music and her lifelong pursuit is to discover the unending beauty within it.

Divya Selvakumar [see photo & bio]
Divya L. Selvakumar is a performer in Bharatnatyam dance and Karnatic vocal music with nearly two decades of combined experience. Born and brought up in Southern California, Divya was exposed to both Western classical and Indian classical music from an early age, and holds a degree in piano performance. She completed her training in Bharatnatyam from noted guru and performer, Smt. Ramya Harishankar and in Karnatic music from eminent veena player and vocalist, Smt. Geetha R. Bennett. Divya has performed around the country and has participated in several cultural shows, music and dance festivals. Upon recently moving to Washington, DC area, Divya was invited to join the SAPAN Performance Company and looks forward to performing and teaching in the near future. In addition to pursuing her interests in Indian music and dance, she also works as public health nutritionist in the field of international development.

Sejal Shah [see photo & bio]
With over 20 years dance experience, Sejal Shah has an eclectic background in various dance forms, including Bharatanatyam (South Indian Classical), various Indian Folk, Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Modern/Lyrical. Prior to co-founding the SAPAN Institute, Sejal developed her experience in performance art through on-going training and on various recognized dance companies, including NASHA (NYU's South Asian Dance Company). In addition, having acted as director of a Virginia-based Indian dance company, Sejal has been teaching South Asian dance in the Washington, DC area for over 2 years. Sejal's choreography and dance style can best be described as innovative and experimental as she strives to push boundaries and people's perceptions of dance. Similarly, as Co-Founder and Director of the SAPAN Performance Company, Sejal seeks to inspire her fellow SAPAN artists to challenge themselves and become artistic leaders, not followers, in the performing arts community. Aside from the SAPAN Institute, Sejal is an practicing attorney and an active leader on a number of bar association committees. She has a wonderful puppy by the name of Molly that takes up much of her "free" time.

Sarika Singh [see photo & bio]
Sarika Singh began learning Bharatanatyam at the age of 6 from Katherine and KP Kunhiraman of Dances of India in Berkeley, California. She performed her Arangetram (solo dance debut) in 2000. For six summers throughout her training, Sarika also attended the Natya-Adyayana-Gurukula (summer dance camp) conducted by the world renowned Dhananjayans. She has performed in multiple venues within California and was a part of the Dhananjayan dance drama, Satya Shivam Sundaram which toured through five cities on the East Coast. Although Bharatanatyam was Sarika's first exposure to dance, she has since developed a love for other South Asian performing arts by performing with the UC Davis Girls Bhangra Team, Ronak Punjab Ki. She has also used her expressive talent to perform Bollywood film songs at weddings, at the University of Maryland Cultural Shows and a Virginia based dance company. Sarika continues to pursue all forms of dance and has found that it has shaped many other aspects of her professional and personal life. As Co-Founder and Director of The SAPAN Institute, Sarika is excited to promote South Asian Arts and SAPAN Resident Artists to the world.

Sneha Subrahmanian [see photo & bio]
Sneha Subrahmanian has been performing Indian classical and folk dance, as well as Carnatic vocal music, since the age of four under the guidance of her mother and grandmother. She received formal training in the Kalakshetra style of Bharathanatyam from Guru Harija Sivakumar in South Florida. Sneha graduated from the Vanee School of Dance, performing her Arangetram in 2002, and continued her passion for dance at the University of Florida. As the founder and choreographer of the Gator Bhangra Team,Sneha was instrumental in introducing competitive Bhangra to Florida, serving as an executive member of the South Beach Bhangra Competition in Miami Beach. Sneha was also the co-founder and choreographer for the Phulorida Bhangra Team, an inter-collegiate, state-wide team of professional Bhangra dancers that competed internationally. The team has won several accolades including Champions of "Zee TV International Bhangra Competition" in New York City and "Dhol Di Awaz" in Berkley, California. Sneha has teaching experience in dance and enjoys spreading awareness of South Asian culture. In her professional capacity, Sneha is a Change Management Consultant at IBM Global Business Services.

