Payal Mistry is a passionate artist who started learning dance at the age of 10. She has been trained in the classical Indian styles of Bharatnatyam and Odissi by accomplished gurus in Boston, Dallas and Mumbai. She started Odissi training with Neena Gulati and continued on to advance her training under the guidance of Meenakshi Seshadri in the year 2002 and subsequently performed her Manch Pravesh in 2006
Her zest took her to Mumbai where she trained under Rabindra Attibuddhi and Jhelum Paranjape. She was awarded “Sringar Mani” by Sur Sringar Samsad in year 2008 and also won second place in the Kanaka Sabha Annual Dance competition the same year. Payal also has to her credit several premier cultural events as a performer and choreographer.
Payal holds MS Human Factors in Information Design degree from Bentley University. She is currently working as a User Experience Analyst in Boston, MA.
Payal can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tatiana Ruzova (Satyabhama Devi Dasi) is a Russian Odissi dancer as well as a teacher. She is a representative in Russia of the Institute of Indian Dance and Music Sri Venunad Kala Kendra (Vrindavan, Mathura, U.P., India). Tatiana graduated from the Far-Eastern State Humanitarian University in Khabarovks, Russia as a philologist and a specialist of world culture and world heritage.
Tatiana, along with her husband Oleg (a psychologist, astrologer, lecturer, writer, and a musician) got initiated in the Gaudia Vaishnava tradition and got a devotional name Satyabhama Devi Dasi (meaning “servant of Satyabhama, wife of Krishna”). Tatiana and Oleg dedicated their lives to spreading the spiritual way of life and love for God (Bhakti) all over the world.
Because of her deep, devotional love of God and traditions of celebrating this love, in 2002 Tatiana started to learn the Odissi dance in the Sri Venunad Kala Kendra institute in holy town of Vrindavan from Guru Pratap Narayan Behera, the nephew of the great Guru Hare Krishna Behera.
After years of studying in the Sri Venunad Kala Kendra institute, Tatiana expanded her knowledge by studying in the Guru Debaprasad Gharana from her Guruma, Smt. Kunjalata. Being blessed by all of her Gurus, Srimati Radharani and Sri Krishna, Tatiana decided to change the hearts of people by giving them pure love of God through the Odissi dance.
Tatiana started to teach Indian Dance including Odissi Dance and has also done lots of performances, workshops, lectures, and demonstrations. She traveled widely with husband spreading Bhakti and performed regularly in more than 30 cities in Russia and in more than in 20 cities in the countries of Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, India, and U.S.A.
Having accumulated her own experience in the teaching of Indian Classical dance, Tatiana wrote a book titled Ocean of Bliss in Russia in 2008. The book covers the history and techniques of classical Indian dance and Odissi dance. Ocean of Bliss has received great appreciation from professional dancers and general public.
Since 2006 Tatiana has been living in Moscow. In 2007 she founded an Odissi dance group of students called “Lilamrita”. In 2008 she arranged the workshop and the performance of her Gurus from Venunad Kala Kendra (Vrindavan) in Moscow.
Also in Moscow she visited workshops of Smt. Rajashree Behera, who guided her in Debasir Gharana and supported in the development of Abhinaya. Currently, Tatiana continues to travel, perform, teach, and prepare the second part of her second book about the Odissi dance.
Nilanjana Banerjee was initiated into dance at an early age by the renowned Odissi revivalist Guru Mayadhar Raut of Delhi. She holds a Diploma in performing arts. Her solo debut was at an Indian community event at Hartford, Connecticut. In India, she performed at various youth cultural festivals. For a few years, she learnt Bharatnatyam from Guru Smt. Vasanti Subramanium at the Bhatkhande Hindustani Sangeet Mahavidyalaya. Nilanjana took a brief hiatus from dance but her passion and quest for learning Odissi continued. She further trained with Guru Smt. Mitra Purkayastha, artistic director of Rhythms of dance and music, New Jersey. Smt. Mitra being an accomplished dancer-choreographer herself was able to enhance Nilanjana's dance skills. Her guidance and encouragement proved a major turning point in Nilanjana's life. She seeks her Guru's blessings in all her endevours. Nilanjana strictly adheres to Guru Padmashree Murlidhar Maji's gharana.
To get a complete vision of Indian dance styles, Nilanjana is also training with the noted choreographer Sukalyan Bhattacharya of Toronto. Since relocating to the U.S., Nilanjana has performed extensively in the New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York area. Some of the organizations for whom she has been regularly performing include Festival of India by CIO, Pragati (Philadelphia), Kallol, ICC, NJPA, NABC 2005 Madison Square Garden, (Bengali Associations), BridgewaterTemple, Marathi Vishwa, Oriya society, Wayne, IFMP(Princeton).
In 2007, she performed at the Ekal Vidhyalaya fundraiser attended by the chairman of Zee TV network. She was a member of Guru Smt. Mitra's first prize winning team at the prestigious Zalak , 2009 Indian dance festival, Princeton. In 2009, she performs for the Banga Mela in Atlanta. Her love and devotion to dance has culminated in her performing and teaching Odissi. She conducts classes at the Hindu Samaj temple, Mahwah, New Jersey. For Nilanjana, Odissi is undoubtedly an enchanting spiritual journey for both the dancer and the audience.
