Nitya Venkateswaran, born and raised in California, U.S.A, has been immersed in the classical dance form of Bharatanatyam for the past 30 years. She has trained with Vishal Ramani, Artistic Director of Shri Krupa Dance Company, San Jose, CA, since 1980 and performed her arangetram, or solo dance debut in 1985.
Nitya is known for her dynamic stage presence, exacting footwork and soulful rendering the musical content of Bharatanatyam. She is one of the very few second generation Indian Americans to continue pursuing Bharatanatyam professionally and has performed extensively as a soloist for the past 11 years, presenting pieces choreographed by her Guru and herself. She has performed numerous times in India and the San Francisco Bay Area with rave reviews. Nitya has given over ten solo performances during Chennai's Music and Dance season, and also performed in Bangalore's Gayana Samaj and the Indira Gandhi Center for Arts in New Dehli. Nitya was honored to perform during the Maha Shivarathri celebrations in the Brihadeeshwar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu in 2005. Reviewed by critics in the Hindu newspaper as well as Tamil Newspapers, Dinamalar and Dinathanthi, critics noted her charming stage presence and depth of understanding in emoting the musical content of Bharatanatyam.
Nitya's performances in the US have received wide acclaim. She was selected to be a soloist in the prestigious 27th Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival in June of 2005 where she was awarded a choreography commission by the San Francisco Foundation. She presented her own choreography in a traditional Bharatanatyam margam titled "Legacy of Love", a culmination of her choreography apprenticeship under her Guru, Mrs. Vishal Ramani, supported by the Alliance of California Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program in partnership with the James Irvine Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation. In 2005 her solo sold-out performance at the ODC theater in January 2005 was reviewed by Bay Area Dance critic Mary Ellen Hunt, expressing the vitality and modernity inherent in classical dance styles. Nitya was also a former Artist in Residence at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center and her work was presented at the APA Heritage Festival in May 2007. Nitya continues to perform regularly in local festivals and events, bringing to life the mythological stories and humanistic themes as part of the Bharatanatyam repertoire.
Nitya displayed a love for dance and an innate understanding of complex rhythmic patterns at an early age. She quickly picked up the intricacies of Bharatanatyam and performed her dance debut (arangetram) with her sister, Swapna, after only 5 years of training. Under the continued tutelage of Ramani, Nitya has performed in the San Francisco Bay Area as a soloist and with the Shri Krupa Dance Company. Her solo performance career began in Chennai, India in December 2001 during the 'Season' a 2 month long festival in Chennai where about over 300 music and dance concerts are held. Since 2001, she returned to India three times, performing regularly in prestigious festivals and venues in India including Kartik Fine Arts, Mylapore Fine Arts, Hamsadhwani, and Parathasarthy Swamy Sabha. While in India, Nitya furthered her understanding of Bharatanatyam by studying Sanskrit, Tamil, nattuvangam and Carnatic music. Her knowledge of carnatic music include vocal and the veena, a South Indian stringed instrument.
A a lover of all dance forms, Nitya has also studied Modern/Graham technique at UC Berkeley and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and Flamenco in the Bay Area and Sevilla, Spain. Nitya’s true passion, however, lies with Bharatanatyam where she is able to experience joy and deepen her spirituality. She is forever indebted to her Guru for her constant guidance, enthusiasm and inspiration.
Nitya completed her PhD at the University of Washington, Seattle in Educational Leadershio and Policy Studies. She currently conducts research and evaluation in education at RTI International in Berkeley, CA. She continues to perform in the San Francisco Bay Area.