Nritya Darpan 2024 to feature talented local Tristate artists

IHCA Nritya Darpan 2024 flyer

Nritya Darpan 2024, a one-day dance festival presented by the Indian Heritage and Cultural Association (IHCA-NJ), in partnership with the Consulate General of India, New York returns on May 25, to the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC) in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The event which began in 2022, was conceived by Founder and President of IHCA-NJ, Dr. Ashok Chaudhary, to promote exceptionally talented local artists and dance groups who move beyond the classical Indian dance forms and bring a contemporary vision to their creations, a press release from organizers said.

Shubhamani Chandrasekhar. PHOTOS: Courtesy Nritya Darpan

Among the artists who will perform is Shubhamani Chandrasekhar, exponent of Bharatanatyam, “will bring to life the qualities of freedom and self-assurance exemplified by the celestial beings called apsaras in a duet titled Apsara,” organizers noted, adding that the stories would attempt to dispel traditional objectification of women. Born in a family of great dancers and musicians, Chandrasekhar began learning at the age of 5 under her  mother Sharadhamani Shekar.

Parul Shah.

Parul Shah is known for her contemporary variations of Kathak, a work in progress, which attempts to challenge and disrupt Western stereotypes and expectations of Indian dance. Shah, the  artistic director of the Parul Shah dance company, will perform the piece with Harsimran Kaur. Shah has a B.A. in Political Science from New York University and an M.A. in Dance & Dance Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in dance and cultural studies, focusing her research on the decolonization of dance education in America and examining cultural identities through dance.


Vikas Arun and his company Project Convergence, will present Taalam (Rhythm), a union of Bharatanatyam and American tap dance, celebrating the universal language of rhythm. The company has been featured in The Guardian, WNYC (New York Public Radio), and The Dance Enthusiast. They have appeared across the United States, including at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre for the Erasing Borders Dance Festival, Lincoln Center for their 2018 Out of Doors Series, and the Houston Texan’s NRG Stadium. Excerpts of their show Taalam (Rhythm) have played to a sold-out 5,000-person audience at Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center and the Citigroup Theatre at Alvin Ailey.

Bharathi Penneswaran

Bharathi Penneswaran, artistic director and co-founder of Aalokam, will perform two comedic creations, Chahiti and Shadjam, along with her ensemble. These works blend the narrative aspect of Bharatanatyam with Penneswaran’s bold and playful sense of humor. Penneswaran, is a dancer and choreographer based in New York City. She specializes in Shilpanatanam and imbues traditional Indian dance with an energetic perspective.

Mesma Belsare

Mesma Belsaré will dance Jatayu, a work that investigates this cameo character – the king of birds in the Hindu epic Ramayana. Choreographed by Maya Kulkarni in the Shilpanatanam genre, a narrative dance form pioneered by Kulkarni that stretches the boundaries of Indian classical forms to non-traditional themes and expressions. Belsaré is a classically trained dancer, choreographer, and educator. The New York Times calls her “a tour de force…a true act of transcendence and religious immersion.” The Dance Current magazine hails her as, “as mesmerizing as staring into the heart of a fire.” Belsaré is the recipient of the Dance/USA 2023 Fellowship funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the NJ Arts Council’s 2024 Artist Fellowship Award for her outstanding work, besides support from NEFA, the Government of Delhi (Sāhitya Kalā Parishad) and the Cambridge Arts Council. She has performed at several US  public universities, colleges, and art museums including Boston MFA, Peabody Essex Museum, and the Gardner Museum.

For more information and to buy tickets visit the IHCA website at



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