'Don't you also be another dance teacher in America!'
these words of my teacher 22 years ago, ring like new in my ears. It has been my commitment to be a complete artiste - a dancer, teacher, producer, presenter and choreographer all rolled up in one. I am grateful to my family for sharing my dream!! I am indebted to my gurus, numerous friends and colleagues without whose assistance and support none of this would be possible. The many senior students, who still attend classes, participate in the programs and share their joy of these experiences, make it all worthwhile!! Thank you all. Look forward to another exciting and fruitful year!! Best Wishes for the New Year!!! Ramya

2003 started with a presentation of 'Nithyakalyani' varnam in the hometown of Goddess Nithyakalyani - Kadayam, India. Ramya Harishankar and Anusha Kedhar were the dancers.
Educational Outreach As a 'Disney Artist' in the Orange County Performing Arts Center's 'From the Center' roster, Ramya Harishankar along with percussionist, Rusti Gillette reached nearly 5000 children in Orange County schools. "Perfect! The kids loved it. I have 3 of my own here, and they talked about it at dinner. And they are boys…you must have been Wonderful!" Teacher, Raymond Temple Elementary, Placentia, CA. Master Classes/Lecdems included the bi-annual presentations for the Center for World Music at San Diego State University for the 9th year in a row, Chapman University and Art Express, a summer camp by Pacific Symphony.
California Arts Council/Traditional Folk Arts Program for the second
year in a row awarded a grant to Ramya for a project entitled Varnam - preserving the traditional color. ADC received a Creativity grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a project 'Life as a River'. Ramya is one of 4 'pioneer' artists featured in an oral history project, 'Shaping California - immigrant dancers and their voices' by Sankalpa School of Dance, Fremont, CA. The California Community Foundation has funded this project. Ramya along with Usha Sampath, a teacher in the LA Unified school district received a joint grant from ACTA to develop a new program for elementary/middle school presentations
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Performances by Arpana Dance Company

Rio Hondo College, Whittier, CA.
Conexant Corp. Newport Beach, CA
Children's Art Day, Stanton, CA
Asian Arts Day, Laguna Beach, CA
Baha'i Multicultural Festival,
Lake Forest, CA.
Boeing Corp. Lakewood, CA Harvest Festival, Westpark Elementary, Irvine, CA
Thai Buddhist Temple, Hollywood, CA
Yoga Asana, Laguna Beach, CA

Outstanding Artist

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Arts OC, a county arts agency awarded Ramya the "Outstanding Individual Artist Award at their annual banquet at Sutton Place, Newport Beach, CA.

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International Dance Festival, Praha, Czeck Republic

April took ADC members to a sightseeing/dance tour of Austria and the Czech Republic. Aditi Nath, Anita Vaidyanathan, Chitra Balasubramanian, Hemali Lalu & Sejal Patel danced in Prague at the International Dance Festival. ADC won the II prize losing to the 50 member strong Kasai Dance group from Japan
ADC outside Prague National Museum

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Women in E'motion

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A grant from the California Arts Council (Traditional Folk Arts Program) facilitated 5 senior dancers, Amita Sheth, Shruti Chandramouli, Anita Vaidyanathan, Aditi Nath and Maneesha Limaye to receive advanced and intensive lessons in Abhinaya (interpretive dance). This culminated in Women in E'motion that was presented in Orange and Venice, CA in February. Geetha Bennett was the vocalist accompanied by Rusti Gillette (mridangam) and Arun Ramamurthi (violin). The intimate venues and attentive audiences contributed to the success of this very unique and first time performance of pure 'Abhinaya'in California.


Ramya and her student, Trisha Banerjee received a master-apprentice grant from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. After rigorous training for 1½ year, Margam presented in Corona, CA in March raised $6000 for Pratham, a charity that supports poor children's education in India. Asha Ramesh from N. California was the singer, the other musicians being, Shubha Chandramouli (mridangam) and Krishna Kutty (violin). Other programs by Trisha included the 'Festival of Solos & Duets' Fountain Theatre, and Spectrum Festival, Hollywood, CA

Pancha Maha Bhootham Another feather in ADC's cap was this production at the James Armstrong Theater, Torrance, CA., choreographed by master teacher C.V. Chandrasekhar and his wife, Jaya. Ten members of ADC, Arthi Varma, Ahila Gulasekaram, Amita Sheth, Shruti & Shubha Chandramouli, Chitra Balasubramanian, Renuka Nayani, Shivani Reddy, Nithya Joseph & Anamica Srinivasaraghavan along with Ramya presented this innovative exploration of the five essential elements of nature, an abstract theme using the Bharata Natyam vocabulary in a contemporary mode.
2003.gif (2745 bytes)Celluloid Classics
In the experimental mode this year, Ramya chose to present a folk and classical dance program using popular film songs from yester years - Celluloid Classics. Presented at the lovely Barclay, Irvine, CA to a sold out audience in June, it was innovative and creative. With a live orchestra of 10 musicians, over 14 dancers including Ramya (producer) and Radhika Shurajit (choreographer) this program brought the celluloid songs to life on stage. The dancers were Ahila Gulasekaram, Purnima Raghunathan, Amita Sheth, Dhivyah & Preethi Ramnath, Vidya Murthy, Avni Patel, Hemali Lalu, Aditi Nath, Anita Vaidyanathan, Maneesha Limaye, Sejal & Jemini Patel and Avni Shah. Elements of stage and screen presentation were taken into consideration and with relevant commentary and film excerpts, the program was interestingly strung together.

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As one of the founding members and the artistic director/curator of the recently renamed, Arpana Foundation, Ramya has been instrumental in bringing over
35 diverse Indian dance talents to the Southland in the last 14 years. This year's presentations included Dominique Delorme (Shiva Karanas & a week long workshop), Pandit Birju Maharaj with Ustad Zakir Hussain, Padma Bhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan (master classes & workshop) and Shobana (From Myth to Modernity)

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Ramya & Harish with Maharajji
The annual recital 'Samarpan' by the students of the Arpana School of Dance was held in June at The Barclay, Irvine CA. Musical accompaniment was provided by the young students of Dr. Gopal Marathe, who rendered compositions by Surdas, Tulsidas, Meera, Gyandev, Tagore and others in the Hindusthani style. These songs were choreographed for the aspiring dancers. Kalanidhi Narayanan, Ramya's guru was present to bless the children. This was in continuation of our commitment to support young talent in all the Indian arts. Last year's Samarpan had an ensemble of young Indo-American Carnatic musicians.
Arangetram Anamica Srinivasaraghavan had her Arangetram (solo debut) in August at the William Bristol Civic Auditorium, Bellflower, CA
Search For Talent Aditi Nath, Maneesha Limaye & Anita Vaidyanathan participated in the Search for Talent Competition hosted by the Sunrise Exchange Club winning the First Prize both in the city (Irvine) and the Regional (Orange County) contests. At the state level in San Jose, they placed third.
Vijayadasami On this auspicious occasion, the students of Arpana, past & present and members of the ADC contributed over $1200 to Akshara Educational Trust, Udhandi, Tamilnadu, India.

Harish Murthy - Producer
Usha Sampath - Artistic Collaborator | Geetha Nath - Financial Consultant | Shubha Bansod - Graphic Designer
Arpana Staff: Shruti Chandramouli, Anjali Ravuri & Saru Janahan