Sunanda Narayanan is an acclaimed exponent of the ancient South Indian classical dance style called Bharatanatyam. She was born and raised in India and moved to the Boston area in 1996. Sunanda is the director of Thillai Fine Arts Academy in Newton where she has trained several students with strict adherence to the traditional training she learned in India.
Sunanda is the prime disciple of Guru Rhadha, one of the foremost teachers and choreographers of Bharatanatyam today. The particular form of Bharatanatyam that Sunanda practices is called the ‘Vazhuvoor’ style, with an emphasis on grace and lyricism in form and movement. Sunanda holds two diplomas in Indian Classical Dance Theory from the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, India and from the Association of Bharatanatyam Artists of India (ABHAI). Classical music is intrinsic to Bharatanatyam and Sunanda has had a thorough training in vocal Indian classical music from eminent gurus in India.
Sundanda has been performing for more than three decades and has presented over 250 public performances. She has several awards to her credit. Apart from the Senior Scholarship of the Govt. of India, she was selected by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram (a State Government Cultural Association in India) to perform under their sponsorship as well. In 1993, the leading Indian newspaper “Indian Express” featured Sunanda in their Personality of the Week column. In 2011, Sunanda received an award from Lokvani, a news website for the Indian community in the Greater Boston area, for being a dedicated dancer and teacher. Many of Sunanda’a students have won awards at prestigious Indian dance competitions in the US.
Sunanda’s performances have been featured by leading Indian television networks on several occasions and she has presented lecture-demonstrations and workshops at museums, schools, and colleges in several cities in the US, Canada, India, and Brazil. As a choreographer, Sunanda has multiple solo and group productions to her credit on a variety of themes – both traditional and contemporary. A graduate of the MIT Sloan School of Management, Sunanda also works part-time at WGBH, Boston.