SRI. KANDAPPA ~ SMT. T. BALASARASWATI
DAKSHINA PALLI DANCE COMPANY
Dakshina Palli Dance Company: Led by the dynamic artistic vision of Jaan R. Freeman. DPDC (Dakshina Palli Dance Company) a resident company of Dakshina Palli was established in 2005 and made up of Dakshina’s instructors who are uniquely talented dancers who have completed advance programs under their gurus. The company showcases the rich, highly elegant and distinguished repertoire of the Balasaraswati lineage as well as feature outstanding, emerging guest artist of their peers. In February 2005 DPDC founded its series entitled “A New Generation”, a program featuring young professional dancers of this lineage, with a fresh interpretation of this traditional and ancient art form. DPDC maintains that it isn’t a repository of the classical repertoire only but a company which would showcase new innovative contemporary bharatanatyam dances.
Freeman’s choreography is a combination of the highly systematized vocabulary of bharatanatyam and the kinetic and bold approach of modern dance; which brings forth a true synthesis of modern art. The DPDC is a unique company whose strength is its repertory. The company has performed at:Trisha Brown Dance Center, City Center Studios, Sri Venkateswara Balaji Hindu Temple, Merkin Hall, Biko Center, Downtown Dance Festival, Ananda Ashram, Mary Anthony Dance Theater and the Elebash Recital Hall at CUNY.
THE COMPANY- SHANTI PILLAI, JAAN R. FREEMAN , ROMONA MUKHERJEE & RUKMANI J. VENKATARAMANI
JAAN R. FREEMAN ( Founding/Artistic Director/Instructor)
Began studying bharatanatyam in the USA 1995 . In 1997 he began advance training and became a disciple of Smt. Nandini Ramani of Chennai, India and Smt. Priyamvada Sankar of Montreal, Canada both senior disciples of T. Balasaraswati. Mr. Freeman had his bharatanatyam Arangetram (graduation) in 2005 at the historical Henry Street Settlement Playhouse Theater in N.Y. He has been invited to perform bharatanatyam at the school of Dance Theater of Harlem, Downtown Dance Festival, Ganesh Temple in Flushing, Queens, the Sri Balaji Hindu Temple of Bridgewater,NJ and the Asian Heritage Celebration among other venues. Jaan presently teaches bharatanatyam through Dakshina Palli,the New York City school he founded in 2004.
Jaan comes to Indian dance as a modern dancer who has performed and choreographed for the past 16 years in the USA. He has performed at the Kennedy Center, BAM, Lied Center of Nebraska, Madras Music Academy and Carnegie Hall among other celebrated venues. Abroad, Freeman has taught modern dance in every major city in India since 1997 and toured Sri Lanka, Poland and India. Freeman was in the original production of “Purush: Expressions of Man” which highlighted male dancers from India and the USA and was in the 1997 tour of “Songs of Tagore”, both produced by the Battery Dance Company.Freeman has been touring the United States with his program "Bharata Natyam For New Audiences" since 2008.
SHANTI PILLAI(Associate Director/ Instructor) holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University and is a Visiting Professor in Global Studies at Sarah Lawrence College. She began studying bharatanatyam in 1997 in the style of T. Balasaraswati in the USA and currently a disciple of Nandini Ramani of Chennai, India and Priyamvada Sankar of Montreal, Canada and had her bharatanatyam Arangetram at New York’s Henry Street Settlement Playhouse Theater in 2005. She has been performing and lecturing throughout New York and in Latin America. Shanti performed as a modern dancer and actress with the noted company, el Frente de Danza Independiente, in Ecuador from 1991-1994. She is also a New York State Council for the Humanities Speaker offering lectures on India’s arts.
ROMONA MUKHERJEE (Company Member) began her dance journey at the age of 5 performing various styles of Indian folk dance and gradually finding her way into Bharata Natyam. She began her Bharata Natyam training in 1987 and in 1991 she began to study Bharata Natyam in the Tanjavur style with Laurissa Eifler. Romona studied with Ms. Eifler who is the co- director of the Koothambalam School of Devadasi Sadir in Boulder Colorado. Romona is undergoing advance studies under her current guru, Smt. Shyamala, a master teacher of the Balasaraswati lineage. In 2003 Romona had her Arangetram (graduation) in Boulder, Colorado, since then she has worked as a teacher at the Koothambalam School. Romona moved to New York City three years ago, where she currently resides, and conducts private classes for serious students. She has also conducted workshops at Lotus Music and Dance. Romona recently performed in Local 7’s production of “Open Door” at La MaMa Theater in NYC and performed in Dakshina Palli’s production CONTEMP-NATYAM. She is a 2006 graduate of Teachers College at Columbia University.
RUKMANI J. VENKATARAMANI (Company Member)Born in Madras, India where she had her formal Bharatanatyam training under the late Sri Venkatachalapathy. After 6 years of study under her teacher she had her Arangetram (graduation) in 1986. She has performed in India at the Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan & Nungambakkam Cultural Center. Rukmani came to the USA in 1997 where she performed at the Ganesha Hindu Temple and the Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan and the Concert Hall of FIT. In 2002 she continued her studies in Bharatanatyam at Dakshina Palli, Inc under Jaan R. Freeman and had her arangetram in the Balasaraswati Sampradaya in 2008. Rukmani has performed as a featured dancer & soloist in our student recitals and Dakshina’s production of “CONTEMP-NATYAM”. In 2008 Rukmani became a company member with the Dakshina Palli Dance Company, the resident professional company of the school. In March of 2008 she performed along with Mr. Freeman in a concert at the Ananda Ashram in Monroe NY.
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