Sustaining Sampradaya 2023 — Announcement

Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival is pleased to announce a Sustaining Sampradaya program for Bharathanatyam dance. This is the first time the festival is undertaking this initiative and we are sure that this will fill in a long felt need.

We are seeking two categories of applicants:

  1. Dancers who can participate in the dance performance, and
  2. Musicians (vocal, nattuvangam, percussion, violin, veena and flute) as orchestra members

The training we plan to provide will cover both categories.

Sustaining Sampradaya — Classical Dance

Friday April 14, 2023; 4:00pm–6:30pm

  1. Melaprapthi
  2. Mallari / Pushpanjali
  3. Jathiswaram
  4. Sarasijakshulu jalakamade (Shabdam) — Ragamalika, Mishra chapu, Tanjore Quartet
  5. Kaalai thookki nindrathum (Keerthanam) — Yadukulakambodhi, Adi, Marimuthu Pillai
  6. Ninainthodi (Varnam) — Raga-thala malika, Ponnaiah Pillai. This varnam is in seven ragas and seven thalas, with a lot of scope for sanchari bhava
  7. Choodare (Padam) — Sahana, Mishra chapu, Kshetragna
  8. Indendu vacchithira — Surati, Mishra chapu, Kshetragna
  9. Vagalaadi bodhanalaku (Javali) — Behag, Roopakam, Tirupathi Narayanaswamy
  10. Thillana — Mohanakalyani, Adi, Lalgudi G. Jayaraman
  11. Mangalam

For all applicants, training will be spearheaded by senior Natyacharyas like Smt. Rhadha, Smt. Savithri Jagannatha Rao, Smt. Bragha Bessell, Smt. Anitha Guha, Smt. V. Nithyakalyani, Thirunangai Narthaki Nataraj, Smt. Sheela Unnikrishnan and others.

The Process

We plan to give fairly rigorous training on these besides giving the participants a very authentic and traditional version of these dance items.

The total number of performers for this program will be limited and will include dancers, vocalists and accompanists. The choreography will be for a group performance, but we think that there will still be scope to exhibit individual talent.

Expression of interest should be received by the Aradhana Committee no later than October 23, 2022. A panel of India-based dancers and musicians will select the performers out of the pool of applicants, and these will be notified by email.

Training by India-based natyacharyas will begin in November. There will be a minimum of 2 classes per week. We will be using video conferencing or other Internet-based tools for imparting training.

Additionally, individual coaching will be given once a week by a dancer from India, covering the weekend classes. This coaching will be during weekdays at a mutually convenient time. This allows the dance teacher to personally assess the progress made and the potential. The same process will also be followed for the music applicants (similar to the music program that we have conducted for the last 15 years).

If you are interested, please note that you should be ready to invest your time both for the classes as well as for practice. This commitment has to begin in early May and has to continue up till the festival. The final rehearsals will be in Cleveland starting Wednesday April 12, 2023.

How to Apply

If you would like to be considered for participation in this concert, there is a two-step process to follow:

Step 1: Application Information

Please email Gopi Sundaram ( the following:

  • Completed application form. Please download the form, and fill out all fields. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • An audition recording (video file for dance applicants, audio for music applicants), consisting of an introduction and your performance. The introduction (maximum 2 minutes) should give your name, city, state, and what you are trying to highlight in the performance. This should be followed by a performance not exceeding 10 minutes. Both should be in the same file.

Please email both the completed application form and a link to the audition recording to Gopi Sundaram (

Step 2: Application Fee

There is a non-refundable application fee of US $100. The check should be made payable to the Aradhana Committee, and mailed to the following address:

810 Newcastle Street
Saline, MI 48176-8869

Please write your name and the words "SS Dance" on the face of the check at an appropriate place.

How the Selection Works

The selection process will be handled entirely by the India-based senior dance acharyas, and their decision will be final. No member of the Aradhana Committee will be a part of the decision-making process.

If you are accepted by the panel to participate in any of the performances, we will immediately inform you about all the modalities of the training process. These include class schedules, dance items with ragas and talams, assignment of dance gurus for training, online availability of the teaching material, et cetera.

Please note that the gurus who will impart the training are dancers and musicians of great eminence and repute, and we expect that the participants be sensitive to this great honor.

If you are selected and if you accept our offer, there will be a training fee of US $1,700.

We recognize that the training process is going to be intense and rigorous, but we also know that it is a very unique way to attain artistic proficiency of high caliber in a very short time. Based on our experience with other music and dance education programs in previous years, we are confident that the 2023 dance initiative will also prove to be memorable.

We hope that you seriously consider this very unique opportunity that we are offering.

V V Sundaram