By 1997, Anuradha was a critically acclaimed dancer in India. She performed in major cities across India, the United States and beyond. She performed as a soloist at numerous prestigious venues in India and Washington D.C., and toured over 50 cities in the United States with Guru Vempati Chinnasatyam’s troupe.
Since 1996, a number of young dancers have completed their formative dance education with Anuradha. The rangapravesham (“ascending the stage”) marks the beginning of their professional dance career.
Kalanidhi Dance’s rangapraveshams include:
Amrita Lahiri (1996), Smitha Hughes (née Viswanathan) (1997), Silpa Nanan (née Thotakura) (2003), Chitra Kalyandurg (2003), Asha Dwarka (2005), Nanda Srikantiah (2005), Lavanya Thamire (2008), Srilekha Jayanthi (2008), Simran Arora Afsah (2010), Rupa Ranga (2011), Shilpa Darivemula (2011), Supraja Chittari (2014), Deviga Valiyal (2014), and Kalyani Parthasarathy (2015), Ramya Durvasula (2016), Pragnya Thamire (2016), Keerthana Adapa (2018), Ankitha Durvasula (2018), Ritika Reddy (2019), Parnika Venna (2019), Sahiti Rachakonda (2021), Sreeya Rakasi (2021), Avishka Boppudi (2021), Swetha Duvvapu (2019), Meghna Vemuri (2021), Srushitha Singiresu (2021)
In 1998, Kalanidhi Dance sponsored the Kuchipudi Art Academy’s U.S. tour entitled “Kuchipudi Prathidhwani.” A number of Kalanidhi students participated in the multi-city tour.
“It was an honor to be part of a tour with Guru Vemapti Chinnasatyam and the troupe.” – Silpa, Kalanidhi Dance Company Member.
Anuradha departed for Indonesia in 1998 and the school was put on a temporary hold in the United States. During this period, Anuradha embarked on several major dance tours that included performances in India, Singapore, and Indonesia.
After a brief period in Indonesia, Anuradha returned to the United States and a new phase of Kalanidhi’s growth began. The dance school re-opened and classes resumed at Anuradha's dance studio in Bethesda, Maryland.
Since 2003, prominent Kuchipudi master artist Jaikishore Mosalikanti has continued in his guru’s tradition and leads the school’s annual summer camp dance intensives.
A brilliant artist, Jaikishore Mosalikanti trained under Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam and has mastered every aspect of Kuchipudi and earned a reputation as a formidable Kuchipudi exponent in India, the United States and Europe. A respected teacher, Kishore’s thoughtfulness and uncompromising insistence on proper form and technique, makes him one of the most sought after Kuchipudi professionals worldwide. A prolific and original choreographer, he has been recognized by scholars, critics and connoisseurs of art, both for his choreographic and performance skills.
Anuradha Nehru and Kishore Mosalikanti conceived and choreographed Navarasa, a full-length Kuchipudi ballet, with a commissioned carnatic music score in 2005. It was the first of many collaborative pieces that the duo worked on.
Navarasa depicts the nine Rasas or emotions – love, happiness, fear, sorrow, disgust, wonder, anger, courage, and peace through episodes taken from the epic Ramayana and abstract dance.
The Washington Times: “Navarasa blended both traditional and contemporary elements in a fully realized evening. The perfect symmetry, the shimmery lights and the refined poses reflected the ultimate “Rasa,” or mood: true peace and enlightenment, a measure of dharma.”
“This was a major endeavor for the company. [It] was the first major dance project I took part in.
Kalanidhi Dance Company, the first professional Kuchipudi dance ensemble based in the United States was formed in 2005. The Company’s mission was to maintain its rich traditional repertoire and to explore newer choreographic directions. Founding members included Smitha Hughes, Chitra Kalyandurg, and Silpa Nanan. Dancers Asha Dwarka, Srilekha Jayanthi, and Lavanya Thamire completed the performance company.
In 2006, Kalanidhi combined summer camp with a new annual tradition, the Kalanidhi Kid Camp, aimed at students between 6 to 10 years old. The young performers bring to life India’s fables through dance and music at the end of Kid camp.
In October 2007, Kalanidhi Dance debuted Rasa in India. They performed at a number of prestigious venues including the Kalakshetra Foundation in Chennai, Ananya Festival of Indian Dance in New Delhi, and Shilparamam in Hyderabad.
Leading dance critic Leela Venkataraman wrote, “If you feel that the classical dance of ones settled abroad, knowingly or unconsciously loses its authentic flavor, think again. America-based Anuradha Nehru’s Kuchipudi Kalanidhi troupe took the audience by storm.” (The Hindu)
“2007 was very special to me. I got my first chance to perform as a company member with Kalanidhi Dance and then we toured India. This was a very memorable trip!" – Lavanya Thamire
“The tour that we did in India is one of my favorite memories from dancing with Kalanidhi. The magazine cover [from Incredible India] was a welcome surprise near the end of the tour.” – Smitha Hughes
Kalanidhi Dance Company presented an evening of traditional and new choreographic pieces at the Theatre of Saint Peter’s Church, New York in 2008.
