President: Diana J. Wong is the President of Navarasa Dance Theater. She seeks to leverage social artistry for effecting grassroots changes related to women, environmental sustainability, economic development, leadership development, and career transitions. She is actively involved with different non-profit organizations. Diana serves on three additional boards with one role as a Treasurer. Previously, she also served as President of the Ann Arbor chapter of the American Society for Training and Development where she rebuilt the board to support the successful development of the professional non-profit association for corporate trainers and consultants. She received her PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; an MBA from Dalhousie University, and a Bachelor of Home Economics from University of British Columbia. Currently, Diana teaches at Eastern Michigan University and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband, Wayne Millette and family.
Founder/Artistic Director: Dr. Aparna Sindhoor is a choreographer, director, performer and teacher. Critics have hailed Sindhoor as a powerful voice for creating contemporary works of extraordinary artistry and works that challenge the boundaries of traditional Indian dance, yet contribute to strengthening that tradition. She has created more than fifteen contemporary dance theater works that have been performed at venues and festivals, including Lincoln Center, Jacob's Pillow, La MaMa, Asian American Theater Festival, New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas, World Social Forum, New World Theatre, USA; Teesri Duniya Theatre (Montreal, Canada); Ragayana and Amol Palekhar’s Theater Festival, India. She has choreographed for films and television and for a circus show created by Franco Dragone in Germany. She was the artist in residency at the prestigious Bates Dance Festival, at Brandeis University and Boston Center for the Arts. Sindhoor trained in the Mysore style of Bharatanatyam for more than fifteen years with legendary teacher, Dr. K. Venkatalakshamma (Mysore palace dancer). She has trained in yoga, martial arts, contemporary, aerial dance, music and theater for more than a decade. Her current work has synthesized these distinct art forms into a unified whole. She is a Gold Medalist in Dance from Mysore University and she has a PhD in Dance, Cultural and Women’s Studies from Boston University. She is the founder and artistic director of Navarasa Dance Theater. www.navarasa.org
Co-Director: Anil Natyaveda is a choreographer, dancer, teacher and martial artist (kalari ppyattu) from Triuvanathapuram, India. He is one of leading exponents of Kalari ppayattu in the world. He has performed all over the world including at the Bates Dance Festival, Lincoln Center, Asian American Theater Festival, USA and Edinburgh Dance Festival, Germany International Summer Theatre Festival, Hong Kong Art Festival and Khaguraho Festival. Natyaveda choreographed for films and television and for Franco Dragone’s circus show in Germany. Natyaveda is trained in classical dance forms and also in contemporary and aerial dance forms. He has a degree in dance from Sree Swathithirunal Music College, India and performs and teaches in the U.S., India and Canada. In 2008 the Kerala State Guru Gopinath Trust, India, honored him with the Natyaratnam award and in 2012 Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute award for his contribution to Indian arts. Critics have hailed him as an important contemporary choreographer creating original works. He is the co-director of Navarasa Dance Theater. www.navarasa.org
Co-Founder and Co-Director: S M Raju (Rajendran Meena Sivasankaran) has a computer science bachelors from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India and did his graduate studies at Umass, Amherst. He worked as a senior researcher in Verizon Labs and then went on to start Knumi, a venture funded startup in 2000 that developed cutting edge video search and voice based search technologies. He has two US patents to his credit. His passion for film and theater led him to write, direct and produce several theater works for Navarasa Dance Theater. He has produced TV shows, films, children’s animation content and over 120 educational videos for school children for the government of Tamilnadu, India. He is also a multiple winner of the James Baldwin playwright award. He was one of the executive producers of Anandabhadram, a Malayalam feature film (anandhabhadram.com). His critically acclaimed directorial debut film Varnam (varnamthefilm.com) was released in theatres in India in 2011 and was officially selected for the London Asian Film Festival 2011, Montreal World Film Festival 2011, Chennai International Film Festival 2011, Norway Tamil Film Festival 2012, the Newyork Indian Film Festival 2012 and the Roxbury International Film Festival 2012.
Treasurer: Christian Willauer is Director of Community and Economic Development with Cornerstone West CDC in Wilmington DE. She has been involved with Navarasa since 2002, playing many roles to support Navarasa’s artistic work including fundraising, board member, stage manager, and lights and sound. She also has over ten years experience in neighborhood revitalization, community development, social enterprise, and job training in Boston, where she launched Haley House Bakery Café. Christian completed the Master of City Planning (MCP) program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Member: Smitha Radhakrishnan has been dancing with Navarasa since 2008 and currently serves on the Navarasa board. A sociologist by profession, she is invested in the potential of a truly global sociology for fostering novel ways of seeing our everyday lives and enacting change. As a professor at Wellesley College, she teaches courses that invite students to develop vocabularies for thinking about inequality, power, and difference. Smitha has also actively studied and performed Bharatnatyam from childhood, and has performed in both group and solo contexts in the United States, South Africa, and India. Since joining Navarasa, Smitha has performed in the productions A Story and A Song and Encounter. She holds a PhD from UC Berkeley and lives in Jamaica Plain with her family.
Member: Sun Chao is the Global Training and Development Manager for Sensei Change Associates, LLC. He is a native of Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, China and holds a Bachelors Degree from Tianjin University of Commerce and a Master of Human Resource Management and Organization Development from Eastern Michigan University. He was strongly involved with the university Educational Theatre Troupe after coming to the U.S. in 2010. He understands the power of the stage arts and how they influence multicultural understanding and is excited to be involved with Navarasa Dance Theater.