About Us

The School | Goals & Objectives | Gurus | Directors & Instructors

The School

The School and Founder
Kalamandapam is a Gurukulam style school of music and dance based in Washington DC upon the vision of renowned Kuchipudi dancer and guru Smt. Mrinalini Sadananda. Smt. Mrinalini Sadananda is recognized internationally as an exceptionally talented dancer of Kuchipudi, an able illustrious teacher, and an excellent choreographer.

About the Organization
Kalamandapam is also a non-profit organization dedicated to the teaching and promotion of performing arts of India. The institution provides rigorous training to its students in Kuchipudi and Carnatic Music, adhering to the principles of guru-shishya tradition. Kalamandapam believes in imparting the classical art in its original form to its students in theory and practice. Kalamandapam performs in special fund-raising events to support the cause of many charity organizations around the world. In its mission to contribute to the community, Kalamandapam raised money for Chinmaya Mission, Hope for Humanity, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation and many more non-profit organizations.

Achievements
Kalamandapam has staged numerous Kuchipudi ballets - Bharat Sambhavam, a popular ballet depicting the advent and glory of India was performed at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts, in Washington DC. Other Kuchipudi ballets - Andal Kalyanam, Sarvam Vishnu Mayam, Ramayanam, Venkateswara Vaibhavam, Sambhavami Yuge Yuge, Sharanam Ayyappa, Cheyyetti Jai Kottu, and Bhaja Govindam were received with great applause and appreciation by diverse audiences.

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Goals and Objectives

Our goal is to give our best to each student and help them grow in this art form to their fullest potential. Enable the students to appreciate Vedic heritage and culture. Our objective is to provide each child an opportunity to perform this art.

Classical Indian Dance in Kuchipudi, and Carnatic Music on the Violin, Keyboard are taught along the classic Indian "gurukul" principles.

Classes are held every Sunday for beginners and advanced students from 9 AM till 1PM. Classes are taught while strictly adhering to the footsteps of the past and present Maestros while retaining traditional purity.

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Gurus

Smt. Mrinalini Sadananda | Sri. Subhash Vinjamuri

Smt. Mrinalini Sadananda hails from a family of artists. Her father Vinjamuri Parthasarathy Iyengar and mother Smt. Kamala Devi nurtured each of their 7 children into one art form or another. Her father was a well-known lawyer by profession but had a great love of the violin. Her mother was a dedicated housewife and an accomplished violinist in her own right. Mrinalini was introduced to dance at a very young age. Over the years, her Gurus (teachers) have included her own sister Mrs. Hemalatha NaramhaChari, Burra Subramanya Sastry, Chinta Raddha KrishnaMurty, Adinarayana Sarma, Mahankali Surya Narayana, SathyaPriya Ramana and Dr. Vempati Chinna Sathyam. She feels strongly that their dedication to this art has molded her in to what she is today. In addition, her Drama teacher Sri Mandapati Ramalingeswara Rao helped her understand the importance of facial expressions for which she is very well known.

Mrinalini is married to Dr. K Sadananda, the son of a great Telugu and Sanskrit scholar Sri. Kuntimaddi Seshasarma and JayaLakshmi. He has always supported her passion for dance and encouraged her to continue refining the art within her after emigrating to the United States. She began by performing extensively across the United States. About 20 years ago she took on the mantle of Guru and it is this role she has flourished. Most importantly she has continued the tradition of her own Gurus by passing this art to countless youngsters. In this endeavor she began as a volunteer teacher for 7 years at Gandhi Memorial Center and for 7 years at the Chinmaya Mission, both in the metropolitan Washington DC area. In 1993, she established Kalamandapam as an institute dedicated to dance and music. As a vehicle for her own creative impetus and as a means to motivate her students, she has put on several dance ballets.

Sri. Subhash Vinjamuri is a highly accomplished violinist. He composes and teaches music for the Kalamandapam ballets. His first inspiration was from his father, Sri Vinjamuri Parthasarathy Iyengar, and then went on to be the disciple of Sri Brahmanandam Naidu, a direct disciple of Sri Dwaram Venkataswami Naidu. His talent was evident from childhood when at the age of 10 he won the Indo-Russian competitions for violin. He is very well known for his melody and has accompanied internationally recognized musicians in India and the US.

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Directors and Instructors

Nalini Ram Iyengar | Aniket Sidhaye | Keerthana Sidhaye | Kavitha Cheedalla | Ramadivya Vinjamuri
Pragathi Kollu | Radhika Rao

Nalini Ram Iyengar writes lyrics for the ballets. She has a master's degree in Archeology but pursued her passion and talent in literature. She is a trained Kuchipudi dancer as well, and has performed with Mrinalini Sadananda in India. She took on the lyrics of Sarvam Vishnu Mayam as her first ballet and since has gone on to write many other plays.

Aniket Sidhaye is the President of Kalamandapam. He has been an MC for many of the performances and has taken on this new role of overseeing the organization, execution and policy making of Kalamandapam. He is an Endocrinologist at Johns Hopkins University.

Keerthana Sidhaye is the current Director of Kalamandapam. She has studied classical dance from the age of four from her mother, Mrs. Sadananda and later was a disciple of Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam, having spent nearly every summer of her school age years in Chennai.  She will always be indebted to the Nambiar family for taking her in as a daughter.  Although, she had been in Chicago for several years, she continued to participate in almost every major production of Kalamandapam.  Aside from performances around the world, she has had several lead roles in our productions and she enjoys being able to play a variety of roles from male deities, to damsels in distress, and even a fortune-teller performing a folk dance. Keerthana is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD.

Kavitha Cheedalla is one of the dance instructors and also a treasurer and co-director of Kalamandapam. Her intense desire to learn Indian Classical dance was fulfilled when she started her training under Mrinalini Sadananda with her two daughters.  She has been learning Kuchipudi since 1999 and has become an integral part of the school.  Currently, she works as an assistant kindergarten teacher at Round Elementary School.

Ramadivya Vinjamuri is an instructor at Kalamandapam.  She began her training in Kuchipudi at the age of six under Smt. Mrinalini Sadananda.  As a young child, she was initially reluctant to begin dancing, but under the insistence of her Guru, she has ultimately become a key player in the success of Kalamandapam.  Over the years, she has honed her skills in this art form and is particularly known for her mastery of complex footwork sequences.  Her keen sense of rhythm and her versatility have given her a knack for portraying a wide array of characters.  Ramadivya is an Electrical Engineer for the Lockheed Martin Corporation, specializing in Sonar systems for U.S. Submarines.

Pragathi Kollu, an instructor, was born and raised in Andhra Pradesh where she started learning the rudiments of Kuchipudi at the age of six.  Since her childhood, she has developed a deep passion for the dance, which led her to become an acclaimed and talented dancer as an adult.  Pragathi has been extensively performing in the east coast of the U.S. with a lot of enthusiasm and interest despite of her professional activity as a Software Engineer working for Freddie Mac.

Radhika Rao along with being an instructor is a data analyst by profession and an artist by heart.  She started learning dance in Madras under the tutelage of Sri. Vempati Chinna Satyam, and then rediscovered the art and the passion through her guru Mrinalini Sadananda in 2000, along with her daughter.

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