Founded in 1980, Abhinaya transmits the ongoing practice of South Indian dance across the generations, maintains Indian Americans’ connection to their cultural heritage and builds community among Silicon Valley’s largely immigrant Indian American residents. Abhinaya’s professional dance company perpetuates the performance of traditional South Indian dance in the United States and expands its expressive range; our instructional dance program develops and trains Silicon Valley's next generation of classical Indian dancers.
Over the past 34 years, Abhinaya has produced more than 60 original dance concerts featuring choreography by Artistic Director Mythili Kumar and Associate Artistic Director and principal dancer Rasika Kumar. Twelve of these productions have been collaborations with other performing artists and organizations, both Indian and non-Indian. Our original work expresses traditional Indian, as well as contemporary content within the parameters of Bharatanatyam, a dance form that originated in the temples of South India more than 2000 years ago.
Since the organization’s founding, Abhinaya has conducted a training program teaching the classic Bharatanatyam dance form, through which we have served more than 1600 Indian American children.
Abhinaya is applying in the Preservation category because our four core programs (dance training, creating and presenting original dance concerts, performing at community venues, and conducting a continuing education and teacher training program) were designed and are implemented in order to support our mission - to preserve the Bharatanatyam dance form. This ancient dance form is a cultural tradition that brings the diverse members of the region’s Indian Americans and Indian immigrants together. Employing this dance form to create original work that speaks to contemporary life in the United States also demonstrates the vital role it continues to play in the Bay Area’s dance community.
Abhinaya originated in 1980 as a tuition-based dance school modeled after the rigorous dance training programs operated in India. Our four-tiered instructional program, now in its 33rd year, annually provides training in classical South Indian dance to more than 100 Indian American girls ages 6 to 18. After a period of artistic and budgetary growth, Abhinaya incorporated as a non-profit in 1990.
Abhinaya is the largest arts organization serving Silicon Valley’s Indian American residents. Over the past 32 years, we have produced more than 60 dance concerts featuring original choreography by Artistic Director Mythili Kumar and lead dancer Rasika Kumar, including approximately 12 collaborations with other creative performing artists. The most recent of these, Synergy, a collaboration between Abhinaya and San Jose Taiko, won the 2011 Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music/Sound/Text.
Abhinaya’s original work expresses traditional as well as contemporary content within the parameters of Bharatanatyam, a dance style that originated in the temples of South India more than a thousand years ago. In 1995 Mythili Kumar’s Gandhi: The Mahatma represented a milestone in the company’s artistic history because it expressed 20th-century subject matter familiar to American audiences through the gestures and movements characteristic of Bharatanatyam. Performed by Abhinaya’s company members and by a six-member professional Indian music ensemble, the concert’s 12 scenes narrated important moments of Gandhi’s life; the concluding section connected Gandhi’s non-violent resistance strategies to the political struggles led by Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez. Several subsequent concerts have repeated this artistic strategy. Jagriti Awakening (2001), commissioned by the Arts Council/Silicon Valley’s “Arts Build Communities” Program, featured a series of Kumar’s original dance pieces exploring domestic violence, narrated in the traditional Bharatanatyam style.
In 2002, Abhinaya launched Next Generation, a career development program serving some of Silicon Valley’s most promising emerging Indian American dancers and choreographers. Beginning in 2003, Abhinaya’s spring concert featured pieces from Abhinaya’s repertoire re-imagined by dancers who had completed Abhinaya’s training program and who trained participants in the dance classes to perform their work. In 2007, Abhinaya expanded the program, adding an annual series of solo concerts choreographed and performed by Next Generation participants chosen by the Artistic Director. In Fall 2010, with NEA support, Abhinaya formally launched the Teacher Training program. In the program’s first year, Artistic Director Mythili Kumar trained five participants, each of whom mentored two younger dancers to prepare them for their debut performances (Arangetrams).
Abhinaya’s reputation for artistic excellence has built a solid base of financial support. Abhinaya has received 16 NEA grants, as well as annual awards from the California Arts Council, the San Jose Arts Commission, Arts Council Silicon Valley and the Hewlett Foundation.
- Year established:1980
- Organization type:Grantseeker
- Country of registration:United States
- Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
- IRS Section:501(c)(3)
- IRS Subsection:509(a)(2)
Types of funding being sought (i.e. funding type)
- None specified
Program areas of focus and activity (i.e. funding cause)
- None specified
Geographic areas of focus and activity (i.e. geographic area)
- None specified
Organization tax information is not viewable for this organization.