Dakshina’s 12th Annual Fall Festival!

Lead Sponsors: Adarsh and Ranvir Trehan

Friday, October 30 at 7:30 pm
Atlas Performing Arts Center

1333 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002


Opening Artists: ‘Resonannt Moods’ North South Jugalbandi

Alif With Sitar

Alif Laila – Sitar

Alif Laila was trained in the Indian classical music through sitar in Dhaka, Bangladesh by Mir Qasem Khan, nephew of legendary maestro, Allauddin Khan. During her final years of training, she attended the College of Fine Arts in Dhaka. After a move to the United States in 1988, Laila was fortunate to continue her study of Indian classical in sitar with teachers, Partha Chatterjee and Krishna Bhatt and Kushal Das.

Laila’s creative work in Indian classical music with different genres of music are her album,‘I Am a River’, combining sitar and jazz-saxophone, her  composition with sitar and cello was performed at the Bangladesh Embassy, Washington DC in April’12 One of her ‘Sitar & World percussion’ series was presented at the Atlas Intersection Performing Arts Center, Wash DC. The first of her duet series “Resonant Moods” with South Indian classical violin, was hosted by the ‘World Artists Experiences’ in October ’14. She received an ‘Award of Excellence’ in 2012 from Asha, a Washington based women’s rehabilitation organization, for her cultural contribution to the society and community. In May ’14, she digitally released her CD, ‘Amma’ a tribute to her mother, who is an inspiration to her music and life. Laila recently established her music school ‘Sitar Niketan’ in the Wash DC metro area.

Anirudh Alva Changkakoti – Tabla

Anirudh Alva Changkakoti began training to play the Tabla with Dr. Narendra Verma, disciple of the illustrious Ustad Allah Rakha, at the tender age of 3 years. Since his young age, Anirudh has extended his training with the maestro, Ustad Zakir Hussain, while performing in various National and International conventions across many states in US, Canada, and nationally broadcasted programs in India, and has won many awards of excellence for his skill. Anirudh is currently a junior at James Madison University with a Pre-Med concentration in the Health Sciences field.

HN Bhaskar – Violin

HN Bhaskar’s first and the most significant gurus are his parents, Sri HK Narasimhamurthy and Smt HN Rajalakshmi, from whom he started his violin and vocal training respectively at a tender age. In his teens, Bhaskar was recognized by All India Radio for his skills in music composition. While studying music, he had the privilege to learn from renowned legendary violinist and HKN’s guru, Sri Parur MS Gopalakrishnan His work in the field of fusion has been hugely appreciated internationally and he has composed music for numerous albums in the genre of Carnatic, Light Classical and World Fusion.

Vijay Ganesh – Mridangam

Vijay Ganesh began learning the divine art of mridangam at age 6 under the great Vidwan Late Sri. Kumbakonam Rajappa Iyer. Vijay Ganesh has accompanied many eminent Carnatic/Hindustani musicians, vocalists and players of instruments, notably Sri Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Sri Unnikrishnan, Anupama Bhagwat, Sri Deepak Ram, Sri Maharajapuram Ramachandran, A. Kanayakumari, Sri HN Bhaskar, Alif Laila and among others. He has also played numerous Jugalbandhi concerts. He is an AIR, Chennai graded artist. Ganesh has captured the hearts of music lovers with his versatile and masterly performance on the mridangam.


Featured Artist: Professor C. V. Chandrasekhar


Professor C. V. Chandrasekhar is one of India’s senior most Bharata Natyam dancers, academician, dance scholar, composer, and choreographer. He retired as Head of the Faculty of Performing Arts of M.S. University, Baroda in 1992. Professor Chandrashekhar and wife Jaya Chandrasekhar are one of the best known dancing couples of Bharata Natyam in India, during the 1970s and 1980s, they performed with their daughters Chitra and Manjari. He now runs his own dance institution, Nrityashree, in Chennai.
He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Bharata Natyam in 1993, by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, and received the Kalidas Samman in 2008. In 2011, he was honored with the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.

Professor Chandrasekhar started his dancing career in 1947, when there were few male dancers.[1] He served at the Banaras Hindu University and later joined M.S. University of Baroda, where he retired as the Head and Dean of the Faculty of Performing Arts in 1992. Professor Chandrasekhar is a multi-faceted personality being a dancer, choreographer, researcher, musician, academician, composer and highly acclaimed teacher of Bharata Natyam. He has been performing for the past six decades in India and all over the globe and is invited by many dancers the world over to teach and to choreograph. A much revered dancer who is now 80 years, his presentation of Bharata Natyam technique is at its finest and continues to be an inspiration for all dancers.
Chitra Chandrasekhar Dasarathy is the daughter and senior disciple of Professor Chandrasekhar. A renowned and respected dancer and choreographer in her own right, she will be joining Professor Chandrasekhar for the Fall Festival in Washington DC.

