Sasikala (Sah-SEE-ka-lah) Penumarthi is one of the foremost practitioners of classical Indian Kuchipudi dance in the world. Sasikala trained under the great legendary Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam in the Kuchipudi art form for many years. Sasikala moved to Atlanta in 1991, and pursued training students, performing, and producing dance dramas. Sasikala founded the Academy of Kuchipudi Dance, a non-profit organization, in 1997. Sasikala participated as an artist on the Georgia Council for the Arts Touring Artists Roster for many years. Sasikala’s troupe presents her Guru’s dramas, solo and group performances, and her own choreography, such as Swapna Vijayam, which is an adaptation of The Nutcracker. Sasikala teaches full credit semester courses in Kuchipudi at Emory University and conducts master classes and lecture-demonstrations on Kuchipudi at several universities. Sasikala served on the roster for Young Audiences and Arts For Learning-Woodruff Arts Center. She conducts classes at her studio in Suwanee and at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta in Riverdale.
Arts Disciplines: Dance, Storytelling, Theatre/Drama
Core Content Curriculum Areas: Dance, Theatre/Drama
Specialized Content Areas: Arts Integration, World Cultures
Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, College Students
Pre-Service Learning and Professional Development: Professional Development for Teaching Artists, Professional Development for K-12 Teachers
Geographic Availability: Metro Atlanta, North Georgia
- Performances: Single assembly–$380; two back-to-back–$630
- Workshops: One workshop–$200; two workshops–$250; three workshops–$300; four workshops–$350
Sasikala (Sah-SEE-ka-lah) Penumarthi is one of the foremost practitioners of classical Indian Kuchipudi dance in the world. A Master Artist for the Georgia Council for the Arts traditional arts apprenticeship program and for the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts, Penumarthi has performed her craft all over India, America, Canada, Europe, and Russia.
Sasikala trained under the great, legendary Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam in the Kuchipudi art form for over seventeen years. She started at a very young age in the Kuchipudi Art Academy, an institution run by Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Sasikala continued her training in Kuchipudi dance all along her schooling and college in Chennai. She traveled with her Guru all over the world and performed in lead roles in most of the ballets presented by the Kuchipudi Art Academy.
Sasikala moved to Atlanta in 1991 and continued her pursuits by training her own students, performing, and producing dance dramas. In order to propagate the art into the mainstream, Sasikala founded the Academy of Kuchipudi Dance, a non-profit organization, in 1997. She has been acknowledged as a Master Artist for the Georgia Council for the Arts traditional arts apprenticeship program and by the National Foundation for the Advancement of Arts. Sasikala has participated as an artist on the Georgia Council for the Arts Touring Artists Roster for more than 10 years and performs all over the United States upon invitation from various arts councils. Sasikala’s troupe presented the dramas Chandalika, Krishna Parijatham, Srinivasa Kalyanam, Rukmini Kalyanam, and several solo and group performances in the Atlanta area and the southeast. Sasikala presented her own productions Rathi Manmadha, Swapna Vijayam (an adaptation of The Nutcracker ballet into the Kuchipudi style of dance), Andal Kalyanam, Pasidi Poornamma, and Chinmaya Charitham for Atlanta audiences.
Sasikala serves as Artist Affiliate and Associate Faculty at Emory University, where she teaches full credit semester courses in Kuchipudi. Sasikala conducts lecture demonstrations on Kuchipudi upon invitation from the Georgia State University, Macon State College, the University of Georgia in Athens, and the University of Florida at Tallahassee. Sasikala has served on the Young Audiences and Arts For Learning-Woodruff Arts Center roster for more than ten years and tours all over the state of Georgia upon invitation from schools to introduce the Kuchipudi art form to a younger generation. Sasikala has a number of students that she teaches at her Dance Studio in Suwanee, Georgia and at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta in Riverdale, Georgia.
- Kuchipudi: Telling a Story Through Indian Dance: Kuchipudi transforms storytelling into movement to teach students about this expressive Indian art form. This fascinating glimpse into an ancient and exotic culture offers great links to language arts and social studies.
- Grades: 6–12
- Program Format: Assembly
- Audience Limit: 300
- Duration: 40 minutes
- Kuchipudi Dance (Workshop): Students learn Indian history and culture while they practice basic hand gestures, foot movements, and rhythmic syllables used in Kuchipudi Dance, later combining them to express themselves through dance. Speech, song, mime, and dance are used to tell a story or episode from Indian mythology.
- Grades: 6–12
- Program Format: Workshop
- Audience Limit: 30
- Duration: 45 minutes