Kala Vandanam – Students of Suchitra Sairam

Natya Varna – Colors of Bharatanatyam
Kala Vandanam – Students of Suchitra Sairam
Suchitra Sairam – Director, Kala Vandanam


Thillana is a joyous dance filled with complex rhythmic passages and beautiful poses, emphasizing both movement and silence in time. The rhythmic passages are created to complement and enhance the melody, creating a perfect blend of melody, rhythm and movement for festive celebration of dance. Thillana concludes with a short verse of poetic text; in this case, in praise of the cosmic dancer Lord Shiva, whose dance creates the rhythm of the universe.

Ragam: Hindolam
Talam: Adi
Language: Tamil
Lyrics and Music: Sri K.N. Dhandayuthapani Pillai
Choreography: The Dhananjayans
Performed by: Tarunika Anand, Vibha Mavanji, and Aarthi Vijayakumar”


In Pushpanjali, the “offering of flowers,” dancers share their joy and devotion in a most simple and beautiful way. Flowers represent the purity of devotion, and are offered to the divine through fluid abstract dance movements from the Bharatanatyam vocabulary.

Ragam: Nattai
Talam: Adi
Choreography: Suchitra Sairam
Performed by: Meghana Acharya, Isha Desai, Akshaya Ganeshkumar, Swetha Ganeshkumar, Bhaarathi Venkata

Gam Ganapathe
Gam Ganapathe is a beautiful song in praise of Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles in the Hindu pantheon. The composer describes Lord Ganesha’s many virtues and physical attributes, and the special place he holds for both human souls and the divine. “Oh Ganesha, the beautiful son of Goddess Parvati, we bow down to you in prayer. You hold the goad in your hand, are the source of all things auspicious, and have beautiful soft feet like the lotus. Those on earth and in the heavens offer their obeisance to you, as you are the one who removes obstacles and darkness from their paths. You, the great son of Lord Shiva, are the rich color of saffron, and offer your compassion to all.”

Ragam: Gambeera Nattai
Talam: Rupakam
Language: Sanskrit
Music & Lyrics: Sri Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar
Choreography: Sri M.V. Narasimhachari and Smt. M. Vasanthalakshmi
Performed by: Vibha Mavanji and Aarthi Vijayakumar

Jathiswaram is a convergence of the charm of melody, the excitement of meter, and the beauty of abstract dance movement. The technical dance sentences, or jathis, are choreographed to perfectly interweave with the swaram, or melodic, passages. The music does not convey any specific meaning; as a result, the dancer and audience are simply left with the pure joy of rhythm, melody and movement.

Ragam: Vasantha
Talam: Rupakam
Music: Tanjore Quartet
Choreography: Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale (Kalakshetra)
Performed by: Deepta Jasthi and Archana Murali

Suchitra Sairam is a highly committed Bharatanatyam artist with over 25 years in the field, and was principally trained in the Kalakshetra style by Smt. Padmini Chari, director of the Nritya School of Bharatanatyam in Houston, TX. Suchitra has continued advanced training in Bharatanatyam and nattuvangam under Sri M.V. Narasimhachari and Smt. M. Vasanthalakshmi, and Sri V.P. and Smt. Shanta Dhananjayan for over 20 years. All of these artists continue to be great guides and inspirations to her as an artist, teacher, and arts presenter. Suchitra’s work as a performing artist, choreographer and teacher is noted for its adherence to her gurus’ exacting standards, and depth in both nritta and abhinaya.

Suchitra founded Kala Vandanam in 2002 in St. Paul, MN with the vision of creating and presenting Bharatanatyam works that celebrate the tradition while embracing the aesthetics of our changing world. Through Kala Vandanam, she also teaches a small group of committed students, and is an emerging Indian arts presenter in the Twin Cities. Suchitra has presented four of her students in their formal solo debut, or Arangetram.

Suchitra’s performances as a soloist, a lead dancer in several of Nritya’s productions, and as a guest artist in productions by Monica Cooley (Kala Nivedanam, Nashville, TN) have been received with appreciation. Her solo performances over her career have supported fundraising activities for a variety of worthy causes in several cities in the US. Suchitra is also a frequent contributor to Indian classical dance fundraisers benefitting the Hindu Society of Minnesota, and other Twin Cities Indian classical arts programs. She and two of her senior students appeared on Geetmala in 2010. Suchitra is a skilled nattuvangam artist, accompanying both soloists and dance companies.

Suchitra holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and an MBA from the University of Texas-Dallas. In addition to her extensive business experience, and passion and commitment to the arts, she has volunteered her time over many years for arts and culture groups, organizations supporting women’s professional development, and groups supporting science and math education and achievement for young girls.

Bharatanatyam is one of the most popular and widely practiced classical dance styles of India, with sculptural evidence dating back nearly 3000 years. A highly spiritual and dedicatory dance form, Bharatanatyam‘s roots go back to the Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu, in South India. The dance moved from temples to theaters over time, but has retained its characteristic devotional component, expression of human emotions, and stylized storytelling. The flexibility of the Bharatanatyam framework lends itself well to both traditional themes as well as modern day subjects. Originally performed only by female soloists, Bharatanatyam is now performed by male and female soloists as well as ensembles all over the world. In its present form, Bharatanatyam is approximately 200 years old, and continues to evolve as a “living” performance art.

Bharatanatyam is comprised of three main aspects – nritta, or technical dance, with a sophisticated base vocabulary used to build intricate combinations and rhythmic patterns that does not convey any specific meaning; nritya, or expressional dance, using highly stylized gestures, postures and body language to convey any mood; and natya, or dramatic storytelling. All of these aspects are codified in the Natya Shastra, the ancient Indian treatise on dance and theater arts, and are used in harmony to uplift the audience and the dancer to a higher level of contentment and spiritual consciousness.

Meghana Acharya
Tarunika Anand
Isha Desai
Akshaya Ganeshkumar
Swetha Ganeshkumar
Deepta Jasthi
Vibha Mavanji
Archana Murali
Bhaarathi Venkata
Aarthi Vijayakumar