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Calai Chandra

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Harvard Graduate School of Education


Jersey City NJ

About Me

Ms. Calai Chandrasekaram is the Founder & Artistic Director of Calai Chandra School of Bharathanatyam -- only 501(c)3 of this genre in New Jersey. Calai is a graduate student at HARVARD UNIVERSITY. She is a prominent dance teacher and an admired dance performer in the New Jersey and New York City circles. Her research on Art & AI has been published in leading Computer Science Journal (ACM). The practice-work and groundbreaking research she recently presented at an International Conference stirred a good amount of curiosity among artists and scientists alike. Calai was honored by the Mayor of Madurai in July of 2022 at the prestigious WORLD TAMIL SANGAM, recognizing her dance productions based in Sangam Poetry & Literature. This journey started for her when she presented her 1st research-based-practice work, at a Tamil Conference in Chicago in 2002, and that passion for ancient literature is still continuing after 21 years. And she believes her best work is yet to come ! She is also honored by the Mayor of Jersey City with a proclamation for her service to the local community through Arts Education. Calai has presided over Arangetram-s (debut dance) as Chief Guest, and invited as a Judge for many dance competitions. She is a speaker at Tamil Cultural Conferences and a valued critic. Calai Chandrasekaram is a disciple of renowned Guru. Hema Rajagopalan of Chicago. She further studied the essence of Natya Sastram and Karana-s from the eminent scholar Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam of Chennai. Thus, Calai has inherited the priceless pedagogy (method), bani (mode of movement) and evergreen dance compositions of the two grand legends -- venerable Guru. K.N. Dhandayuthapani Pillai and Guru. Ramaiah Pillai -- via these two artistic lineages she is so fortunate to be part of. Calai is featured often in major dance festivals of Chennai, Bangalore and Trivandrum in India. She performs at dance-centric Temple cities such as Chidambaram, Thanjavur and Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, during Sivaratri Natyanjali Dance festivals. Her recitals at London, Toronto, Chicago, New York City and, all across America are well received by diverse audience. She was a Resident-Artiste at Magnet Schools of Chicago. A recipient of Illinois Arts Council Apprenticeship ward, she has also been conferred “Natya Ratna” by Natya Dance Theatre of Chicago and “Natya Maitreyi” by Vari Foundation of New York City, for Creative Excellence. Her collaborative work with American and Mediterranean music bands as well as her choreography for Western classical music and Native American music has enthralled audiences. Her proficiency in Tamil language prose and poetry enables her to create original dance productions, such as Sangamum Tsunamiyum. This contemporary theme for example, weaves 2000-year-old-poems from the Tamil-Sangam-Literature into heart wrenching poems penned by Calai -- to depict a natural calamity such as the effects of Tsunami in an affected region. For such rare societally reflective, and research intensive creations, she is interviewed and featured in major TV channels and print media in India. Calai being an Engineer and Artist -- with a consuming passion for the sciences, technology and the liberal arts -- is very evident in her large library collection in New Jersey. Calai believes in giving back in meaningful ways -- she is certified by the State to work with battered women with whom she does art therapy sessions. Calai mentors Bharatanatyam dance teachers in rural areas with their professional development and artistic replenishment. Proceeds from her recitals go towards charitable causes here in the US and abroad. Calai is grateful to her Mother, a talented Carnatic violinist, Kamaladevi Chandrasekaram nee Swaminathan, for seeking the right Guru, the illustrious Erambu Suppaia Master, to initiate her into this ancient art form, when she was just a five year old child. Her Father, a world renowned Professor in Education, P. Chandrasekaram inspired Calai with his thirst for knowledge, and his joy in sharing it with his students. ​ ​Calai is repurposing her inherited estate into an -- Artists' Village – amidst an organic herbal garden that celebrates natural healing. In this idyllic surrounding, soon educationists, scientists, artists, artisans, poets, philosophers, inventors and all would brim with ideas, impatient to turn them into action -- just to make this planet a fairer place for all to live and thrive! Calai is keen to design an ideal school, a holistic hospital and a Temple of Service.