Indiana State University Newsroom

Prominent Indian choreographer, teacher to give presentation at Indiana State

September 26, 2013

A world-renowned choreographer and teacher from India will host a presentation at Indiana State University about a millennia-old traditional Indian dance form.

Saroja Vaidyanathan, an exponent of Bharatanatyam, will present "Nrithya Shastra: The Science of Dance" on Oct. 2 in Hulman Memorial Student Union, Dede II. Vaidyanathan will demonstrate expressions and movements of Bharatanayam, an ancient dance that originated in southern India more than 2,000 years ago, said Nandini Bhowmick, lecturer in the mathematics department who is helping to organize the presentation. Vaidyanathan's presentation will be at 5:30 p.m., and will be followed by a reception. Indiana State students Sowmya Challa and Priya Abhayankar will join in the demonstration.

"Saroja Vaidyanathan is an internationally renowned person and a very gifted teacher," said Bhowmick, who has studied Bharatanayam under Vaidyanathan. "Students come to her every year, particularly ballet dancers, to learn this art form."

Vaidyanathan has received multiple accolades for her work. Earlier this year, she received the Padma Bhushan, one of the most prestigious honors that the government of India can award a civilian.

The Bharatanayam dance form utilizes dancing, body movement and vibrant expressions to communicate emotion, said Zachariah Mathew, associate director of the Center for Global Engagement at ISU. Vaidyanathan has taught students who have traveled to India from countries such as Switzerland and Japan to study under her, Bhowmick said. Vaidyanathan also routinely travels to other countries to teach dance.

"She is a very accomplished artist, and she has taught many talented dancers and artists around the world," Mathew said. "Our students and the community will have a chance to learn from a gifted instructor who will introduce them to a rich part of Indian culture."

The Indian Student Association and Center for Global Engagement are sponsoring Vaidyanathan's visit to the Wabash Valley. Her presentation is free and open to the public, though registration is required. To register, please contact Zachariah Mathew at or Nandini Bhowmick at

Contact: Zachariah Mathew, associate director, Center for Global Engagement, 812-237-2439 or; Nandini Bhowmick, lecturer, department of mathematics, College of Arts and Sciences,

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or