Our Staff


Lavanya Thamire

Company Dancer, Kuchipudi Teacher, School Manager

A talented and graceful dancer, Lavanya received her early training under Smt. Bala Kondala Rao, Guru Vempati Chinnasatyam’s leading student in Vizaq, India. She also trained under Guru Vempati Chinnasatyam in the summers when he visited Vizaq and conducted summer camps.

Lavanya joined Kalanidhi Dance as a student in 2005. She immersed herself into the study of Kuchipudi under Anuradha Nehru’s guidance, and trained with Kishore Mosalikanti during Kalanidhi’s summer camp sessions. With her passion for Kuchipudi and hard work, she quickly became a Kalanidhi Dance company member. Lavanya began dancing actively with the company in 2007 at several venues in the DC metropolitan area.

Given her commitment and dedication, Lavanya was selected to become a teacher at Kalanidhi in 2008, and in 2013 accepted a role as the School Manager.

Kishore Mosalikanti

Kishore Mosalikanti

Kuchipudi Teacher, Choreographer

A brilliant artist, Jaikishore Mosalikanti has mastered every aspect of Kuchipudi and has earned a reputation as a formidable Kuchipudi exponent in India, United States and Europe.

Kishore, an outstanding performer, participated in several prestigious dance festivals in India and is the recipient of the Natya Visharada and the Yuva Kala Vipanchee awards.

A respected teacher, Kishore’s thoughtfulness and uncompromising insistence on proper form and technique, makes him one of the most sought after Kuchipudi professionals that is invited by Kuchipudi schools worldwide.

A prolific and original choreographer, he has been recognized by scholars, critics and connoisseurs of art, both for his choreographic and performance skills.

We are proud to have Kishore as our resident staff member who conducts classes at Kalanidhi dance every summer.

Chitra Kalyandurg

Company Dancer, Development Consultant

An accomplished performer, Chitra joined Kalanidhi Dance in 1994 as a student. When the Kalanidhi Dance Company was formed in 2004, Chitra was one of the company’s original members. She has performed regularly with the company ever since. Notable performances with Kalanidhi Dance include Rasa at the Ananya Festival, Yaatra at Joyce SoHo, and Lalla Roukh at the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center.

Chitra manages Kalanidhi’s development, marketing, and communications efforts, and assists with annual artistic programming. She brings over a decade of experience working in the nonprofit sector, including administering education programs at Arena Stage and managing federally funded fellowship programs at the AAAS. Chitra is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she is focusing on nonprofit management, leadership, and the arts.

Melissa A. Bassett     

Business Consultant

As a musician, Melissa has a deep appreciation for culture, music, art and dance. Whether it’s Cuban salsa, African drumming, field percussion, oil painting, or singing, Melissa is passionate about the arts. She brings to Kalanidhi an enthusiasm to learn about Kuchipudi and assist in the growth of the organization.

Originally from Syracuse, NY, Melissa joined Kalanidhi Dance in 2017. She holds an M.A. in Arts Leadership Administration from the Janklow Arts Leadership Program at Syracuse University, and is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in social enterprise at American University. Melissa’s research focuses on creating meaningful and effective programs for cultural preservation, integration, and education for resettled refugees. She strongly believes that art and culture is a driving force for change.