Dancers are the messengers of the gods. - Martha Graham
Natyalaya

Faculty

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 130 students with branches in Austin, Temple, and College Station.

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 has learned dance from the age of 5 under Guru Sudha Maheshwari in New Delhi and performed her Arangetram at the age of 11. She continued her training under Guru Archita Mehta, a post graduate from Kalakshetra at Sangeet Bharati School of Dance in New Delhi. Gayathri has traveled to Singapore and Malaysia as part of a cultural tour and participated in several dance dramas. She was also actively involved in fund-raising through dance for the Austin Hindu temple. She started teaching at Natyalaya in 2009, and as Associate Director, she handles enrollment, class assignments, curriculum, and other student activities in addition to choreographing and leading students through arangetram training. She is also CPR-certified.

Sandhya Pillai, Senior Instructor

Guru Smt. Sandhya Pillai started her bharathanatyam training under Guru Vivekananda and mohiniyattam training under Guru Muralidharan. In 2010 she joined Natyalaya as an instructor. She has given many performances and very active in cultural activities happening in and around Austin.

Vanitha Dorairaj, Senior Instructor

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.

Sindhura Sridhar

Kum. Sindhura Sridhar is a third-year biomedical engineering student at the University of Texas at Austin. Sindhura has been studying bharatanatyam, an Indian classical dance style, for over 14 years. Under the tutelage of Guru Vinitha Subramanian, director of the Natyalaya School of Dance, Sindhura has given many performances and has been a part of multiple dance productions, such as Seonee: The Jungle Book. In 2015, Sindhura completed her arangetram, or graduation performance, and has now been teaching at Natyalaya for over 4 years. Sindhura directed the Natyalaya production Sangeeta Devata Mochanam, and was the assistant director of the Natyalaya production Ganga: A River’s Story. Sindhura is also an associate at Natya Sabhai Arts, and has been a stage manager, lighting designer, and lighting technician for numerous shows and dance productions. 

Shragvi Balaji

Shragvi Balaji

Kum. Shragvi Balaji started dance lessons at the age of 4, from Smt. Pavithra Ramadoss. At the age of 8, she began learning from Smt. Vinitha Subramanian and since then, she has participated in various productions such as Junglebook, Agastya, and more. She conducted her arangetram in July 2017 and currently teaches at Natyalaya. She also learns Carnatic music from Sri Prasanna Venkatesh Soundarajan and was part of Agni, a Bollywood dance company. She is very passionate about dancing and singing. She also loves visiting with hospice patients, playing outside, and spending time with friends and family.