ART BEAT: Kalaivan Dance and Music Academy brings Hindu culture to Gwinnett

By: Holley Calmes

Published: February 4, 2015

Gwinnett’s increasing cultural diversity will be celebrated with an eye-dazzling production titled “Samarpayami” on Feb. 15 at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. The evening of dance, music and song is performed by the professional dancers, alumni and advanced students of the Kalaivani Dance and Music Academy, plus special guest artist Asha Ramesh.

Tickets are $45, $35, $25 and $15 (balcony) and are available by visiting The program begins at 3:30 p.m.

The Kalaivani dancers are trained in Bharatha Natyam, South Indian classical dance.

“A Bharathanatyam performance is a visual and aural treat,” Kalaivani representative Padmaja Kelam said. “The performance is an experience for both the mind and the senses. It can be enjoyed at all levels, for sheer enjoyment and to be more thoughtful of how we live our lives. The stories and events portrayed have both a narrative quality and a philosophical depth. Colorful costumes and jewelry are an aesthetic delight. Music and dance are intricately twined together.”

The overall theme of the performance is how the musical notes in Carnatic (Southern Indian) classical music and Numerology relate to Hindu mythology.

The first part of the program is titled “River of 7 Octaves.” Seven musical notes, or swaras, are the basics for Indian music.

“The harmony of nature is reflected in these basic notes. It is said that the notes reflect the sounds of Mother Nature. Each note is said to have a presiding deity. Hence the music originates from the nature surrounding us and makes us realize the magnanimity of nature itself,” Kelam said.

Numbers also play a large part.

“Numbers have a mystique and every religion has its own mythology that is interpreted through numbers,” Kelam said. “When this concept is applied to Hindu mythology, the choice for connections is as many as there are gods and goddesses in the pantheon of Hinduism. The second part of the program, titled ‘Numerology,’ picks up this idea and refers to stories and concepts that exemplify this connection with numbers.”

Kalaivani Academy has brought in a very special vocalist to enhance the production.

“Asha Ramesh is a performer, composer and guru of Carnatic music whose voice will leave a deep impression on every listener,” Kelam said.

Ramesh won the gold medal for excellence at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels at the University of Chennai in India. She has received numerous awards and honors and served as a visiting professor of Carnatic music at the University of California at Berkeley for a number of years.

“Samarpayami” features lyrics written by Dr. Uma Eyyuni, with choreography by Siddarth and Padmaja Kelam. A live orchestra will accompany the performers. Kalaivani is no stranger to Gwinnett audiences. The group has been a favorite at the annual Barefoot in the Park Fine Arts Festival each May for many years.

For more information about this performance and the Kalaivani Academy, visit or call 770-989-1144.