Saturday, October 31 at 7:30 pm
Atlas Performing Arts Center

1333 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002


Featured Artist: Rama Vaidyanathan

DwitaRamaSmallRama Vaidyanathan is one of India’s leading classical dancers. She is considered as one of the best interpreters of the ancient art form of Bharata Natyam. She has been fortunate to have trained intensively under the legendry dancer Yamini Krishnamurty. Rama has also been under the guidance of the eminent Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan. Everyone who has seen Rama perform is struck by her unique thought process and fresh approach to dance. While deeply rooted in tradition. She has evolved her own individual style without forsaking the core principles of Bharata Natyam.

Rama has been performing professionally for the past twenty years and is one of the most sought after dancers of her generation. She brings to her dance a rare sense of devotion and dedication, which leaves the audience with a sense of spiritual fulfillment. In SRUTI, India’s premiere magazine for the performing arts, noted dance critic Leela Venkataraman writes, “The dancer’s fluency in negotiating space, her intuitive ability for well- crafted and nuanced choreography with a sense of ‘belonging ‘ with the theme and a feel for aesthetics are all factors to reckon with.”

Daniel wrote his first dance review after feeling compelled to articulate why Rama Vaidyanathan’s performance at Kalakshetra moved him so much. Read Daniel’s blog post here.

Fall Festival 2015 DWITA
(duality of life)
In DWITA, a Sanskrit term that means duality, a mother and her daughter remind us of the dualities in that pairing. While both complement and empower each other, one symbolizes the present and the other is significant to the future. They explore how there are always two sides to a coin, two paths to a goal, and discover that, for both to coexist, both must be recognized.

The production, choreographed by Rama, will be performed by herself and her daughter Dakshina, and will be accompanied by her ensemble of musicians from India. Lighting Design is by Sridhar Shanmugam.

“Another artist now showing real mastery was Rama Vaidyanathan; and in her recital, the surprising element was humor, with constant dashes of satire, wryness and amusement.” – New York Times

“Ms. Vaidyanathan showed the beauty and expressiveness of Bharata Natyam in terms of full-stretched line, gesture and rhythm.” – New York Times


Sunday, November 1 at 4:00 pm
Atlas Performing Arts Center

1333 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002


Opening Artist: Arushi Mudgal

kamal-sahai-1Arushi Mudgal is one of the foremost young talents in the field of Odissi dance today: she is known for technical virtuosity and creative approach to tradition. She has trained under Guru Smt. Madhavi Mudgal at the Gandharva Mahavidyala, Delhi. Arushi tours extensively as a soloist performing at various prestigious festivals within India and abroad.

Mudgal has performed at some of the finest theatres of France and has given successful performances at respected festivals in the USA, United Kingdom, Europe, Malaysia, and Singapore. Some of her significant performances in in India include ones at Nishagandhi Festival – Trivandrum, the Music Academy, Kathrik Fine Arts, Brahma Gana Sabha – Chennai N.C.P.A – Mumbai, and Snageet Natak Akademi’s Yuva Puraskar Festival – Delhi. Her choreographic quest has led her to explore plural areas of creativity, from the traditional to contemporary. Her recent collaborative projects include Haveli, a production with musicians of Indian and Western genres, an opera called Orfeo – Crossing the Ganges, Samagat with Kathak dancer Monisa Naya, Swadesh with Mythili PRakash and Monisa Nayak, presented in the UK, and Sama, a contemporary work with Roland Auzet, a French percussionist that premiered in May 2014 at the famous Steps Festival of Switzerland, and continues to tour in France. Mudgal has co-authored a book on the aesthetics of Odissi with the senior scholar and aesthetician Professor S.K. Saxena.


Featured Artist: Dr. Mallika Sarabhai

Famous for many years in India as a classical dancer, Dr. Mallika Sarabhai first came to the attention of the world as a stage actress for her highly acclaimed performance in Peter Brook’s “The Mahabharata”. Ironically, the only Indian in this multi-national epic production, she played Draupadi and performed the role over 5 years in both the French and English stage versions, the film and the television version. With her smoldering beauty, mellifluous voice and sensual elegance she dazzled audiences with her brilliant and moving portrayal of the wife of the five Pandava brothers. Frequently using humor to address serious issues, she imbues her art with strong and positive affirmations to try to raise the consciousness of her audiences, creating ripples of awareness that lead to change—particularly the empowerment of women. Dr. Sarabhai launched Dakshina’s Fall Festival in 2004 and it is a great pleasure for Dakshina to have her back in Washington DC.

