Introduction to Bharatanatyam – Level 1 & 2

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Shivani Aysola

Shivani Lakshmi Aysola is a dancer and community activist working at the intersection of aesthetics and social justice. Shivani’s work has allowed her to advocate for refugees on behalf of the United Nations High Commission, teach digital filmmaking to underserved youth in South India, and implement sustainable design projects combatting homelessness in her hometown of Los Angeles.

Shivani began studying Bharatanatyam under the tutelage of guru Malathi Iyengar in 1997 and as a senior Rangoli company dancer has performed throughout California. She has also been fortunate to study abhinaya under guru Bragha Bessel, traditional folk dance under Murali Mohan Kalvakalva and yoga under Renjith Babu Choorakkad.

Shivani has a BA in Politics and a BA in Italian Literature from the University of California Santa Cruz along with advanced certification in Renaissance Art & Architecture from the Università degli Studi di Firenze.



Vyshnavi Aysola

Vyshnavi Bala Aysola is a visual artist, dancer and teaching artist based in the San Fernando Valley. She works as an artist of color to discuss issues of mental health, immigration and being first-generation Indian American.

As a teaching artist Vyshnavi works with the City of Los Angeles at the Canoga Park Youth Center to positively impact communities through the arts. She has managed the annual Dia de Los Muertos festival since 2018. The weekend-long festival sees 700+ in attendance and is a place where families and friends gather to honor ancestors and culture. Vyshnavi also helped kickstart the San Fernando Valley Art Book Fair which focuses on fostering relationships between independent publishers, SFV-based artists and the public.

Under the guidance of Guru Malathi Iyengar, Vyshnavi began her journey in Bharatnatyam in 2001. She has attended workshops offered by master artists from India, including Abhinaya with Bragha Bessell, yoga with Renjith Babu Choorakkad and Indian folk dances with Murali Mohan Kalvakalva.

Vyshnavi has a BA in Studio Art with a concentration in Textile Design and Digital Media and a BA in Art History with a focus in Indian Art from San Francisco State University. She is currently working on acquiring her Masters in School Counseling.


Nishitha Viswanathan

Nishitha Viswanathan commenced her Bharatanatyam education in 2002 under the guidance of Guru Malathi Iyengar, and has performed in a number of company productions. She has attended workshops offered by master artists from India, including yoga with Renjith Babu Choorakkad, abhinaya with Bragha Bessell, and Indian folk dances with Murali Mohan Kalvakalva.
In 2012, Nishitha founded a 501(c)(3) organization with over 120 members and alumni. Chosen as Santa Barbara’s Organization of the Year (2016) out of 600+ organizations, her co-founder and she are working towards developing and bringing sustainable, low cost technology solutions to rural healthcare settings in India. Their team also collaborates with high profile South Asian artists to host events in order to fund education for children across India. Built on the foundations and inspiration of her guru and family, she continues to pursue her passion for the arts, philanthropy, and social entrepreneurship through this endeavor.
UCSB alumna and 2016 graduate, Nishitha began working in clinical cardiology research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. This exposure strengthened her compassion for impacting patient outcomes, leading her to pursue a career in business strategy in the healthcare technology industry.
Currently living in Los Angeles, Nishitha can be seen reading, drawing, or practicing yoga in her spare time. She aspires to deepen her knowledge of Bharatanatyam, and advance her training at the Rangoli Dance Company to uphold the rich education she has been so fortunate to receive.