Mythili Kumar – Artistic Director and Choreographer
Mythili Kumar is an accomplished artist who performed extensively in India before moving to the U.S. in 1978. She was honored by World Arts West with a Lifetime Achievement Award in June 2010 and received a “Sustained Achievement Award” by the Bay Area Isadora Duncan Award committee in March 2011. In 2015, she was awarded the Legacy Laureate Award from SVCreates, in Silicon Valley. In 2019, she was honored with the Inspire Award from the India Community Center.
Rasika Kumar Dancer and Choreographer
Rasika Kumar is an accomplished Bharatanatyam performer and choreographer steeped in tradition. Since 2005, Rasika has been a featured soloist, principal dancer, and choreographer for all of ADC’s performance seasons, and her choreography has been featured in several venues including the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and SF International Arts Festival.
Malavika Kumar Walia – Director, Junior Dance Company, & Musician (Nattuvangam)
Malavika Kumar Walia is the daughter and student of Mythili Kumar. As a senior company dancer, choreographer, and teacher, she has been teaching, dancing and performing nattuvangam for arangetrams and company productions since 2000. In a 2004 performance in Chennai, she was lauded by a critic as ‘the star of the show’ for her ‘precise, well-intoned nattuvangam’. She has performed in many of Abhinaya Dance Company’s productions with key roles and has toured with the company to India and around the U.S.A. She has also composed numerous jathis and choreographed items for solo and group performances. In January 2020, she was appointed as the Director of the newly launched Junior Dance Company.
Asha Ramesh – (Vocal)
Asha Ramesh is a renowned Carnatic Music Master Artist, an experienced singer for classical dance, and an accomplished Hindustani bhajan singer. She was trained in India under renowned teachers in India and has won awards throughout her musical career. Asha also earned the Bachelor and Master’s degrees in music from Madras University. Since 1993 she has composed the music for all of Abhinaya’s original concerts. She received the Vijayalakshmi Award for best vocalist from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha in 2010 and the title of Isai Arasi by Trinity Arts Festival of India, Chennai in 2013. Asha was a master artist in Alliance for California Traditional arts -ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2000 and 2005.
Sri. N. Narayan (Mridangam and Kanjira)
N. Narayan comes from an illustrious family of musicians who, in addition to singing classical Carnatic music, are proficient in Bhajana Sampradaya – the renderings of devotional songs and hymns on festival days. Narayan had his training in mridangam under his father Sri. P.V. Natarajan and Sri. P.S. Parameswaran of Mumbai. He has accompanied several leading musicians and has won awards for his performances in India and in Bahrain. He is a much sought after mridangist for dance concerts. He has been playing consistently for all Abhinaya productions since 1990, contributing immensely to the company’s several successful productions. Additionally, Narayan is a gifted vocalist who also plays the harmonium.
Smt. Shanthi Narayan (Violin)
Shanthi Narayan had her initial training in violin under Sri. A. Anantharama Bhagavathar. She has accompanied several leading artists both in India and Bahrain. She has played for many dance productions and music concerts in the Bay Area. She has been playing consistently for all Abhinaya productions since 1990, contributing immensely to the company’s several successful productions.
Pooja Sohoni trained under Mythili Kumar and performed her arangetram in 2007. She participated in Abhinaya’s 30th anniversary series in 2010. In 2017, she returned to the Bay Area and has performed in productions such as Abhinaya’s ‘Gandhi’ in St. Louis, MO , & San Ramon, CA; ‘Apoorva Katha’ (2017); in the Drive East Festival in New York in 2018 and Abhinaya productions in 2019 and 2020. She has been teaching classes for Abhinaya since 2017 and also mentors students towards their Arangetrams.
Aishwarya Venkat was trained in Bharatanatyam by Kalaimamani Thanjavur Rajalakshmi in India. She has a Diploma in Fine arts from Kalai Kaviri Institute, and has staged more than 25 solo performances in renowned institutions in India. She is a freelance performer and has performed with the company since 2015. She has been teaching for Abhinaya since 2016, and conducts several hours of weekly classes.
Vaishali Ramachandran has been a student, performer, and teacher of Bharatanatyam for over 20 years. She began her training at the age of four in Mumbai, then trained for 16 years in Bengaluru with Guru Dr. Padmaja Suresh. She has performed in many major dance festivals in India and USA and is a resident of Fremont California, USA, where she continues to teach and perform. She is the Administrative Manager & Company dancer at Abhinaya since 2019 .
Junior Dance Company and Post Arangetram Dancers.
Srinidhi Nagarajan began learning from Mythili Kumar and the Abhinaya Dance Company in 2012. Since 2019, she has been a member of Abhinaya’s Junior Dance Company under the direction of Malavika Kumar Walia. She has performed with the company at the San Francisco International Arts Festival and at several other locations across the Bay Area. She completed her Bharatanatyam arangetram in August 2022.
Ambhranee Yakkundi, started learning Bharatanatyam at age four from her aunt, Smt. Gargi Panchangam and continued her training from 2012, under Mythili Kumar and the Abhinaya Dance Company. Ambhranee has performed in annual student dance recitals as well as in performances in several Bay Area venues and occasions. Since early 2020, she has performed under the direction of Malavika Walia in Abhinaya’s Junior Dance Company, including performances at the San Francisco International Arts Festival. A Hindustani vocal music student of her father Nachiketa Yakkundi, Ambhranee has performed in several solo and group concerts in the US and India. In addition, Ambhranee is a student of the harmonium maestro Vivek Datar, under whose guidance she has performed in concerts as a solo artist as well as an accompanying instrumentalist. She completed her Bharatanatyam Arangetram in August of 2022.
Maya Iyer has learned dance under Mythili Kumar in Abhinaya Dance Company for the past 10 years. In 2019 she joined Abhinaya’s Junior Dance Company under the direction of Smt. Malavika Kumar Walia. Maya completed her Bharatnatyam arangetram in June of 2022. She is a junior at Lynbrook High School and will be graduating in 2024.
Aditi Ghosh, started learning Bharatanatyam at the age of 6 under Mythili Kumar and Smt. Lakshmi Venkatesan in 2012. She completed her Arangetram in September 2022. She has been a member of Abhinaya’s Junior Dance Company under the direction of Smt. Malavika Kumar Walia since 2020. As part of the Junior Dance Company, she has performed at the San Francisco International Arts Festival, San Jose Dance Company showcase, Abhinaya 40th anniversary celebrations and several online premieres.
Aditya Romfh started learning Bharatanatyam from Mythili Kumar in 2012 and is planning to do her Arangetram in August 2023.