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“Everything in the universe has Rhythm. 

Everything  D A N C E S...


Shiva Tala Institute Studio Address

232 Inman Ave. Colonia, NJ 


Artistic Director

Gayathri Higashide






Shiva Tala Institute of Bharatanatyam was founded in 2009 by the danseuse and artistic director Gayathri Higashide in order to promote the enchanting and ancient south Indian classical performing art form: Bharatanatyam. The school is structured to nurture discipline, creativity and confidence while perfecting all elements of Bharatanatyam. Classes are taught in Kalakshetra style of Bharatanatyam with the incorporating relevant technical touches of other classical dance forms such as Kuchupudi, Kathak and Ballet. Shiva Tala's performances are set to vibrant and intricate classical carnatic, hindustani music and tracks that intelligently and intimately combine the classical instruments of India with instruments from all over the world. 

Bharatanatyam is a major genre of Indian classical dance and it's theoretical foundations can be traced to the ancient Sanskrit text Natya Shastra from the 2nd century CE.Bharatanatyam is a highly sophisticated Indian classical performing art form characterized by intricate footwork, expressive movements of the hands and face, rhythmic intensity, swift turns and elegant stances. Wearing rows of small brass bells on each ankle, the dancer alternates between recitation, footwork, fixed compositions, improvisation and interpretive narration of mythical legends and spiritual ideas from the vedas. 





"An interplay of structure and ingenuity leads to success.."



  • Classes:

    • 8 classes a month on average for (beginners 2 and up) 1 Level class, 1 Group class each week. 

    • 4- 5 classes a month for Beginners 1

  •  lessons:

    • Theoretical: Slokas, Mudra Hasthas, Vinoyogas, Bedhas, Mandalas, Abhinaya theory, Syllable recitation, and Talas. 

      • Advance: History of Bharatanatyam, , note-taking techniques, Rasas, Talas, Advanced mandalas, Nayaki/Nayaka Bhavas, a study of Natya Shashtra & Rasas. 

    • Practical: Thorough & comprehensive instruction of steps, stretches, bharatanatyam exercises, poses & stances, jumps, balance techniques, jathis & entire margam of dances. 

  • Structure & Practice

    • A yearly syllabus tailored for each class. 

    • Bi-monthly evaluations and comments, 

    • Weekly practice logs to track practice and progress

    • An Online Log-In ID with access to Bharatanatyam resources to aid with practices and study. 

    • Yearly cumulative review and practical and theoretical exam. 



"You don't have to be great to start but you have to start to be great!"            


  •  Volunteer Opportunities:

    • Students Intermediate 2 levels and above are given opportunities to teach and choreograph with the head teachers and are appreciated with awards and certificates for their hard work. 

  • performance

    • Yearly annual performance filled with dance items, productions, and demonstrations.(After a 6 months-year of beginners 1 training at least) 
    • Performances at different festivals and temples
    • Performances at competitions for classes that meet competitive standards and ages. 
  • Annual awards ceremony 

    • Certificates encouraging each student's strengths and achievements. 
    • Performance trophies, student of the year awards, class of the awards, and special recognition. 
  • interactive lessons

    • Partner work/ Group work
    • One on one training & leadership practice
    • Group projects - Intermediate 2 and up
    • Encouraging healthy competition in class with stamina increasing games and review contests. 
    • Positive reinforcements with  praises and awards such as stickers & prizes in class. 



     "Art is the support system of Life" 

                  Shiva Tala Institute Staff: 

founder & Artistic Drector:

Gayathri Higashide



Beg & Int  Head Instructor

Neela Arunprasath


Admin/ CoordinatioN

 Anuroopa Ramesh

Costume design/dist/  Make-up

  Poornima Kumar

  Prabha Attavane

Gayathri Muthukrishnan



Guru Gayathri Higashide is the founder and artistic director, a seasoned professional performer as well established Indian classical arts director in the tri-state area. Gayathri is a renowned exponent of Bharatanatyam. She in known for her abilities to skillfully combine tradition with innovation, classicism with creativity and thoroughness with flexibility. She is also known for the way she approaches students with a knowledge of the subtle and psychological framework of a child.  Upon completing her arangetram in 2003 under the guidance of Padma Thiagaram and the famed Dhananjayans, she has performed in India and all over the U.S. through sponsored performances under the guidance of Shri. J Suryanarayana Murthy. Apart from being a dancer herself, she has received distinction and received much acclaim for being an excellent nattuvangamist, choreographer, and artistic director in the field of Bharatanatyam. In the past two years, on top of staging the regular margam of dances, she organized and directed the production "Ramayana" which was  bharatanatyam dance drama set to Japanese classical music and “Akshar Sanatana." which was set to scintillating tunes and rhythms from all over India. Both productions were received by standing ovation and much appreciation by critics that came to watch from all over the U.S. In the past five years, Gayathri has taken on the challenge of sending her students to renowned tri-state competitions in which they have consistently won in the first three places for each category. Last year, Shiva Tala students won the Outstanding Dance school award in the IAF festival in both Classical and Non-classical (folk) categories, the highest awards attainable. 





Ms. Neela was under the guidance and tutelage of Guru Chandra Alexander in Madurai, has completed eight years of study in Bharatanatyam and has a total of fifteen years of experience performing and teaching this challenging and elaborate art-form. She has performed all over southern Tamil Nadu in various temples and universities. She has been part of the Bharatanatyam and folk dance choreographing team in the Delaware and Arlington, VA tamil Sangams. Ms. Neela has been part of Shiva Tala Institute for the past 2.5 years and has contributed her alluring choreography in many of the much appreciated and award winning dances such as: Adinaye Kanna, Ranjani Mala, and Ananda Natamidum Paadan to name a few and dance dramas Ramayana and "Akshar Sanatana". Ms. Neela is known for her patience, grace and affection while teaching  her students and regarded highly by all of her students and staff. 



Shiva Tala Institute's assistant teachers are: Nicole Sinanan, Hiral Jani, Akshi Dhawan and Charitha Aineri who are all outstanding students and budding artists in the field of Bharatanatyam with seven plus years of completed with honors.


Shiva Tala also has a group of talented, enthusiastic, and committed volunteer students to aid junior students with practice and study.             Our head volunteer students are:

  • Instruction: Lavanya Attavane, Shruthi Rajaraman, Krishna Anil, Darshwana Arunprasath, Vritika Patel,  Akshara Ramesh, Mallesha Archary and our youngest volunteer: Nalini Arunprasath. 

  • Coordination/Staging/Media: Soundarya Nattuva, Akshi Dhawan, Sukanya Kumar. 

A special thanks to all our hard working volunteer parents, our show coordinator Amy Savla, and our volunteer Poornema Ramasundaram for her outstanding make up skills.