Nahid Sultana [see photo & bio]
Nahid believes that singing is not just an art; it's a means of expressing one's emotions. Nahid's passion for singing, coupled with her love for music, comes from deep within her soul, mind and heart. When she sings, she puts everything she can into it, and that's exactly what makes her feel complete. Realizing her potential, Nahid's mother admitted her into a musical institution named "Hindol Academy" in Dhaka at the age of ten, where she learned singing "Nazrul Sangeet" and "Classical" under the guidance of noted Nazrul Sangeet singer, Khalid Hossain. While growing up in Dhaka, Nahid regularly performed at children's TV show titled "Amra Notun". She later received training from Shubhashis Mukherjee, Vishwas shirgaonkar, Mitali Banerjee Bhowmik, Samia Ahmad, and Jaheda Begum. Her main area of singing entails modern songs (Adhunik Gaan), Nazrul Sangeet and patriotic songs. Nahid regularly performs in cultural shows and music festivals organized by local community organizations. Nahid has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Information Systems, a Master's Degree in Mathematics, and an MBA. In addition to pursuing her interests in music, she also works as a Project Manager for an IT company and teaches for Northern Virginia Community College.

Rashad Ullah [see photo & bio]
Born American with roots in India and Bangladesh, Rashad grew up immersed in music, be it Bengali folk, Nazrul-geeti, Hindustani classical, or jazz. He has played and composed music since age four, "fusing" styles before knowing of "fusion." Today, he sings, plays tabla, guitar, and keyboard, and improvises on semi-composed pieces.

Rashad's training includes a B.A. in ethnomusicology from Bard College at Simon's Rock. He studied the musical systems of South Asia and the Middle East, and trained extensively in the theory and practice of Western art (i.e. "classical") music. He composed for choral and dance pieces and regularly performed as a vocalist and pianist across genres, from singing Josquin to playing Jobim. In graduate school, he sang in the acclaimed Yale Collegium Musicum, founded by the late composer Paul Hindemith for the authentic performance of 12th-to-17th-century music.

In Indian music, Rashad has trained both formally and informally. As a child, spending every other winter in Dhaka, he learned from various musicians at his family's Jhankar Recording Studio. Formally, he studied khyal singing in Kolkata under Ms. Eshita Chakraborty of the Indore Gharana. In D.C., he is now a student of tabla virtuoso Samrat Kakkeri, son and disciple of Pandit Mohan Rao Kakkeri, disciple of the renowned late Ustad Sheikh Dawood Khan of the Farrukhabad Gharana.

Outside of music, Rashad works in linguistics; he pursued graduate studies at Yale University and is currently a Senior Linguist for McNeil Technologies.

Rangashree Varadarajan [see photo & bio]
Rangashree Varadarajan comes from a legacy of distinguished musicians. Her training in Carnatic vocal was from Smt. Jayashree Varadarajan, Founder/Director of Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandir School of Fine Arts (Sunnyvale, CA). She received her early training in Carnatic violin, from Smt. Srimati Brahmanandam and Smt. Anuradha Sridhar, Founder/Director Trinity School of Music (Saratoga CA), and is undergoing advanced tutelage under Smt. Jayashree Varadarajan. Rangashree's fluidity and maturity in execution have made her a desirable violinist and "promising young vocalist" (KANNADAPRABHA) among the music community both in the US and India. In addition, Rangashree is an accomplished western violinist and jazz vocalist receiving an opportunity to perform solo at the prestigious Carnegie Hall, New York. As Rangashree's interests in music are wide and varied, she regularly composes music for several instrument ensembles, mentors upcoming music students, presents benefit concerts for various organizations, accompanies music, dance and operatic performances, and has several CD credits to her name. Rangashree also served as the lead investigator for a research study regarding therapeutic effects of music on effects of chemotherapy in young adult patients at Georgetown University's Lombardi Cancer Center in 2007. In addition, she was instrumental in helping to prepare an after school music curriculum in coordination with the UC Davis Honors Challenge and UC Davis School of Education for third grade students in Sacramento, CA.

Rangashree received an MS from Georgetown University and is currently a Program Specialist at the Samueli Institute, Alexandria, VA researching Complementary and Alternative Medicine. In addition, Rangashree is a tutor to grade school students at the SCORE Educational Centers in Washington, DC.

