Mission

Kalamandir Dance Company (501c3) is a contemporary dance ensemble that uses the vocabulary of classical Indian dance to explore new spaces of artistic expression. Instead of diminishing the foundation of our classical styles, we look to investigate their communicative potential when merged with Western dance traditions. Using odissi, kathak, bharatanatyam, capoeira, flamenco, modern and ballet training, our dancers collaboratively converse with movement and create dialogue with expression. We are driven by creativity, human emotions, and a desire to be released from the four walls of our daily existence. Our movement vocabulary is a collective effort that aims to create a reachable area for all people to participate and communicate.

History

Founded in 2009, Kalamandir Dance Company is the creative vision of Malabika Guha, director and teacher of the 25 years-running Kalamandir Kathak and Creative Dance school of NJ. Malabika wanted to bring together advanced dancers with a foundation in Indian Classical dance and use their experience with Western dance training and movement theory to expand on original storylines and ideas. Her hope was that a dance company with a rich repertoire of movement and expression would be able to demonstrate the true universality of human emotions and experiences. The result was a collaborative company of dancers with training in kathak, ballet, odissi, modern, bharatanatyam, flamenco and capoeira who started meeting weekly to explore all the exciting possibilities that their diverse abilities, ideologies, and experiences had to offer.

Artistic Director – Malabika Guha

Malabika Guha grew up in Kolkata and Shantiniketan, India where her training of more than two decades in Creative and Kathak dance began. She is a disciple of Guru Bela Arnob in Kolkata, India and was a student under Amala Shankar at Uday Shankar India Cultural Center where she was also in the advanced tour troupe. In 1969, Malabika graduated from Patha Bhavan School in Shantiniketan with Honors in Bengali and a High Secondary focus in Sitar and went on to earn a BA in Bengali with a main elective in dance from Rabindra Bharathi University in Kolkata in 1973. She completed her masters in Bengali at Calcutta University in 1977. Once Malabika moved to the United States, she attended Parsons School of Design and graduated with an Associate’s degree in Interior Design. In 1986, she followed her dream to found Kalamandir of New Jersey, a dance school based in kathak and creative dance. She received recognition of excellence in Community leadership in 1989 from the Mayor of Jersey City and in 2014 at the North American Bengali Conference in Orlando. She has traveled with her school throughout the US and with her advanced troupe to India, London, Canada, Spain as well as throughout the US.

After 20 years of dance training and almost 30 years of directing the tri-state area’s most well known Indian dance school, Malabika decided to take on a new endeavor: Kalamandir Dance Company. Her idea was to create a collaborative establishment where after many years of classical training, fusion with contemporary elements could open a new world of possibilities: a reflection of her own dance experience.

“I dream one day my students will feel the dedication I have seen in my guru’s eyes. They will experience the sensation of being immersed in a larger universe with a sense of creative joy as my teachers in Shantiniketan made me feel. And they will feel the team spirit and camaraderie I have felt as a part of Uday Shankar’s troupe. Greatest of all, they will feel the sense of freedom a true dancer always feels; a freedom above the mundane, the ordinary, and the four walls of our daily existence.”

A curriculum vitae is available upon request.

Current Dancers

Ria DasGupta (west coast branch & co-founder)
Brinda Guha (east coast branch & co-founder)

NYC Dancers

Past Dancers & Original Members

Donia Salem
Jamuna Dasi
Karishma Minocha
Marlene Desiree
Nalini Neubert
Shuchorita Bose


Ria DasGupta is a co-founder and principal dancer of Kalamandir Dance Company, and one of its lead choreographers. She trained in classical ballet and modern dance for 14 years with the Academy of Dance Arts in Red Bank, NJ before starting classical and creative Indian dance with Malabika Guha. Since then, she has studied Bharatanatyam under Guru Chitra Venkateswaran and Kathak under Malabika Guha and more recently with the Chhandam School of Kathak. She is trained in capoeira and other Afro-Brazilian arts under the guidance of Contra Mestre Maranhão.
A lifelong resident of New Jersey, Ria moved to the Bay Area in August 2014, and is in the primary stages of building a West Coast branch of KDC. She is the Studio Manager for Studio 8 – The Tea Dancers/Ballet de la Compasion in Berkeley, where she teaches the Kalamandir Technique of Contemporary Indian dance. Ria has an MA in Women’s and Gender Studies from Rutgers University and is pursuing her doctorate in education from the University of San Francisco.


