Who Are We
Meet The Staff
Anuradha Nehru is the founder and artistic director of the Kalanidhi Dance School and Company. An award-winning Kuchipudi dancer, teacher, and choreographer, Anuradha has taught dance for over thirty years in the United States and many of her students have become outstanding young classical dancers in their own right and are now dancing professionally.
Anuradha has been recognized by the Governor of Maryland for her dedicated service to the arts and has been supported by the Maryland State Arts Council. She is a recipient of the Master/Apprentice grant from the Maryland State Arts Council and a “Teacher Recognition Certificate” from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. In 2016, Anuradha received the Montgomery County Executive’s Outstanding Artist Award for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities and in June 2020, received the Pola Nirenska award for Outstanding Achievements in Dance.
As a choreographer, Anuradha’s quest is to constantly find new ways to create fresh and relevant works that connect with contemporary audiences. She believes in staying true to the depth and beauty of the Indian classical dance style while pushing its boundaries to explore new avenues of creative expression.
Her ability to transcend artistic genres is best exemplified in her collaboration with Opera LaFayette in three different operatic works. The first, in 2013, was “Lalla Roukh”,a 19th century French opera situated in India, which was praised for bringing beauty, grace, and the flavor of India to the production. The second, ‘Les Fetes de L’Hymen et de L’Amour‘ in 2014 and the most recent, ‘The Enchanted Forest’, in 2017, were also received by critical acclaim. Her other major productions include, ‘Rasa’,‘Transcending Traditions’, the historical ballet ‘Bhagmati’, ‘Why We Dance’, ‘Poetry of Love’ and “Bhoomi”.
Anuradha is one of the founding members of the Indian Dance Educators’ Association (IDEA), a non-profit umbrella organization of Indian dance professionals established to serve classical dancers and dance lovers, and served as the organization’s Chairperson for two terms.
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.
Growing up in India, Lavanya was initially introduced to Kuchipudi in school when she was only 9. She was instantly taken with the art form, and continued her training through summer workshops in Visakhapatnam with Smt. Bala Kondala Rao, one of Master Vempati Chinna Satyam’s foremost students.
After a hiatus, during which she had two lovely children, Lavanya found her artistic home at Kalanidhi. She joined the organization as a student in 2005, and connected deeply with Kalanidhi’s style and training under the guidance of her guru, Smt. Anuradha Nehru. She also trained with guru Sri Jai Kishore Mosalikanti during Kalanidhi’s summer camp sessions.
As she immersed herself in the study of the art form, Lavanya began to take on an increasing leadership role at Kalanidhi, first as a member of the performing Dance Company in 2007, and then as a teacher in 2008, and and rose to become the Education Director of Kalanidhi’s dance school in 2013. As a company dancer, Lavanya toured with Kalanidhi throughout the United States and India.
A beloved teacher, she has touched the lives of hundreds of students and hopes to continue to share her passion for Kuchipudi with children throughout the region and inspire the next generation of dancers through her tireless energy for dance.
Pragnya Thamire began her dance training at the age five under Anuradha Nehru of Kalanidhi Dance. Passionate about Indian dance, Pragnya has matured way beyond her years into a confident and vibrant classical Indian dancer. She made her debut as a member of the Kalanidhi Dance Company at the age of 12, performed her Rangapravesham in 2016 at the age of 15, and has performed widely at a number of prestigious venues and festivals including the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Library of Congress, Wolf Trap and Drive East Festival in New York City to name a few.
She had a penchant for choreography, and so was given the opportunity to choreograph on Kalanidhi students at a very young age. She choreographed her first original Kuchipudi dance, Sakala in 2020 when Kalanidhi partnered with IndianRaga.
Her dance inspirations are her guru Smt. Anuradha Nehru, Sri Jaikishore Mosalikanti, Bijayini Satpathy, and Alvin Ailey.
She is deeply committed to Kuchipudi and belongs to the next generation of must-watch emerging Kuchipudi artists. Pragnya joined Kalanidhi staff in January 2022 as a marketing manager. In addition to managing Kalanidhi’s social media platforms, her responsibilities also include teaching and outreach.
