Smt. Vinitha Subramanian, Director

Guru Smt. Vinitha Subramanian began her dancing career at the tender age of four under the tutelage of Thirukoshtiyur Nagarathna Ammal. She then went on to be trained in the Thirukoshtiyur and Pandanainallur styles under Shri Radhakrishnan of Bangalore and Madurai S. Jayaraman, She also received a year of Kathakali training under Shri Manoharan, She has given performances in diverse cities as Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Tirupati, and all over Tamilnadu. After moving to Texas, she founded Natyalaya School of Dance in 1982. Since then, she has taken scores of students through margam training, culminating in their arangetrams. Many of her students have gone on to make their own marks in the field of dance. She also has several dance dramas to her credit: “Agasthya,” “Prahala Bhakthi Vijayam,” “Nauka Charitram,” “Two faces of Shiva,” “Aaru Padai Veedu,” “Raja Rajeshwari,” “Ganga – A River’s story,” and “Navahavarna – Colors of Number Nine.” She has also won several awards, most recently the 2019 Austin Tamil Sangam Kalai Magudam Award, the 2019 Sambhrama Puraskara Award and the 2019 Agni Foundation Distinguished Artist Hall of Fame honor. Under her direction Natyalaya has grown to over 150 students with branches in North Austin, Round Rock, Leander, and East Austin.

Kanaka Sathasivan, Associate Director

Guru Smt. Kanaka Sathasivan started learning dance under Smt. Vinitha Subramanian at the age of seven. She has learned from a number of acclaimed artists including Mohaniattam under Kalamandalam Radhika, and Kuchipudi under Vaijaynthi Kashi. She trained in Nattuvangam under P. Narendra Kumar and D.V. Prasanna Kumar. She has performed all over Texas as well as in Tamil Nadu, including with Nritya Sangam, the award-winning classical dance troupe. Kanaka began teaching at Natyalaya in 2000. Over two decades, she has taught students from ages 4 to 60, as well as performed in and choreographed a number of productions in the Austin area, including writing, directing, and producing the original dance drama “Alice in Wonderland.” As Associate Director, she coordinates the organization, marketing, and management of all Natyalaya productions, and has led dozens of students through arangetram training. She is an expert on injury prevention and athletic nutrition, is CPR certified, and she holds a Master of Public Health degree. She founded her award-winning company Natya Sabhai Arts in 2009, and her team has provided lighting and stage management to over 170 productions in eight cities, including for international performing artists like Rukmini Vijayakumar, Rama Vaidhyanathan, and Smitha Madav. She is also the president of the Indian Dance Endeavor of Austin, which helps young artists put on free performances in the Central Texas Area.

Gayathri Iyer, Associate Director

Guru Smt. Gayathri Iyer is the associate director of Natyalaya School of dance and has been teaching the art of Bharathanatyam for the past two decades. She learnt the art form at Sangeet Bhaarati School of dance in New Delhi, India under Guru Smt. Archita Mehta. Gayathri has also trained under Guru Smt. Vinitha Subramanian, Guru Smt. Suma Krishnamurthy and Guru. Smt. Laavanya Ananth. She also receives guidance in Talam and Nattuvaangam from Mridangam Artist, Sri Naagai P. Sriram. As part of the Srishti dance group of Austin she performs regularly at Austin Thyagaraja Aaradhana festivals with other Senior artists. Gayathri has traveled to Singapore and Malaysia as part of a cultural tour and participated in several dance dramas. She was actively involved in fundraising through dance for the Austin Hindu temple. Gayathri has been part of many Natyalaya productions such as Ganga, Antariksha, Agasthya and Roopa Viroopa to name a few. As associate director of Natyalaya, she handles enrollment, class assignments, curriculum, and other student activities in addition to choreographing and leading students through arangetram training.

Sandhya Pillai, Associate Director

Sandhya Pillai started learning classical dancing at a very young age. Under the tutelage of late Shri Vivekananda master, she learned Bharathanatyam. Later Shri Muralidharan master introduced her to the world of Mohiniyattam. After a break when she decided to resume dancing, Dr. Sunanda Nair guided and shaped her as the dancer that Sandhya is today. She strongly believes that learning never stops. Currently she am getting advanced training in Mohiniyattam under Smt. Pallavi Krishnan who is a trailblazer in the Mohiniyattam world. Sandhya love to perform when she get a chance.

Vanitha Dorairaj, Associate Director

Guru Smt. Vanitha Dorairaj has learned Dance from the age of 5 under Guru Smt. Kalpagam Jayaraman, from Mylapore, Chennai, India. She was trained in Vazhuvoor Bani and performed her Arangetram when she was 11yrs. She moved to Boston in 1999 where she had her school for teaching Bharathanatyam. Vanitha moved to Texas and underwent training under Smt. Vinitha Subramanian in Pandanallur Style in 2009.  She has participated in Natyalaya productions, Temple and other social events cultural performances. She is currently part of Natyalaya Teachers Performance Group.

Radhika Rajalal, Senior Instructor

Radhika Rajalal started her training in Bharatanatyam at Natyalaya at the age of 5 and performed her Arangetram at the age of 14 at Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala. She has been an active participant of Natyalaya’s programs and productions for several years. She first started teaching at Natyalaya in 2014 and soon handled several classes over the years ranging from beginners to post margam. Radhika was the director of Natyalaya’s Roopa Viroopa in 2016, Ganga in 2017 and Agasthya in 2021. Radhika is also a Computer Science and Engineering graduate. She continued to pursue her passion for dance in college by serving as the president of her University’s dance organization.

