Anitha Kannan started learning Bharathanatyam at the age of three, in India, under the Guru Mrs.Teresa and Guru Mrs. Prabha Natrajan. She has presented multiple stage performances in bharathanatyam and folk dances. After a 17 year break from dance, she saw Nava Nritya group perform. She heard about the various classical forms of dances taught by Anwesha and her desire and dream to dance and learn more started to take shape. She joined Nava Nritya Dance Academy in 2006, and trained as part of the senior group “Mirage.” The Navanritya form of dance lets her explore a lot of dance forms and keeps her creativity alive.
This is the main reason; she still wants to continue her training as a senior dancer. Another personal reason, because the group is so well bonded. Irrespective of age, everyone is like a great big family, helping each other out. She became a teacher in 2008 and enjoys teaching the younger generation. She loves to see her students perform on stage, present complex choreography and celebrate the rich heritage of Indian dances.
The Academy has also given her an opportunity to be a part of Ray of Hope International Foundation, started by Anwesha. Anitha supports Ray of Hope events outside of dance. Not only is dancing fun, but also, she gets to dance to make a difference. Anitha is proud to be one amongst the big family of Nava Nritya Dance Academy and be involved in their charitable events.
Anitha finished her Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Sustainability Engineering. She’s happily married to Kannan Sivarajan and is a mom of two wonderful children Nikilesh and Nishitha (is a student at the academy also.) Anitha is excited to see her husband starting to participate in the academy’s folk dances.
Sridevi Jakka learned Kuchipudi a classical dance form of Andhra Pradesh when she was young in Eluru, India. She presented several solo performances and led Kuchipudi dance dramas even at state level competitions. Sridevi is also trained in South Indian classical music. She has a Master’s Degree in Marine Sciences from Andhra University, India.
Sridevi believes that dancing is a gift given to us by God, which she likes to cherish and share. She enrolled her elder daughter Spandana at Nava Nritya Dance Academy and later joined herself in fulfilling her dream of lifelong dancing. She loves the way how the Academy and director Ms.Anwesha not only teaches Classical Bharatanatyam , but also Nava Nritya dance, a dance form that opens up new horizons. She admires how Anwesha instills creativity and self-confidence in the students by making them think out of the box, through buddy systems and mentoring which promotes leadership qualities.
Sridevi teachers the Little Angels group and is happy to see her students feel proud helping needy kids in India and several other charities around the world through Ray of Hope International foundation. She says “I am blessed to be part of this family where we grow everyday by not only learning dance, but also several life enriching lessons from each other.”
Sridevi has been working full time for last 16 years. She started as a software programmer and worked her way up to be a technology manager (AVP) for a financial organization. She lives in Malvern with her husband Sreeni and 3 delightful children Spandana, Saadhana (who are also students at Nava Nritya dance academy) and a son. Like Anitha and Anwesha, she too enjoys seeing her husband dance to her tune, who actually participated in a folk dance in the 2013 show. After all, dance is a way of life for us as a family.
Sanjana Jayaram born and brought up in Norristown/Plymouth meeting area is living with her parents and twin brothers in Eagleville. She joined Nava Nritya Dance Academy at the tender age of 6 to learn Bharatnatyam under the guidance of Ms. Anwesha Dutta. Learning Bharatnatyam and Navanritya has helped her in performing on various stages like Kannada group (Navodaya kannada koota) and at Indian Independence day celebrations.
She has extensively performed at our recitals with lead roles and got special kudos for her abhinaya or acting skills and hence we call her the drama queen. She is a stellar dancer with strong technique and choreography skills, and deeply inspires her juniors to be cheerful, confident, helpful and dedicated like herself. She presented her 2 hour solo debut or arangetram in 2012 with extremely complex and acrobatic items such as Dashavatar with a live orchestra. Her arangetram was a huge success and was attended by 250+ community members. After her Arangetram she has continued her advanced dance career to further excel her skills to the next level. She is also assisting Ms.Anwesha and Ms. Anitha with the intermediate and beginner dance classes, choreography and recital preparation. She loves working with children and hopes to teach at the academy even after college. She shares a special bond with Ms. Anwesha who admires her agility, zeal, abhinaya and dedication.
Sanjana is a junior at high school with a passion for science. Other than Bharatnatyam Sanjana has been learning Piano under Ms. Kim, Miyoung from the age of 6 and has given several recitals and also she has been learning flute since 4th grade and is part of school band. She is part of school tennis team and also was part of Ashe tennis team in 2007. She enjoys swimming, watching movies, reading and cooking. Sanjana also is a dedicated volunteer of Ray of Hope and recently raised $1700+ on her own through her 16th birthday party with the intent of helping underprivileged children in India.
Anjali Menon started learning Bharathanatyam when she was 4 years old in Trivandrum, Kerala. With a strong passion for dancing, she invested her time in learning folk dances as well. She completed 6 years of Bharathanatyam training and presented her solo debut or Arangetram at the age of 10 in India, and moved to the U.S. soon after with my family.
The passion never dies, and she knew she would always find a way to officially dance again on stage. At the age of 15, Anjali started to dance again on several different stages around the tri-state area. Soon after, she discovered Navanritya Dance Academy, and she was very excited to perform Bharathanatyam again. Anjali was also looking forward to learning the Navanritya style of dance as she is always a proponent for growing as a dancer through learning new styles and skills. She trained and performed with the senior group of dancers, Mirage, on a number of stages. Then she went to Penn State for college, where she co-founded Penn State’s first ever Indian Classical Dance Team, PSU Natya. They have performed on many stages in their first two years as a group and has since then grown three-fold its size and thrives today at competitions. She also became the director of State International Dance Ensemble, where she learned many new styles of global dancing, like Chinese Umbrella, Belly dancing, Jazz, Coupé Décalé, etc. and performed on numerous stages and competitions.
Now, after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she is pursuing her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at West Chester University, and pursuing her dream of becoming a Child/Adolescent Psychologist. Since she is studying near her home, Anjali looked forward to becoming part of the Navanritya family again. She is now an assistant teacher helping out with the younger groups of dancers, and absolutely loves being a mentor and teaching the little ones!