Combining the best of both Eastern and Western teaching methods, I hope to instill in the students a love for dance. The students start in small groups learning the basics – posture, movements, rhythms, gestures from my able staff members under my continuous supervision. As they mature in age and technique, I personally groom them further in developing a deeper understanding of the dance form and enhancing their performance by working on – grace, endurance, sensitivity and presentation. While audio or video tools may be supplementary, I believe in a one – on – one approach much like the oral and visual learning that is the hallmark of my ‘tradition’. – Ramya
Arpana means ‘offering’ in Sanskrit and it is with this spirit of offering dance to the Divine that the school began. Since humble beginnings in 1982, Ramya Harishankar has personally trained several 100 students in this rigorous art form with more than 150 of them ‘graduating’ and performing their dance debut or Arangetram. The teaching follows much in the pattern of the ‘Guru-Shishya’ tradition of yore. The students are not mere enrolees in the school but develop a personal relationship with their teacher over the years, learning many intricacies of the dance form, performance techniques and cultural awareness. Through her school, Ramya has helped build artistic sensitivity, appreciation and understanding of cultural traditions in the community. Her students also acquired physical and mental discipline, strength of character and personalities that have held them in good stead through their high school, college and working careers. Many continue to be a part of the Arpana Dance Company post Arangetram and some have become torchbearers of the form.
“I believe learning a performing art and achieving a certain amount of proficiency requires regular attendance, a good practice schedule, exposure to all dance forms/ dancers, family support, self motivation and an intelligent approach. Even though it may be only an extracurricular activity for many students, the art form itself is no less than any other art or science, requiring years of dedicated mental and physical work. It is a life long journey of growth and learning.” – Ramya
Indian Dance Center (IDC) is a traditional Indian dance school based in Tustin, CA and operated by its artistic director, Ruchi Lamba.
The school is a formal branch of Australia-based dance school, “Shri Raghavan Nair’s Indian Dance Centre” which is often referred to as IDC in the Australian community.
IDC in USA is an independent dance school under the complete guidance and mentorship of the dance teachers who taught and mentored Ruchi Lamba in Sydney.
Ruchi Lamba is an Indian dance teacher from Sydney, Australia who has been settled in California for the last 11 years. She started learning Kathak at the age of 4 in Bombay, India and continued learning from Smt Shakuntala Nair in Sydney. She also learnt Kuchipudi from from Shri Raghavan Nair, and she studied Jazz and Hip-Hop with the Sydney Dance Company in Australia. She was one of the main dancers in Australia’s Indian Dance Center and also taught Kathak at the Kalabharati School of Dance in Sydney.
Before teaching dance in California, Ruchi lived in London where she also taught Bollywood and Kathak dance. She runs a dance school in Tustin called the Indian Dance Center (formerly known as Monsoon Dance Academy) and teaches Kathak and Bollywood.
In 2014, she was chosen to be a judge at the Neema Saree Dance Competition. Her Kathak students performed the opening ceremony “Ganesh Vandana” for the same competition in April 2015.
In February 2015, Ruchi brought her dance guru in Australia’s official dance-drama “Ramayan” to the USA for the first time and received rave reviews in the Indian media for the show. She formally changed the name of of her dance school from Monsoon Dance Academy to Indian Dance Center (IDC) as a tribute to her dance teachers in Australia – where IDC is a household name.
IDC Statement of Philosophy:
We believe that dance is a tool that can help students develop a positive self-image.
We believe that students, especially children, deserve to have teachers who are capable and caring and whose values enable them to be excellent role models.
We believe in the value of fair treatment of all people.
We believe each student is an individual and should be treated with respect and encouragement.
We believe that bringing out the best in each dancer is important.
We believe that each student has different talents and it is our job to develop them to the fullest.
We believe teaching the art of dance is an honor.
We believe teaching the art of dance is an honor.
Dance for life!
Kalanjali: Dances Of India
At Kalanjali: Dances Of India we believe that dance has the power to promote a healthy self-image and enhance essential life skills that go beyond those acquired in our dance classes. We aim to teach the most authentic classical form of Bharatanatyam as we were taught in India, and also to impress upon our students a love for dance, and an understanding of its antiquity, scientifically evolved details and inherent beauty. Let them dance well, and let them become ambassadors of a cultural wealth reaching back thousands of years.