“Today, I saw contemporary women, confident in their emotions and in their understanding of what they were doing, poised and clear. Clear footwork, clear arm and hand patterns - all a tribute to themselves and the work of their inspired and committed teacher Anuradha Nehru.” – Uttara Coorlawala, India Abroad
In 2008, Kalanidhi organized Transcending Tradition introducing new audiences to the Company’s work and beyond. Minneapolis-based Ragamala Dance, a Bharatanatyam company headlined the festival.
Anuradha Nehru was awarded the Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Award, allowing her to offer intense training to Company member Lavanya Thamire.
Anuradha Nehru and Kishore Mosalikanti collaborated on their second original full-length production in 2009. Bhagmati is based on the true story set in Mughal India of a Muslim prince, Quli Qutb Shah and his love for a Hindu temple dancer, Bhagmati.
“With the Washington area now the second-biggest Indian dance community in the United States, it is heartening to see that elaborate dance dramas like [Bhagmati] are made possible by a growing pool of local, skilled classical Indian dancers.” - Pamela Squires, The Washington Post.
Kalanidhi Dance was the first professional Kuchipudi dance ensemble to be invited to perform at the Joyce SoHo. The company was co-presented at the Joyce SoHo as part of the INBOUND festival.
“The Kalanidhi combination of bright energy, full-bodied sweetness and rapid precision; its wealth of multidirectional focus, physical detail and expressive nuance; the abundant spectacle of its groupings and geometries; its multilayered connection to its music; the beautiful pliancy of the spine; the vitality of the feet and arms: these make for a rare amalgam of prime dance virtues…” - Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times.
“This show was particularly meaningful to me because it was one of the first productions I helped secure working for Kalanidhi. It was our first major show in New York City and at a prestigious venue which sold out. We were reviewed really well in the New York Times after this show.” – Chitra Kalyandurg
“It was amazing to see that our efforts were appreciated by a dance critic in New York Times, and in general the whole performance experience for that show was so much fun.” – Silpa Nanan
Kalanidhi continued its commitment to expanding audiences for Indian classical dance. In 2011, it produced Siva-Shakti, an evening exploring the feminine and masculine energies that constitute the universe. Bharatanatyam artists Shijith Nambiar and Parvathy Menon headlined the evening.
The following year, Kalanidhi presented guest faculty and artists Jaikishore Mosalikanti and Padmavani Mosalikanti, in an evening of traditional Kuchipudi dance entitled "Dvayam."
Kalanidhi’s Junior Dance Company made their professional debut at the Library of Congress as part of the Homegrown: The Music of America series in August, 2013. This concert has been archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and can be viewed Here
They performed later that summer at Drive East, New York, one of the largest festivals of Indian classical dance and music outside of India.
Kalanidhi Dance collaborated with Opera Lafayette in a modern re-staging of Felicien David’s 19th century French opera, Lalla Roukh. The production premiered at the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. and was re-staged at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater, New York in January 2013.
“Here the director, Bernard Deletré, devised an unusual solution when he brought in … the exquisite Kalanidhi dance troupe choreographed by Anuradha Nehru to add vibrant touches of authenticity to the dress and movement of characters who otherwise seem less rooted in South Asia than in commedia dell’arte.” – New York Times
Kalanidhi collaborated with Opera La Fayette in a modern re-staging of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s 18th century French Opera, Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, ou Les Dieux d’Égypte (The Celebrations of Marriage and Love, or the Gods of Egypt).
Three critically acclaimed dance companies – representing Egyptians, Amazons, and Gods of the Nile – weave the romantic tale into seven magnificent ballets, complementing the musicality of cast and chorus. Each act is directed by one of the production’s three contributing choreographers: Catherine Turocy of the New York Baroque Dance Company, Anuradha Nehru of Kalanidhi Dance, and Seán Curran of the Seán Curran Company.
The production premiered at John F. Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall, Washington D.C, and at Lincoln Center’s Fredrick P. Rose Hall, New York in October 2014.
“The Kalanidhi Dance Company and its founder-director Anuradha Nehru … would periodically sweep onto the stage … taking the energetic experience of the whole work to a higher level.” – DC Theatre Scene
Kalanidhi celebrated its 25th year with a yearlong series of events starting with its very first gala at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. In April, the company presented Rasa Revisited, a remounting of its critically acclaimed Rasa that premiered in 2005. The milestone year ended with Kalanidhi@25, an exciting evening featuring original choreography along with a medley of Kalanidhi’s most popular pieces.
The Local Dance Commissioning Project
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
In keeping with our mission to stay true to our heritage and push forward into contemporary expressions, Kalanidhi Dance addressed the challenge of climate change – the global crisis of the times -- through the ancient Indian classical dance language of Kuchipudi in Bhoomi.
Kalanidhi seamlessly transitioned its programming to a virtual platform during the pandemic from Spring 2020 to Fall 2021. We retained 96% of our student body and built an online virtual platform on our website to present seven 60-minute dance performances.
The shows were aired monthly. They were organized in three "seasons" titled, ‘Fall for Kuchipudi’; ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Eternal Spring’. We raised money for Capital Area Food Bank that provided local covid-relief, Aim for Seva that provided crucial Covid-relief equipment to underprivileged communities and supported ‘Asha’, an organization that helped disenfranchised women of color.
Today, Kalanidhi continues its commitment to education, choreography, and performance in the Kuchipudi idiom. Training a new generation of dancers to the highest standards, Kalanidhi remains dedicated to artistic excellence and the exploration of new directions in Indian Classical dance.