Brinda Guha has been learning classical Kathak dance for 20 years with Kalamandir of NJ from her mother, Smt. Malabika Guha. She has been invited to perform solo throughout the US and has done solo and group performances in England and India. She has been in a number of dance dramas produced by Malabika Guha and in 2005 wrote and directed her own dance production entitled “RISE,” based on the poems of Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes. Brinda also performed in Badal Sircar’s “Pagla Ghora”, directed by celebrated filmmaker, Amol Palekar, and debuted in theater at The South Asian Theater Festival’s staging of “Red Oleanders” and “The Little Clay Cart” (2009, 2010).
Brinda has also learned classical Manipuri dance in Kolkata, India from Guru Kalavati Devi. Since 2007, Brinda has studied Flamenco in NYC under Dionisia Garcia, and also began her Contemporary training under renowned teachers and choreographers at Broadway Dance Center. Since early 2014, Brinda led up the New York City branch of Kalamandir Dance Company. They have performed at Gowanus Arts Center, Broadway Dance Center, Actor’s Fund Arts Center, Secret Theater, Brooklyn Dance Festival, NYCDA Dance Festival, and more.
For ten years, Brinda has trained in Classical Piano with Richard Hendrickson, and completed a double major in Music and Mathematics at New York University. In her day job, she is the Educational Programs Coordinator at Broadway Dance Center, and later received the great opportunity to teach a weekly summer guest slot on Broadway Dance Center. She is also represented by Ramona’s Model & Talent, a commercial print modeling agency based in the Greater NYC area. As co-founder of KDC, she feels that this time of leadership and growth is a means to learn more about herself as a person, performer, and eternal student of the arts.

New York City Dancers

Repertoire

Heat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debuted in September 2009
Concept by Malabika Guha
Music by Zakir Hussein
Costumes by Malabika Guha
Original Production Singers: Arunava Chakrabarty, Jayeeta Ghosh, Zafar Billah
Original Production Choreography: Ariana (Ria) DasGupta, Jamuna Dasi, Brinda Guha, Natasha Mehra, Nalini Neubert, Donia Salem

Video of Heat here! 

 

 

Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debuted in September 2010
Concept by Malabika Guha
Music by Biplab Mondal & Subrata Mukherjee
Costumes by Malabika Guha & Anuradha Basu
Original Choreography: Ariana (Ria) DasGupta, Jamuna Dasi, Brinda Guha, Donia Salem
Reviews here

Video of Water here! 

 

Prithibhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Premiere Length Production Directed by Malabika Guha
Debuted in July 2010
Concept by Malabika Guha
Poetry by Rabindranath Tagore
Music by Tarit Bhattacharya & Company (Kolkata, India)
Costumes by Malabika Guha
Original Choreography: Ariana (Ria) DasGupta, Jamuna Dasi, Marlene Desiree, Brinda Guha, Nalini Neubert, Donia Salem

Promo video of Prithibhi here! 

 

Palmistry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debuted in March 2011
Concept by Malabika Guha
Music by Tabla Beat Science & Ananda Shankar
Costumes by Malabika Guha
Original Choreography: Ariana (Ria) DasGupta, Jamuna Dasi, Brinda Guha, Anu Sahasrabudhe, Donia Salem

 

Rise

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debuted in May 2012
Concept by Malabika Guha, Brinda Guha
Inspired by Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise”
Music by Biplab Mondal & Company (Kolkata, India)
Choreography: Shuchorita Bose, Ariana (Ria) Dasgupta, Brinda Guha, Karishma Minocha, Donia Salem

Promo video of Rise here! 

 

The Love That Remains

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debuted in September 2012
Concept by Dancers of KDC, Malabika Guha
Music: “Isa Lei” by Ry Cooder & Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, “Easy” by Norah Jones & Anoushka Shanker, “Ogum Ê” by Mestre Sorriso & Contramestre Cravo.
Choreography: Ariana (Ria) Dasgupta, Brinda Guha, Donia Salem

 

Reve(a)l
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Debuted in November 2013
Concept by Dancers of KDC, Malabika Guha
Music: “Wild Ghuneroos Pt. 2″ by Prem Joshua
Choreography: Malabika Guha, Ariana (Ria) Dasgupta, Brinda Guha, Donia Salem
Reviews here

 

Quiet Joy

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Debuted in June 2014
Music: Apparat’s “Arcadia”
Choreography: Brinda Guha
Original Dancers: Jose Fernando Salazar, Elina Hsiung, Jahnavi Sheriff, Jeremy Davidson, Devon Lubar, Ayesha Hassanwalia, Ianthe Mellors, Ramita Ravi, Rahi & Brinda Guha

Video of Quiet Joy here! 

 

Traces of You
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Debuted in September 2014
Music: Anoushka Shankar & Norah Jones’ “Traces of You”
Choreography: Brinda Guha
Original Dancers: Elina Hsiung, Alex Isenberg, Elodie Dufroux, Rohit Gijare, Maria Fadden, Reginald Webber Jr., Stephanie Lim, Devon Lubar, Jeremy Davidson, Kristy Viterbo, Vivake Khamsingsavath, Jaisson Restrepo, Brinda Guha

Promo Video of Traces Of You here!