Bharatanatyam Arangetram

(indian classical dance debut)

Bharatanatyam Arangetram

(indian classical dance debut)

Avya Poddatoori

(son of Vinny and Vineela Poddatoori)

Saturday, July 29, 2023 3:30 pm

Hofmann Theater
Lesher Center for the Arts
1601 Civic Drive
Walnut Creek, CA 94596



Avya Poddatoori, student of Shyamjit Kiran & Viraja of Kalakshetra, will be performing Bharatanatyam, a classical South Indian dance form. An arangetram is the first full length solo performance of a dancer. When the student and teacher through years of dedicated training are prepared to take on the dancing journey ahead, an arangetram is made as an offering to everything in nature that has brought this blessing together.

Please RSVP Here (Let us know you are coming!)


Residence Inn

2050 N California Blvd,
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Poddatoori Group Rate - $199 / night Friday, July 28, 2023 to Sunday, July 30, 2023.

reserve here


Avya Poddatoori

Avya has always loved dance, and was often found center stage on the dance floor, even before he was introduced to the classical dance form of Bharatanatyam by his mother, a Kalanjali graduate and a former dancer for the Nava Dance theatre company. At the age of 8, he began his formal training in Bharatanatyam from Katherine Kunhiraman, who instilled in him a passion for dance and provided him a strong foundation.

Under the guidance of Viraja and Shyamjit Kiran of Kalakshetra, he began a new stage in his training.  Over many summers, winters and countless zoom sessions, Avya and Shyam’s bond grew to be beyond that of a teacher and student.  Shyam has become a cherished, respected and sometimes strict but loving “Anna” or older brother.

Avya has performed at various temple/cultural events and charity fundraisers, including UC Davis’ International Festival and Ganesh Vasudeva’s “Boys Don’t Dance.'' He is currently enjoying his sophomore year in high school, where he follows his other passion, playing basketball on Miramonte’s JV team.  He is active in his school leadership as the chair of the philanthropy commission and volunteering with Little Flock, a non-profit supporting an orphanage and women's shelter in Chennai. Avya’s favorite pastimes are learning languages (he is fluent in Japanese and Spanish) playing with his brothers, Anaya and Vayu, and teasing his baby sister Eeshweri incessantly.

Teachers and Artistic Directors of Tridhā

Viraja and Shyamjith Kiran

Viraja & Shyamjith Kiran are a dynamic dance couple trained from the illustrious Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai. Both of them have previously been a part of the Kalakshetra repertory company taking up major roles and also taught as part time faculty at their alma mater. They have had the rich experience of working with legends in their field like the Dhananjayans and Leela Samson.

The duo has also been trained in Kathakali under their guru Sadanam Balakrishnan. Involvement with these gurus, Kalakshetra and their independent pursuits has enabled them to perform at various prestigious venues world over. Training in Yoga and Kalaripayattu has been an important factor in their understanding of not just the physicality of the human form but also the intellect. Some of their critically acclaimed works include, Pareekshana, Mudivil Oru Aarambam, Svam, Aham, Rekha, Eeram and Samaagati.

Chief Guest

Katherine Kunhiraman

Bharatanatyam dance director/founder of Kalanjali and Avya’s first teacher
Katherine Kunhiraman and the late Sri. KP Kunhiraman, founded Kalanjali: Dances of India in 1975, and have contributed immensely to the field of Indian classical dance in the United States. In 2014 they received the ‘Malonga Casquelord Lifetime Achievement Award’ from the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, in which they often performed with their company.

Kunhiraman was a vital part of Kalakshetra Institute of Fine Arts, in Chennai, working directly under Rukmini Devi Arundale for nearly forty years, as a performer and teacher, living a career that spanned over 67 years. He and Katherine gave themselves to both Bharatanatyam and Kathakali with one combined energy.