For more information on shows and classes:
Please visit www.odissinilanjana.com
At Bryn Mawr College, Shrooti had the opportunity to study dance and dance literature under Dr. Pallabi Chakravorty, and Dr. Yutian Wong. She first choreographed her own Odissi piece under the guidance of Dr. Yutian Wong and continues to be inspired by her.
Shrooti has been a part of numerous dance dramas choreographed by Sudha Grover - her favorite being the Dashavatar. She has given several solo performances at various venues throughout NJ, NY, and PA including:
-Zimmerli Art Museum (NJ, performance and lecture) The Asian Arts Initiative (Philadelphia, PA) The Governor’s Mansion (NJ)
-Ananda Ashram (NY) -South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (NYC, performance and discussion)
-Youth Solidarity Summer Benefit (NYC)
-Amnesty International (NYC)
-Grand Reception for former Indian Ambassador to US, Lalit ManSingh (NJ)
-Bucknell University (PA) Haverford College (PA)
-Bryn Mawr College (PA)
-American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (NJ and CA)
-Dussehra Festival (NY)
Abroad, she has performed in Lausanne, Switzerland, Agra, and New Delhi.
As a teenager, Shrooti was named an All State Dancer after competing for the title at the Teen Arts Festival in NJ. It was then that she realized her passion for spreading awareness about Odissi dance and from thereon actively sought performance opportunities while also trying to balance a demanding study schedule.
In 2000, she was selected to the Artists in Communities Training Program by the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia, PA. The program culminated in a workshop she conducted about Odissi for high school students in Philadelphia – most of whom had never heard of Odissi before. In 2003, Shrooti gave another dance workshop at South Asian Youth Action in Queens, NY, where she demonstrated the ability to use dance and art to communicate a social message – particularly about Domestic Violence.
After being awarded the Summer Arts Grant in 2002 from Bryn Mawr College, she had the honor of training under Guru Shri Hare Krishna Behera at Odissi Kendra in New Delhi. She continued her training with him thereafter whenever visiting New Delhi and focused on her abhinaya and technique.
In NYC, Shrooti auditioned for the Nayikas Dance Theater Company run by Myna Mukherjee and was chosen to perform in the title experimental piece of the show along with three other dances. With the Nayikas Dance Theater Company, she has performed at the Lincoln Center, the Rubin Museum of Art, Lighthouse International, Bleeker Street Theater, and the Queens Museum of Art. She greatly enjoyed dancing with dancers from various dance backgrounds who shared her love for Odissi. While with Nayikas, she further improved her Chok stance and Bhramari spins.
Shrooti has attended Odissi dance workshops in NYC given by Guru Manoranjan Pradhan and, most recently, with Sujata Mohapatra. During a lecture demonstration by Dr. Sunil Kothari in NYC, she was asked to briefly demonstrate part of an Odissi Pallavi to an audience of dance scholars.
Apart from Odissi, Shrooti has had some Kathak training from Pandit Satya Narayana Charkha in NYC. She has also participated in numerous folk dances and folk dance competitions with the Sudhamini Dance Academy. She has trained in Tap dancing for two years in NJ.
Shrooti holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Mathematics from Bryn Mawr College. She looks forward to connecting with other dancers and can be reached at
In 1990 Vitalina received an invitation and a grant from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Institute in Dehli (from the prominent dancer Madhavi Mudgal), where she studied from 1990 to 1995.
In 1995 Vitalina founded "Odissi Jiwan Nrittya" dance group in Moscow.
The official site of "Odissi Jiwan Nrittya" is http://www.odissi.su/
Vitalina Lobach, her students and Sujata Mohapatra
Kaustavi Sarkar is a PhD student in Texas A&M University, U.S.A. along with being a professional dancer from India. Currently she is actively involved in performing and also conducts odissi lessons in College Station. She has been invited more than once to offer lectures on Odissi dance at her university. On November 19, 2008 the university newspaper Battalion covered her story and published. Kindly click on this link.
After coming to the US in July 2007 she has performed in Houston, Austin, Dallas, SanAntonio in Texas, NewJersey, San Fransisco in California and SaltLake City in Utah. Recently she was invited to do the guest performance at the International Week, TAMU. On February 7, 2009, she performed at a Yuvabharati event in Palo Alto, California. In India she participated in a number of major festivals and even represented India at the Commonwealth Day Celebrations in Colombo, SriLanka (2007).
In India she won the National Scholarship in Odissi when she was only eighteen years old. She has been invited to perform by Sangeet Natak Academy, ICCR, EZCC and the government of India. She has been a part of a number of acclaimed festivals. To name a few, we have Uday Shankar Nrityotsav, Samsmaranam, International Odissi Conference, Vaisakhi Utsav, Barsha Utsav, Deesha, Konark, Shruti Mandal, Young Dancers’ Festival of India, Indian Classical Music Young Talent’s Conference, Stars of Tomorrow in the Classical Dance Arena, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Ceremony and many more.
In 2008 June she along with her Gurubehen Aparupa Chatterjee invited Guru Ratikant Mohapatra to conduct a workshop in College Station. Recently Smt. Sujata Mohapatra was hosted by her at her residence for conducting a workshop and program in March, 2009. Kaustavi was also honored to be in the repertory of Srjan under the able tutelage of Guru Ratikant Mohapatra.She is dedicated to the cause of Odissi and wants to take it to greater heights through her devotion and diligence.