Srilekha has been a part of Kalanidhi Dance for more than 18 years. Having stumbled upon the Kuchipudi art form by chance at the age of 6 through the dance school of her aunt, Smt. Rajani Malladi, Srilekha was thrilled to join Kalanidhi as a student in 2003 and she has remained enchanted by the art form ever since. In 2007, she debuted with the Kalanidhi Dance Company as part of the original Rasa production, and she was part of the troupe that took the show on tour to Hyderabad, Chennai, and New Delhi that year. She has since performed in Kalanidhi's original Bhagmati and Bhoomi productions, and toured with the company in venues across the United States.
As Srilekha has moved around the world for her academic education and legal career, she has brought Kuchipudi with her. She performed repeatedly at Columbia University during her time there, and presented solo performances at the Raindrops Festival in Mumbai in 2013 and in London in 2015. More recently, she helped lead Kalanidhi’s flagship virtual Seasons production over the 2020-2021 year. She currently lives in Miami, FL, where she works as an Assistant Federal Public Defender, and helps to develop Kalanidhi's artistic work as current Artist-in-residence.
Our Mission & Vision
Inspire appreciation for Kuchipudi dance through artistic excellence, creative performances, high-quality educational programs and collaborations.
Our Board Members
Anisha is a pediatrician, with a specialty in adolescent medicine, who has worked in the US, Europe and Asia. Her career encompasses clinical care, leadership, public health, research, and media. Anisha is currently Acting Chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children’s National Hospital in DC. She is also Director of the Adolescent Medicine Fellowship Program. Her book “Raising Global Teens: A Practical Handbook for Parenting in the 21st Century” was published in October 2020 and was an Amazon best seller.
Over the last 25 years, Anisha has served in a number of roles around the world, including as Chief of Adolescent Medicine at Georgetown University Hospital, as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army and on faculty in the School of Public Health at Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Amsterdam.
As a clinician, Anisha treats young people with high risk health issues. As a speaker and health consultant, Anisha works with organizations, schools, parents and teens on preparing cross-cultural teens for the future. As a media expert, she is a regular contributor to the Washington Post and has been interviewed on CNN, NPR, Fox News, and the BBC.
Anisha is active on professional and community organizations including having served on the Board of the Dakshina Dance School in DC. She is an accomplished Indian dancer and in her free time enjoys running and writing. She is also co-producer of the upcoming short film “One Small Visit”. Her website is https://dranishaabraham.com/.
Rajiv is co-founder and Managing Partner of Indigo Arc and Indigo Arc Medical. Rajiv has over 20 years experience as a technologist and entrepreneur. As a Managing Partner at Indigo Arc, LLC. he leads business development and technical architecture teams. In addition to working on mission-critical infrastructure systems, Rajiv also works with companies to help them with their strategies for cloud computing and cyber security. He has a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University. But most importantly, Rajiv is a dedicated Kuchipudi dad, spending countless hours driving his daughter to and from dance.
Jaya Durvasula is the Vice President of Tax at Amentum, a Corporation with over $4 billion in annual sales and operations in 28 countries. In this role, she is responsible for all areas of taxation, including tax aspects of planning, financial reporting, compliance, and mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Amentum, Jaya served as Tax Director for 5 years at Gannett Co. Inc., the largest newspaper company in the United Sates that is the parent company of USA Today. Jaya has also served as a Senior Director Income Tax at Sodexo Inc., a multinational food service corporation. Her career began at Deloitte and Touche in New York City almost 25 years ago. During her career, Jaya has served and advised in all aspects of income tax for global companies and has been a strategic partner in business development for her clients.
Jaya has an MBA in Finance and is a Certified Public Accountant. Her association with Kalanidhi started in 2007 when her daughter began taking lessons with Guru Anuradha Nehru.
Sriram Emani is the Founder and CEO of IndianRaga, which he founded when he was a student at MIT. He is a 2015 Global Fellow with the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA), where he was the only Indian out of 52 Fellows from across the world. Under his leadership, IndianRaga has grown into one of the largest networks of talented musicians and dancers globally, invited to perform at iconic platforms like HowdyModi, United Nations General Assembly, among others. Previously, Sriram worked as a Strategy Fellow with the President of Lincoln Center, New York City, and with the President of Global Digital Business at Sony Music, New York City. He also started the marketing and business development team at the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai, and was a Consultant to Disney Theatrical Group.
Sriram was selected amongst the first batch of 12 Tata Fellows at the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design. He is an alumnus of the MIT Sloan School of Management (Class of 2014) where he was 1 out of 5 students to be awarded the prestigious Siebel Scholarship for academic excellence and leadership. Sriram is also an alumnus of the IIT Bombay, where he was the recipient of the institute’s highest honors for leadership and cultural excellence. He has been invited to speak about his journey with IndianRaga at TEDx, Indic Thoughts Festival, Bangalore International Center, amongst others.
