Artistic Director, Principal Dancer & Composer

Anjal Chande is a choreographer, composer, and performer who has been creating boundary-pushing, bharatanatyam works for over a decade. Described by Time Out Chicago as “arrestingly poetic” and “breaking out of the box of ethnic dance,” Anjal has built an original solo repertoire combining her own poetry, music, dance, and costuming innovations and collaborating with noteworthy artists. As a highly dedicated student of Hema Rajagopalan, Anjal trained and performed at Natya Dance Theatre in Chicago from 1992-2007, and later studied nattuvangam and abhinaya under renowned gurus of India: Bhagwatula Seetharam Sharma of Kalakshetra, Jayanthi Subramaniam, Bragha Bessell, and Indira Kadambi. She is also a proficient percussionist and tabla player and holds a degree in Food Politics and Sociology from New York University. Anjal founded Soham Dance Space to create an empowering space for the exploration of bharatanatyam and creativity at large.

Collaborators

Savitha Chelladurai studied bharatanatyam dance intensively as a teenager in Malaysia at the Temple of Fine Arts, Kuala Lumpur, and completed her arangetram in 2001. She has also studied ballet for 13 years and other dance forms such as odissi, kuchipudi, kandian, and tap. She served as a leader of University of Michigan’s Maya Dance Team from 2002 to 2006 and performed with Natya Dance Theatre in Chicago from 2007 to 2008. She has been involved with Soham Dance Space as a teacher, student, and performer since 2012. Savitha currently works as an IT professional for Shure and is pursuing an MBA in Environmental Management and Sustainability at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Rasika Ranganathan started learning bharatanatyam at age 6. Most of her training and completion of her arangetram was with Sujatha Chandramohan, who was a disciple of Adyar K. Lakshman of Kalakshetra. She is an actor, working on both theater and film projects in Chicago, having trained at Emory University Theater Department, ActOne Studios, and the Acting Studio Chicago. She also takes classes at Lou Conte Hubbard Street, learns kalaripayattu from Guru Anil Natyaveda, and had been a part of the Maya Dance Team at University of Michigan. Rasika holds a Masters in Public Health from Emory University.

Jesse Hunter is a talented guitarist who has performed with artists such as Vieux Farka Toure, DJ Logic, The Flobots, and Gil Scott Heron in Chicago, Seattle, New York City, Denver, and now Boulder. Contributing to the dance world, Jesse has accompanied, composed, arranged, and shared space alongside America’s Best Dance Crew (ABDC) contestants BreakEFX, comedian Ryan Stiles, aerial-acrobats: The Dream Science Circus, and most recently, New York-based troupe FuturPointe Dance, under the artistic direction and choreography of Chris Walker, dancer and choreographer for the National Dance Theater Company (NDTC) of Jamaica. In addition, Jesse has been working with the figure skating community in Colorado, mixing, arranging, and producing tracks for their skating routines and nation-wide competitions. Jesse also teaches music to all ages for Colorado’s School of Rock and the YMCA’s Breakthrough Arts Program, while concurrently teaching private lessons.

Karl Olson is an uncommonly well-rounded percussionist from Bellingham, Washington, whose involvement span reggae, jazz, funk, hip hop, Indian classical music, and music for dance. He gives over 100 performances a year with roots/Americana band, Polecat, which has self-produced two albums and tours the northwest. He has accompanied modern dance classes for Western Washington University for over 9 years and has worked with notable teachers including Kraig Patterson, Penny Hutchinson, Rick Merrill, Nolan Dennet, and Pam Kuntz. Karl holds a BA in Music and studied jazz with Chuck Israels, classical percussion with Dr. Patrick Roulet, and Indian percussion at the Ali Akbar College of Music and with Jim Santi Owen and Ganesh Kumar. His composition for dance includes creating music for Anjal Chande’s “Secret of Action” (2010) performed throughout India, and Chris Walkers work “Dubwise” (2013) performed in New York City featuring Rochester based company, Futurepointe.