Jacinta Williams [see photo & bio]
Jacinta Williams graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance. A lifelong performer, she has always had an avid interest in the arts; singing and playing the piano at an early age, and beginning ballet at three. Growing up she was a member of her church choir, and a two time winner of the Martin Luther King Oratorical Contest in which she wrote and delivered an original speech winning her Best Before an Audience. In 2008, she was a finalist in the First Light Discovery Playwriting Mentorship Program. When she's not writing, acting, or performing, Jacinta teaches violin, beginning piano, viola and beginning guitar, specializing in children diagnosed with various types of autism.

Affiliate Artists
In addition to our Resident Artists, the SAPAN Performance Company is honored to have the following established performing artists as affiliates of our company.

Soumya Chakraverty [see photo & bio]
Now an accomplished Sarod player, Soumya's introduction into Indian classical music started with tabla, but at age eleven he turned to playing the Sarod under the tutelage of the highly respected Pt. Samarendranath Sikdar, a senior disciple of the late Pt. Radhika Mohan Maitra of the Shahjahanpur Gharana. For nearly thirty years he has received extensive training under his guru in a multitude of north Indian Ragas, some of which are very rare and unique to his Gharana. His solid technique and thorough grounding in the roots of his own music notwithstanding, his interests also lie in exploring the commonalities of North Indian Classical music with other music styles. For more information and to contact Soumya, go to

Pushan Bose [see photo & bio]

Vishal Kanwar [see photo & bio]
Although untrained as an artist, Washington, DC native – Vishal Kanwar ("v:shal kanwar" or "v:k") - is a prolific painter and performance installationist, as well as a dj and musician, who has been featured at a number of venues around the U.S., as well as New Delhi and Mumbai, India. In 2002, v:k launched a yet-ongoing collaborative project with several musicians in the asian massive movement, called imperfections. The concept was to create a painting during the course of a musical performance or dj event. In 2004, v:k joined some of the best producers of asian electronica on stage as a live performance installationist, as part of a worldwide artists collaborative called kollektiv. Founded as a monthly event in 2003 by tabla virtuoso and electronica producer Karsh Kale, kollektiv ties together some of the best asian electronica musicians and artists in the world under a single movement. It was his involvement in this musical movement which compelled v:k to become a dj, and to recently incorporate live tabla in his dj sets. v:ks list of collaborations includes musicians and producers like Karsh Kale, Zakhm, Janaka Selekta, Midival Punditz, the1shanti [previously of dum dum project], DK aka Bollygirl, Dimmsummer, Sonny Caberwal [previously of thievery corporation], DJ Goldie [UK], Dhamaal sound system, Dj Bikram, Tavia, DK Julez, FunkDC, Kaushik | Aishani Music, and many others.

Vani Krishnamurthy [see photo & bio]
Vani Lakshmi Krishnamurthy is an established Indian classical Bharatha Natyam dancer and Indian art historian, who founded "Art of Dance India" – an organization that aims to educate performing artists and art enthusiasts about the spiritual, philosophical and historical connections between Indian art and Indian classical dance.

Vani gained her expertise through over twenty years of dancing and performing, as well as through field research as a Fulbright Scholar to India. Vani's initial Bharatha Natyam education started under the tutelage of her guru, Sujaya Dixit, in Atlanta, GA. Thereafter, Vani has continued to advance her dance expertise by working with master Bharatha Natyam gurus in India and the U.S., including: Priyadarsini Govind, student of Kalanidhi Narayanan and award-winning international performer; Gopika Varma, distinguished Mohini Attam performer; Sasirekha Rammohan, student of Chitra Visweswara; and Viji Prakash, Artistic Director of Shakti Dance Company. Vani currently lectures, performs, and leads workshops at arts and educational institutions. To learn more, go to:

Kundalika [see photo & bio]
Kundalika was formed in 2002 by Deepak (Deep) Shenoy. Deep formed Kundalika in order to create a space in which to explore rhythms from Hindustani classical music with musicians from around the world. The word Kundalika is one of the Sanskrit words for circle, symbolizing the cycles of taal which underlie Hindustani music, which have broader, deeper resonances that well exceed simple musical "rules." The original Kundalika lineup featured Richard Robeson (guitar) and had frequent guest collaborators, including artists on the oud and Carnatic classical drum the mridangam. The current Kundalika lineup features Shareen Joshi (vocal) and Jim Millward (sitar). They play a variety of light classical, folk and popular music in a "mehfil" format, as well as fusion pieces which bring beautiful tabla rhythms with other traditions both from within South Asia and beyond.