David P. Good
David P. Good is a retired foreign service officer with extensive experience in both India and the Middle East. His 34-year career took him to New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai in India, where he was U.S. Consul General from 1999-2002. He also served in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Kuwait, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. Following his retirement, he represented the Indian firm Tata Sons in North America from 2005-2010, following which he consulted occasionally for both The Albright Stonebridge Group and the State Department. In the latter capacity, he served as acting U.S. Consul General in Kolkata in the summer of 2014. He continues to pursue an active interest in and association with India, where he travels frequently.
Dr. Sarah Degnan Kambou
As the President of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), Dr. Sarah Degnan Kambou leads a global research institute that focuses on realizing women’s empowerment and gender equality to alleviate poverty worldwide. Her expertise centers on sexual and reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, and adolescent health and livelihoods. Sarah has served as a technical advisor to multilaterals, leading corporations and governments seeking to integrate gender into policies, programs and services that will advance the status of women and girls around the world. She has worked for nearly 30 years in Asia, Eastern Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa, including nearly 12 years at ICRW.
Sarah is a development practitioner who believes that research is, in and of itself, a parallel process of social change. Under her leadership, ICRW has developed its presence in the Asia and East African regions and expanded its footprint around the globe. She has strengthened ICRW’s work in traditional areas of expertise—gender based violence, child marriage and HIV—and developed emerging areas of inquiry around women and technology, property rights and gender norms in conflict and post-conflict areas.
In December of 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Sarah to the President’s Global Development Council, where she advises him and key administration leaders on effective practices and policies for U.S. foreign assistance. Also in 2012, President Bill Clinton tapped Sarah to serve as an Advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2010, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed Sarah to represent ICRW on the U.S. Commission to UNESCO.
Sarah was honored in 2010 with Boston University's School of Public Health's Distinguished Alumni Award for her contributions to the field of public health, and in 2011 as an Ashoka ChangemakeHER, the inaugural celebration of the world's most influential and inspiring women. Sarah is a recipient of the Perdita Huston Human Rights Award, conferred in 2013 by the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area in recognition of her commitment to improving the status of women everywhere.
Prior to her leadership at ICRW, Sarah lived in sub-Saharan Africa for more than a decade, managing signature programs for CARE. Through her work, she focused on addressing the social and economic vulnerability of marginalized populations, strengthening civil society in post-conflict settings, and promoting participatory development of underserved urban and rural communities. Prior to her work in Africa, Sarah managed the Center for International Health, which she co-founded in 1987, at the Boston University School of Public Health. Through academic studies in France and long-time residence in francophone Africa, Sarah is a proficient French speaker.
Sarah lives in Maryland with her husband, a senior economist at the World Bank.
Follow her on Twitter @SarahDKambou and connect with her on Linkedin.
Alka Khanna has an extensive background in the arts and education. She is a founding member of Natya Bharati, the oldest Indian theater group in the United States established in 1984, and has held various executive positions including President. She now serves on its Board. During her recent position at Asia Society Washington, she was responsible for organizing arts and culture programs with a focus on the Indian subcontinent, educational activities particularly with universities and think tanks, as well as special events. She established the Global India Series, through which she orchestrated a wide array of presentations and dialogues on Indian arts as well as business and policy issues. Earlier, Alka managed a US Department of Education initiative providing research-based professional development for educators. In addition, she helped develop a new initiative for D.C. Public schools to improve mathematics proficiency among bilingual students. She has many years of teaching experience, both with children and adults in India, the United States and China. Alka has advanced degrees in Applied Social Psychology from George Washington University and in Education from Benaras Hindu University. During her college days she received training in Bharatnatyam from Guru CV Chandrasekhar. She currently divides her time between Washington DC and New Delhi.
Nanda Srikantaiah was a student and performer with Kalanidhi Dance for many years and had her rangapravesham, or debut solo performance, in 2006. She now works as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Treasury, advising on international affairs. She also serves as co-chair of the board of directors of Dance Metro DC, a local dance service organization. As part of Dance Metro DC's Dance Journalism Project, she reviews local dance productions in the area, with a particular interest in Indian classical dance, ballet, tap, and contemporary.