Dr. Sarabhai’s works are unique in their commitment to aesthetic/artistic perfection while staying deeply committed to social justice issues such as poverty, dowry deaths, female infanticide, rape, non-violence, ecology, and gender/caste disparities. Under her leadership, Darpana Academy created the “Center for Non-Violence” the first organization in India to connect social justice work with the arts. She is one of the few artists in India to take her works to the slums of India; more importantly she develops her work based on the issues that surround the slum dwellers. In the slums (ghettos) the audience members often become part of the performance, when they join in for an impromptu story telling of some of the injustices they face during Sarabhai’s performance. Thus, her performances enable the audiences to voice their concerns and she often helps to organize their self-empowerment efforts as well. Her eloquent and impassioned fight for justice through the arts has not gone unnoticed. She has been praised for her strong leadership and has even been placed under house arrest when she spoke out against the tacit government policies that oppress the minorities in India.

Undaunted, Dr. Sarabhai continues her work in the arts and human rights, she says her choreography “stems out of a desperate need to talk about an issue. That is the engine of my work. It is my role as an artist to instigate uncomfortable discussion.” She dedicates her drive and her background in theater, dance, and music to constantly challenge the status quo. Dr. Sarabhai uses her knowledge of ancient art forms and traditions of India to address current realities in India.


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Highlights of Dakshina’s 2013 season

Pamela Squires writes, “In only 10 years, the annual Fall Festival of Indian Arts has become a Washington area mainstay. The festival’s dynamic program Friday at Sidney Harman Hall demonstrated that this first-rate festival is mature for its years, yet still young enough to bristle with bright promise. It is a heady combination.” Read full Washington Post review. September 22, 2013.

Sarah Kaufman, the Pulitzer price winning chief critic at the Washington Post writes: “It’s fitting that Singh, whose fascination with Sokolow has led to excellent productions of her works over the years, chose to present this gem. The weekend performances, with sharp new costumes by Judith Hansen, were a homecoming of sorts, as the work premiered in 1970 at Towson University in Towson, Md. Lorry May, who danced with Sokolow for more than 30 years, staged the work for Singh’s company.” Read full Washington Post review here. April 15, 2013.

Washington Performing Arts Society, in association with the Pola Nirenska Memorial Awards Committee, announces the presentation of the 2013 Pola Nirenska Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Dance to Daniel Phoenix Singh. Pola Nirenska (1910-1992) was a matriarch of modern dance in Washington, DC who survives through her work, and the gift of an annual award to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to dance. Read more about the Pola Nirenska award here.

Can We Count On Your Support in 2015?

In 2013, Dakshina’s performances reached close to 7000 community members. Dakshina’s Unique Adult Outreach Program provided free tickets to over 400 underprivileged adults through our work with local partners such as (SOME) So Others May Eat, Christ House, Martha’s Table and Miriam’s Kitchen. Our partnership with Class Acts Arts will bring the joy of dance to 25 schools and community organizations this season!

 Your support made this growth possible. How? Every dollar you donated went directly towards our artistic projects and outreach programming. Dakshina is currently run entirely by volunteers, with zero dollars going towards administrative costs.

How You Can Help

1. Click here to make a secure, tax-deductible contribution online in less than a minute. Make a difference in the lives of local dancers. If you’d rather send a check, please mail it to Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company, 4607 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20011.
2. See if your Employer will match your donation to Dakshina (remember we are a registered 501(c) 3 organization)
3. Spread the word, Tell 5 of your friends about Dakshina, ask them to match your donation and sign up for our email list.

Keep us on our Feet–You are the dance!
Daniel Singh

Want to experience the movement? Join Dakshina today!

Currently Dakshina is seeking Board Members and volunteers who have experience in the following areas: Fundraising, Corporate Relations, South Asian Community Liaison, LGBT Community Liaison, Non-Profit Law, and Accounting. In addition, we are looking for event planning volunteers to help us organize our 2015 season. Our volunteers get to meet international artists and work in a hands-on environment, meet wonderful people and have fun while doing it all. Make a difference in your community and the arts scene. Email us at info@dakshina.org to get started. Visit our Facebook page for ongoing updates and to get a sneak peak at our rehearsal pictures. www.facebook.com/DakshinaDC.