Company: Dhirana Academy of Classical Dance
Location: Bentonville, Arkansas, United States
Megha P. Rao, Director at Dhirana Academy of Classical Dance, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Artists for dedication, achievements, and leadership in dance instruction and performance.
With 15 years of experience to her credit, Ms. Rao has excelled as a self-employed artist, choreographer, teacher and performer of the 2000-year-old classical Indian dance style of Bharatanatyam, in which she has trained students through the Dhirana Academy of Classical Dance in Bentonville, Arkansas since 2008. Performing alongside her students in different venues across the Midwestern United States, she offers lessons to students from the age of four and above, having been driven by the happiness and pride in her student’s eyes after a successful performance. Advocating for the mainstream media recognition and respect for Bharatanatyam, Ms. Rao notably exhibited her dancing skills through her production of “Baala: Tale of Kanha.”
Before embarking on her professional path, Ms. Rao pursued an education at St. Philomena’s College, from which she earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism in 2007. She subsequently concluded her studies at Bangalore University, graduating with a Master of Arts in Bharatanatyam. Not one to be dissuaded by the lack of opportunities for Bharatanatyam dancers, she has proudly developed and cultivated the audience within her community to build an interest in the art form, including establishing an annual event known as Pradashana for her students as well as building productions in the art form for emotionally unstable students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attributing her success to her hard work, the support of society, and the experience and exposure provided by her teachers and parents, Ms. Rao was proudly presented with the 2003 Cultural Award from the Indiana Medical Association, the 2006 Aryabhatta Award from Aryabhatta Cultural Organizations, the 2015 Excellence in Entertainment for Stage Performances Award from the NWA Tamil Community and the 2023 Natyarani Shantala Award in India, among other recognitions.
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