Deepak (Deep) Shenoy has played tabla for 15 years, and has studied with Pandit Samir Chatterjee. He accompanies classical performers, and has performed with Pandit Sharad Sathe (vocal) and Pandit Barun Pal (hansaveena). He also accompanies light classical, folk, religious, and popular music, has accompanied both kathak and modern dancers, and has played in venues big and small, ranging from house concerts to the Kennedy Center. He also has a strong interest in fusing tabla rhythms with world music. He recorded the album "Transparency" (1999) with Circle in the Round, a world music fusion group which included instruments of Japan, Africa, and India. He also played multiple percussion instruments on Project Mastana's fusion album "Backroads to Bollywood" (2005). His soundtrack work includes a documentary about relief efforts for 2002 earthquake victims in Gujarat for CNN. He also played in the live orchestra for "Place Poems," a modern dance piece choreographed by Billy Cater and with music composed by Neel Murgai which ran at LaMaMa theater in Manhattan in 2004.

Jim Millward is a professor of Asian and intersocietal history at Georgetown University and student of many kinds of stringed instruments; he is currently writing a global history of lute-type instruments, including the guitar. Jim is proud to be a member of the DC Gharana of Shubha Sankaran and Brian Q. Silver, with whom he has studied sitar. He has also studied classical guitar with Mark Davis and Risa Carlson, and participated in a master class with Manuel Barrueco. Besides his work with Kundalika, he plays mandolin, guitar and banjo with the DC-based bluegrass band By & By, as well as writing songs and composing.

Shareen Joshi is a professor of International Development at Georgetown University, and a student of Indian classical and folk music. She grew up in Jaipur, India, where she was drawn to the vibrant local arts at a very early age and learned both classical and folk forms of music and dance. At Reed College, she received a governors scholarship to study music from Nisha Joshi (PhD, Hindustani music) and received a certificate in Classical Indian music from Bhatkhande Vidyapeet in Lucknow, India in 2003. Besides singing with Kundalika, Shareen has collaborated with an arts company in Santa Fe to create the soundtrack of a dance called "The Gypsy Trail" (2000), and was part of a fusion music band at Yale University. She also has recently developed a keen interest in writing music and lyrics for traditional as well as fusion music.

Debu Nayak [see photo & bio]
Devapriya Nayak (Debu) was born in West Bengal, India, and began learning tabla at the age of three from his grandfather, Chaudhury Kausalya Nandan, who was an accomplished pakhawaj and tabla player of the Punjab Gharana. Later, Debu became a student of Pt. Radhakanta Nandi of the Benaras Gharana. In 1981, Debu came to the US to pursue higher studies and continued his tabla taalim from Maestros like Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee and Pt. Samir Chatterjee for 10 years. Debu is an accomplished soloist and accompanist. He has performed with renowned artists like Pt. Vinayak Torvi, Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Ramesh Mishra, Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar,Habib Wali Mohammad, Ustad Asif Ali Khan, Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain, Shahanaz Begum, Gaurav Mazumdar, Partha Bose, Mitali Banerjee-Bhawmik,Tulika Ghosh and many others.Recently, his tabla was featured in a collaborative effort of Indian Classical Music and Jazz. The CD, called PROBE, is currently available under ‘World Music' at the Sackler Gallery Bookstore in the Smithsonian Instution. He along with the members of PROBE have also performed at the Smithsonian Institution. Debu's recent performance at the Kennedy Center with Gaurav Majumdar on Sitar earned him wide scale accolades from the Washington music circle. His latest CD entitled "Tabla rising" has also gained wide accolades in the Washington Music circle. To learn more go to:

Bratati Saha [see photo & bio]
With over 25 years of combined training and teaching experience, Bratati Saha is the Director of the ARPAN Kathak Dance Academy in Northern Virginia. Bratati started to learn Kathak in India at the age of four years under Guru Lakhan Nandi and was groomed under the extraordinary training of Guru Sontosh Maharaj. At the age of twelve she offered her first Stage Performance and at the age of fourteen she had completed her five year degree in Kathak from Banga Bharati. Banga Bharati awarded her a silver medal for outstanding performance in Kathak. Bratati has traveled the world performing and successfully competing at shows in Europe, the U.S., and India. For more information, please go to