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TTU News

Tennessee Tech University next week will host a performance of an ancient Southern Indian style of dance that was first presented as a means of providing a spiritual connection to the Hindu traditions and is now one of India’s premier theater art forms.

Monica Cooley and dancers from her Kala Nivedanam company in Nashville will present “Subhaashitam: Parables from India” at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, in TTU’s Derryberry Hall Auditorium.

Cooley is a respected performer, teacher and choreographer of Bharatanatyam, an ancient and classical style of dance from South India — with roots more than 2,000 years old — that is meant to entertain, as well as to inspire, uplift, transform and ultimately carry both the dancer and the viewer closer to knowledge of the divine.

“Parables from India” explores universal values such as friendship, honesty, thoughtfulness, respect and unity through stories from ancient Indian literature.

Literary sources for the work include Jataka Tales, the Panchatantra and the Thirukkural.

An American born in Singapore and raised in Indonesia, with a background in South Asian studies and more than 20 years experience in performing and teaching the Bharatanatyam style of dance, Cooley is uniquely suited as an interpreter of Indian culture for Western audiences.

She and her husband, Sankaran Mahadevan, founded the Kala Nivedanam School of South Indian Dance and Music in Nashville in 1992.

The school’s mission is twofold: to provide professional-level instruction to all students who have a genuine interest in learning, and to promote an understanding of classical Indian art and culture in the wider Nashville community through public performances, educational presentations and collaborations with other arts institutions.

For more information about the school visit its web site at

The performance is a Center Stage event that is free and open to the public.