We share the dreams of our Guru Rukmini Devi Arundale who founded Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts more than 70 years ago, to preserve the then-threatened performing arts that had survived in the temples for millennia before the British overwhelmed India and tried to snuff the ancient voices. Through Kalanjali we strive to reach across all boundaries, both within our own multi-faceted Indian culture, and beyond the limits of any division. Founded on the belief that dance can positively impact anyone’s life regardless of age or skill level, Kalanjali provides authentic training in a friendly atmosphere, where both teacher and student share the challenges of the journey.
Join Kalanjali from first grade through high school and become a real dancer. Spend some time with us and be a learned member of the audience. Art has no limit!
Bharatanatyam is one of the most ancient, beautiful, subtle and sophisticated dance forms of the world. India’s earliest manuscript on dance is Bharata’s ‘Natya Shastra’ dated 200 B.C. The word “Bharata” is analytically fragmented to bring forth its meaning: ‘bha’ stands for ‘bhava’ or expression; ‘ra’ refers to ‘raga’ or melody; and ‘ta’ refers to ‘tala’ or rhythm, the three together forming the essential components of the dance. This dance form is a composite art with three distinct elements to it: Nritta (rhythmic dance movements), Natya (mime, or dance with a dramatic aspect), and Nritya (combination of Nritta and Natya). Through these elements and the journey of dance the dancer develops their own devotion and also serves as a tool that transmits pious thoughts to their audience.
Until the beginning of the 20th century, this art form solely depended on the ‘devadasis’ (literally, ‘Women who serve God’) who were the dedicated dancers at the temples of India. Over time, the ‘devadasi’ system suffered a terrible abuse in the hands of the society and came to be degraded and perceived as immoral. It is due to the relentless pioneering work of Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale that Bharatanatyam has had a revival. Today it is acknowledged as a divine art that exercises purification of the spirit, allowing the dancer to dissolve her identity into rhythm and music, making her body an instrument for experience of the soul.
By founding “Kalakshetra” in January 1936, Rukmini Devi restored the art to its old glory. Under the guidance of Rukmini Devi, the institution achieved national and international recognition for its unique style. Today the Kalakshetra Foundation in Chennai (south India) is dedicated to the preservation of traditional values in Indian art, especially in the field of Bharatanatyam dance. Kalakshetra’s productions are also widely recognized for their in-depth research, impeccable technique and refined aesthetics.
The Nrityodaya Kathak Academy, of Los Angeles, United States of America, established in 1989, is a sanctuary of the arts devoted to preserving the culture of Kathak dance and classical Indian art. The founder and director of the academy, Smt. Bhairavi Kumar, began her formal training in the Institution of Pt Nikhil Gosh under the guidance of Smt. Shivani Pandya, a Ghanda Bhandan shagrid of Pt. Lacchu Maharaji of the Lucknow gharana. Bhairavi Kumar’s training continued under Smt. Uma Dogra, disciple of Pt. Durgalalji of the Jaipur gharana. She has performed in numerous countries including India, Africa, Canada, and throughout the US. Smt. Bhairavi Kumar has been teaching Kathak in and around Los Angeles for over twenty five years and has earned a distinguished reputation as a traditional and dedicated teacher-performer of Kathak amongst her colleagues and pupils.
The academy is dedicated to educate, research, and bring diversity to the community through innovating dance and performance. In addition to performances at numerous events and festivals, the Nrityodaya Kathak Academy organizes and produces a bi-annual dance production. The Nrityodaya Kathak Academy has had the honor to host the Legendary Pt Birju Maharji for his 75th anniversary tour, Concert of the Legend, as well as multiple workshops with the legend himself and his prestigious shagirds. The academy has recently had the privilege of a workshop with the Smt. Jayanti Malaji, shagird of the legendary Queen of Kathak Smt. Sitara Devi.
Recent highlights of her incredible journey include performing at the Ganesh Festival in Los Angeles, The Food & Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure, ‘“Anantha: Infinite Possibilities” performed at Mt. San Antonio College, and “India’s Fabled City: the Art of Courtly Lucknow” performed at LACMA. Smt. Bhairavi Kumar and her 5 most senior disciples toured throughout various cities in India and won first place at Bharat Sanskriti UTSAV 2014, a five day international competition in Burdwan, India.