Katherine had spent twelve years studying dance and music in India, first in Kolkata and later at Kalakshetra where she met Kunhiraman. She did advanced studies with the Dhananjayans at Bharata Kalanjali, and was their first graduate. She has performed all over India, as well as Lebanon, Egypt, England, and the US.


Roopa Mahadevan

Roopa Mahadevan is a leading second-generation Indian classical and crossover vocalist in the American diaspora, known for her powerful, emotive voice, versatility, and collaborative spirit. She leads the crossover ensemble Roopa in Flux, where she works with musicians in jazz, soul/R&B, free improv, and various global traditions, directs the innovative choir Navatman Music Collective, and sings for leading Bharathanatyam and modern dancers. Roopa trained in Carnatic music under Asha Ramesh and further under Suguna Varadachari in India through the Fulbright scholarship. Roopa has performed in diverse venues such as Chennai's Music Academy during the December festival and Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana, which awarded her the title "Kala Ratna," as well as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, MET Museum, Hollywood Bowl, SF Jazz, Kennedy Center Millenium Stage, and more. She is a soloist on Christopher Tin’s Grammy Award-winning Calling All Dawns, and is a sought-after vocalist for several cutting-edge ensembles, including Brooklyn Raga Massive. Roopa has been invited to residencies at the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity, Hedgebrook, Mass MOCA, Ryder Farm, and Joe's Pub. Through a Creative Work Fund grant with collaborator Sruti Sarathy, she is currently composing songs to amplify untold stories of South Asian diasporic life. Previously, Roopa worked in public health policy, following degrees from Stanford University.


Srinath Bala

Srinath Bala is a versatile percussionist with varied styles blended rhythmically into one! Having been initiated by Late Sri. Krishnan (Palghat Sri Mani Iyer style), he received intensive guidance under Sri. R. Ramesh (Karaikudi Mani Style) in Chennai, and later, under Maestro Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman. To his credit, he has uniquely combined the kannakku and naadam aspects from various gurus. He has accompanied the topmost senior artists performing in India, Canada, Zambia, Singapore and the US, and also played in Jugalbandis and TalaVadya Concerts to showcase the solo percussion aspects. He has various recordings and has given lecture- demonstrations on 'LAYAM'. In 2006, he presented a TalaVadya concert titled “Music Through Membranes”. Being a recipient of the PG Arts award and MSAC Artist Awards, he has over 25 years of concert experiences and is a extremely well sought after artist for Music and Dance Concerts. He has been teaching students for many years and successfully trained many students, who currently play Mridangam, Ghatam, and Kanjira actively in various music circles.

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Krishna Parthasarathy

Krishna Parthasarathy is a professional vocalist and violinist who resides in the Bay Area. He learned Carnatic music from Sri. K.J. Yesudas and Sri. P.V. Natarajan. He is also continuing his Hindustani training from Smt. N. Rajam in violin, and Sri Nachiketha Yakkundi in vocal.


Anirudh Bharadwaj

Anirudh Bharadwaj, a Carnatic flautist, is a disciple of Sri Delhi P Sunder Rajan. He had his initial training under Smt. Akhila Krishnan and Sri PN Krishnan, eminent musicians from Delhi. He has learnt from Ranjani-Gayatri, and had his training in hindustani flute under Pandit Kailash Sharma in Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi.

He has performed with Vyjayanthimala, Dhananjayans, Leela Samson, Rama Vaidyanathan, Swapna Sundari, Mavin Khoo, KP Rakesh, Bhavajan Kumar, Parshwanath Upadhyay, Geeta Chandran, Renjith-Vijna and Shijith-Parvathy, among others, in all the major venues in India and abroad.


Venu Kolavennu

Venu Kolavennu has been playing the veena since his early childhood. His teacher is Srikanth Chary, disciple of the famed Lalgudi Jayaraman. Over the years, Venu has given a number of concerts and performances, both individually and collaboratively with others. His mother, Srilakshmi Kolavennu is a well known singer and music teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area.

© Avya Poddatoori