Priya Venkataraman a world-renowned exponent of Bharatanatyam, is known for her adherence to the classical traditional repertoire'. Priya started dancing at the young age of seven and has a cumulative performing experience of over two decades. She received her early training under Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan and continues her training with Guru A. Lakshman and Mrs. Bragha Bessell.
Priya spent twelve years of her initial career in the United States where she performed extensively and taught Bharatanatyam through her dance school Kalakriti. Twelve of her students have completed their "Arangetram" under her guidance. Priya has done some exceptional experimental work in collaboration with international artistes. Priya's collaborative work with the US based modern dancer Sandra Schramel and musician Byron Wise (Eyes beneath the night) was critically acclaimed. Priya's experience in theatre extends to acting in a nationally televised serial and choreographing for a play by Terrance McNally staged at the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.
Priya has had the opportunity to perform at some prestigious venues across the globe. She has performed for US President Barrack Obama's official visit to India in 2010, program for the Royal couple in Bhutan, 2011; Black Arts Festival, Senegal; International Festival of Bangkok, 2010; Jeonjhu Sori International Festival, South Korea; Festival of India, Bogota, Colombia and has toured extensively in North America, West Indies, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Europe and Africa.
In recognition of her efforts to propagate the art form in the United States, she was awarded a fellowship by the Illinois Arts Council in 1995 and again in 2002. Between 1995 and 2003, six of her students were also given scholarships to pursue their training under Priya. A recipient of the Lakshmi Viswanathan award for abhinaya and the Rohini Krishnan Endowment award from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Priya is a sought after performer, choreographer and television anchor. She lives and teaches in New Delhi.
Bharatanatyam is perhaps the oldest amongst the classical dance styles of India. Tracing its origins to the temples of South India, Bharatanatyam is characterized by intricate hand gestures, rhythmic foot-work and elaborate mime. The music followed is the classical Carnatic tradition of music and the dances are based on Indian mythology and literature.