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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 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.