Amrutha Sridhar, Administrative Assistant

Amrutha Sridhar is a new senior student at Natyalaya and one of the administrative coordinators. She has learned Bharatanatyam for over 20 years, and completed her arangetram in 2007 in New Jersey. After moving to Austin in 2019, she was finally able to join Natyalaya in 2021 (post pandemic scare). Since joining Natyalaya she has been an active member in helping coordinate venues for performances, costume organizing and special events for the school. She has also occasionally taken on a few roles in dance productions and smaller temple performances as well.

Neha Kunka, Teacher

Neha started learning Bharatanatyam at Natyalaya at the age of 5 under the guidance of Guru Smt. Vinitha Subramanian. She has been a part of multiple Natyalaya productions, such as Sangeetha Devatha, Ganga, Prabhavam, Agastya, and Alice in Wonderland. Alongside dancing with Natyalaya, Neha has also participated in the IndianRaga Dance competition – in which she was awarded the first place spot. Recently, she directed this year’s show — “Jungle Book” with Gopika Rajalal. Now, she adores teaching and interning at Natyalaya, having a hands-on opportunity to teach upcoming dancers. Neha’s passion and love for dance grew as it allowed her to circle back to her religious and cultural roots. Throughout the years, Neha has performed in various art fundraisers and cultural programs. This year, Neha is a Junior at Vandegrift High School – where she is a director of her school’s Student Council group, committees in HOSA, DECA, and is in her 3rd year with Valor, a FIRST Robotics Competition team. With her downtime, Neha enjoys playing the Veena and performing at Temples in and around Austin.

Anannya Sathaye, Teacher

Anannya is currently a senior at Westwood High School. She has been learning dance at Natyalaya for over twelve years. She completed her Arangetram in August of 2021 and has been interning with Vinitha aunty since then. She currently a teacher for the post-margam class.

Roshni Muthuswamy, Teacher

Roshni Muthuswamy is a freshman at Westwood High School. She started learning Bharathanatyam from the age of five at Natyalaya School of Dance. Roshni initially trained under her mother, Guru Smt. Vanitha Dorairaj and is continuing to develop her skills under Guru Smt. Vinitha Subramanian. Within Natyalaya, she has participated in multiple productions and performances including Alice and Wonderland, Agasthya, and Jungle Book. She has also participated in several cultural dance performances and won awards in competitions including SAPTAMI, Star Kalakaar, Shiksha, the annual Papanasam Sivan contest, Indian Raga, and other local competitions. Apart from learning, Roshni enjoys teaching at Natyalaya, and her passion towards dance continues to inspire her to choreograph.

Nina Prasad, Teacher

Nina Prasad is a rising freshman at the University of Texas at Austin and will be pursuing a dual degree of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Plan 2 Honors. She began learning Bharatanatyam at the age of six and has been part of Natyalaya School of Dance for over 12 years. She initially began her training under her sister, Dr. Nikita Prasad. At the age of 12, she was referred to Kum. Sindhura Sridhar. As her aptitude for the art form grew, she moved to Guru Vinitha Subramanian under whom she flourished. Nina has also had the opportunity to learn from eminent dancers such as  Suma Krishnamurthy and Narendra Kumar. In addition to performing at local temples and annual recitals, Nina has also participated in productions like Ganga: The River Story, Roopa Viroopa, and Alice in Wonderland. Upon completing her Bharatnatyam Arangetram in the August of 2021, she continued her love for dance by teaching young students at Natyalaya School of Dance and performing in cultural events and competitions. Aside from dance, Nina loves to play music and has a performance diploma in piano from The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in London. She also played guitar in her school’s ensemble and has learnt Hindustani Classical Vocals under Amzad Rahman since the age of 8.

Gopika Rajalal, Teacher

Gopika Rajalal is a current junior at Westwood High School. She started learning Bharatantyam at the age of 5 at Natyalaya School of Dance and is now a student teacher under Guru Gayathri Iyer. She completed her arangetram in June of 2023 at the Guruvayurappan Temple in Kerala. Over the years Gopika has been part of numerous Natyalaya productions and directed Junglebook along with Neha Kunka.

Tanvi Prasad, Teacher

Anamitra Ghosh, Teacher

Tanvi Sankolli, Teacher Assistant

Tanvi Sankolli started learning Bharatanatyam at the age of seven in Bangalore, India and continued to pursue it in Texas when she moved in 2015. She completed her Arangetram in the summer of 2023, and has been teaching for over 2 years. Tanvi has danced and performed at a variety of events, such as Austin Tamil Sangam, VT Seva, and more!

Athriya Balaji, Teacher Assistant

Amala Chandra, Teacher Assistant

Akshainie Kamma, Teacher Assistant

Shivani Kondubatla, Teacher Assistant

Rohitha Chandramohan, Intern

Parnika Taluru, Intern

Lasya Kandagatla, Intern

Lakshmi Trivedi, Intern

Ami Dave, Intern

Diya Vijay, Intern

Anya Pathak, Intern

Nithya Senthilkumar, Intern