'Natyom - Dances of India' is a dance school located next to the Valley Ranch Public Library in Irving, TX, USA. The school's Artistic Director/Owner, Dr.Praveena Vajja started learning Bharatanatyam at the age of five and later learnt Kuchipudi too from the same Guru, NatyacharyaAvasarala Rukmaji Rao. Natyacharya Rukmaji Rao is a disciple ofPadmasri Adyar Lakshman in Bharatanatyam, Kalakshetra style and Padmabhushan Dr Vempati Chinna Satyam in Kuchipudi style. Praveena has also been undergoing training for the last three years in Kathak under Guru Smt Akhila Rao, Artistic Director of Kathak Rhythms located in Plano, Texas. Praveena ensures that the school's core curriculum is Bharatanatyam strictly in the traditional Kalakshetra style. Once the students have attained considerable experience in Bharatanatyam, as an additional art they may choose to include a different style such as Kuchipudi or Kathak. Praveena also updates herself in teaching techniques and skills by attending workshops of eminent visiting artists to the USA. Some of the recent workshops / presentations / training she attended are:
International Kathak Festival at the International House in Chicago Sep 12-14, 2014. As a participant in the festival, Praveena was able to learn from Padmavibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj and Renown Kathak exponent, Saswathi Sen during the three day afternoon workshop. In addition, she could actively interact in the morning conferences which was a platform for many Kathak exponents from all over the world to meet and discuss topics. Seeing amazing shows by several exponents in the evening was altogether a great experience.
Bharatanatyam workshop at Padmasri Adyar Lakshman sir's school, Bharatachoodamani from July 21st to July 26th, 2014 and performance at Kalakshetra Rukmini Arangham auditorium on July 27th, 2014.
Advanced Bharatanatyam training in teaching and choreography at Saranya Fine Arts School under Guru Avasarala Rukmaji Rao during summer, 2014.
Kathak workshop by Arts entrepreneur, Madhu Nataraj, daughter of Dr. Maya Rao, on sep 4th, 5th, 6th, 2013.
Dr Seshadri Iyengar's Dance Fitness and Yoga workshop on August 14th, 2013 in Dallas.
Smt Rama Vaidyanathan's Bharatanatyam workshop on Oct 8th and 9th, 2012 in Dallas.
Natyashastra workshop by Prof Pappu Venugopala Rao on October 6th, 2012 in Dallas.
Workshops in both, bharatanatyam and kathak by Nirupama+Rajendra(Abhinava Dance) in July/Aug 2012. Also performed the bharatanatyam and kathak choreographies learnt during the workshop in NUTANA on August 12th at Dallas Children Theater, a show in which Nirupama+Rajendra performed too.
Padmabhushan CV Chandrasekhar and Smt Jaya Chandrasekhar Nattuvangam workshop in Dallas, 2011
Shri Shijith Nambiar Bharatanatyam Workshop in Dallas, 2011
Smt Manjari Chandrasekhar(Daughter of Padmabhushan CV Chandrasekhar) bharatanatyam workshop in Dallas, 2010
On a personal side, Praveena graduated with an MBBS degree from Andhra Medical College in 2000 and later moved to the United States with her husband Manohar Vajja, MD who is a physician and running his own healthcare service. Praveena, after having passed the USMLEs and getting ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) certified to train in medical residency, decided to be a full time mother and pursue her passion dance while supporting her husband in his administrative work. She believes her training as a doctor helps her have a holistic approach in teaching and also have a better support connection with each individual be it a 5 y/o child or a 50y/o adult. Natyom is now a major dance school in the Dallas-Fortworth metroplex and has over 150 students in all age groups and at various levels of training.