Audition for Ritu – The Seasons

Suchitra Sairam and Kala Vandanam are honored to be recipients of a 2015 Knight Arts Challenge grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. This $20,000 matching grant is the cornerstone of support for Kala Vandanam to create an original full length work titled “Ritu – The Seasons,” inspired by beautiful works of music and literature from around the world, including Vivaldi’s Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons) from 18th century Italy and Kalidasa’s Ritu Samhara from 4th century India.

While young ballet dancers and theater actors have many opportunities to audition for and participate in professional productions, young Bharatanatyam dancers have few comparable opportunities. Ritu – The Seasons is intended to be exactly that – fill this gap for Twin Cities area Bharatanatyam dancers to come together, create their own artistic magic and lasting bonds in a professional production. In addition, these young dancers will learn about production, marketing and other skills valuable both for their artistic endeavors and for other interests.

The artistic team includes Suchitra Sairam (choreography and artistic direction), Jyothishmathi Sheejith (music composition), and Dipankar Mukherjee and Meena Natarajan of Pangea World Theater (directorial and dramaturgical guidance). Our goal is to give these young dancers motivation to continue their artistic pursuits beyond a hobbyist level.

We are seeking talented, passionate and collaborative Twin Cities Bharatanatyam dancers to join us on this journey.

Initial workshops – Spring 2016
Rehearsal intensives – Summer 2016 – 3-4 week period in July-August, 4-5 days per week
Continuing rehearsals – in advance of each scheduled performance (schedules to be published as performances are finalized)

Planned cast selection – 6 dancers plus 4 understudies – ALL understudies will have an opportunity to perform

  • Auditions – Two rounds, including short essay and in-person interview
  • Evaluate the following skills and qualities:
    • Dance – nritta, abhinaya, stage presence, stamina
    • Learning style and adaptability
    • Nuance and understanding in the art form and in performance
    • Attitude and commitment
    • Cast fit
  • Eligibility – High caliber Bharatanatyam dancers with performance experience. For young dancers, highly recommended that they have completed their Arangetram, Salangai Pooja or learned a varnam.

ROUND 1 (open to all eligible dancers) – ROUND 1 AUDITIONS ARE NOW CLOSED

  • SUBMIT online links (URL) for video clips of the applicant performing:
    • Alarippu – in any talam
    • Excerpt featuring abhinaya, and including nritta optionally – 3-5 minutes
  • Full costume is not required, but traditional attire is expected
  • Clips can be filmed in a studio or other clear space, stage performance not required, and should be no more than 1 year old
  • Ensure a steady camera with a straight angle so full body is visible, there are no distracting elements behind the dancer, and that the dancer’s image is clear and well lit
  • SUBMIT short (1 page or less, no smaller than 10pt font) essay sharing why you dance, and why this experience would be valuable to you artistically, in collaboration, and in allied skills.
    • Include applicant’s name, email address and phone number in the essay document
    • Filename must be in the following format – FirstNameLastName_rituessay
    • Essay to be submitted with a URL to a filesharing site such as Google Drive, Dropbox or Hightail. No file uploads will be accepted.


Notification on selection for Round 2 – expected by Monday, 2/22

These are the full and final set of instructions. In case of any ambiguity, please make suitable assumptions and submit your entry. In the interest of being fair and transparent, our team will not be available for any individual clarifications on the above.

ROUND 2 (if called)

  • Dance – In person at Kala Vandanam studio in downtown St. Paul (Sat 2/27, 3/5 or 3/12 – dates/times to be finalized)
  • Learn short excerpts with group
  • Present the short excerpt individually and as a group
  • Interview – Brief interview with choreographer and producer