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Choreography Fellowship

About The NCDA Choreography Fellowship
The North Carolina Dance Alliance grants the annual NCDA Choreography Fellowship to North Carolina choreographers to support the creation and performance of new work. Through this fellowship, we aim to promote the professionalism and legacy of dance in our state. Fellowship recipients receive a stipend of up to $1,000 to cover the cost of a new work, from inception to premiere performance.  We award one fellowship per year.

How to apply:

The application deadline for the 2016 NCDA Choreography Fellowship is  MARCH 25, 2016.  Access the online application here.

If you have any questions regarding the NCDA Choreography Fellowship contact us.


About the 2015 NCDA Choreography Fellow ~ Ramya Kapadia ~

About the the 2015 Fellowship Work:

“Ganesha – Remover of Obstacles” explores the various manifestations of the Elephant God, Ganesha through the Bharatanatyam genre. Bharatanatyam is a 3000 year old classical dance form of South India that draws from temple iconography and ancient mythology. Carnatic music (classical music from South India) accompanies Bhararatnatyam.

In this piece, Ramya depicts Ganesha as having an elephant’s head with large ears, small eyes and a large round belly, holding a goad, a noose, a broken tusk and a bowl of sweets in his four hands. While this depiction is largely rooted in Hindu philosophy and myth, the symbolism of this form is highly contemporary and relevant to the journey of one’s life in the quest for single-mindedness, knowledge, unity and ultimately peace.

The composition, “Sri Mahaganapatiravatumam”, is in a 7/8 meter. Through the NCDA fellowship, Ramya has worked with renowned Carnatic violinist, Embar Kannan to create an introductory passage that will lead into the main song. Together with Kasi Aysola, a young choreographer in DC, she has composed cross-rhythmic patterns to overlay on the introductory passage as well as on the main song. The entire song has been recorded in Ramya’s voice at Coral Studios, Durham and all the instruments have been recorded at Resound India, Chennai, India. Ramya is indebted to research scholar Gayathri Sundaresan, with whose help she has gained a deep understanding of the Bharatanatyam genre, the traditions that it originated from and its cultural and social contexts in today’s world. She also thanks Anuj Kapadia (Engineer at Coral Studios), Sai Shravanam (Engineer at Resound India) and the NCDA for their support in creating this work.


Ramya KapadiaRamya Kapadia (née Sundaresan), was initiated into Bharatanatyam by Smt. Shantha Gopinath from Kalakshetra at the age of 12. Since 2003, she has been studying under Guru Kripa Baskaran of the Natyarpana Dance Company, Milwaukee, USA. And tours all over the USA as part of Natyarpana’s Performing Troupe to present solo and group productions, workshops and lecture demonstrations in universities and high schools.

Besides being a Bharatanatyam dancer, Ramya is also an accomplished vocalist in her own right. She was initiated into Carnatic music at the age of 3 by her mother, Smt. Gayathri Sundaresan, and later received advanced training from Sri V. Vamanan in Mumbai.

During her undergraduate years in Mumbai, Ramya was a lead singer in a number of world music bands, singing both Indian classical and Western styles with equal flair. She has several commercial jingles and classical concerts to her credit. She has lent her voice to commercial movies such as “Kaho na Pyaar Hai”, “Love in Times Square” and the Tamil-Telugu bilingual film “180”.

Ramya has scored the music for the dance productions Abhijnyāna Shākuntalam, Ponnolir Bhāratam & Chandālikā directed by Dr. Jayashree Rajagopalan and has toured all over India with her troupe for over ten years. She leads the orchestral team for the Natyarpana Dance Company and also scores music for its productions. Ramya was an instructor for Indian Classical Music in the Division of Continuing Studies, UW-Madison and has been actively involved in promoting Indian Classical music and dance in the United States. She is a much sought-after vocalist and has toured all over the world to provide vocal accompaniment to  Bharatanatyam dance performances.

Ramya has had five years of theater experience and has been featured in The Secret Garden, a University Theater musical, Bhopal and Madison Repertory Theater’s Our Town. She recently wrote, directed and choreographed “Sitayana”, Aum Sadgurubhyo Namaha”, “I am Spanda”  and “Krishnakarnaamritam”, all Bharatanatyam dance theater productions that have played successfully in several venues through the US. She was was free-lance journalist for the Capital City Hues and was on the editorial board for two years.

Currently, she runs the Natyarpana School of Dance and Music in Durham, NC and trains students both in Carnatic voice and Bharatanatyam. The students are given intensive training in dance and music theory and performance techniques. She recently formed the Spand Dance Company along with Smt. Hasita Oza (Kathak) in order to explore modern dance, yoga and various Indian Classical dance forms. Ramya works closely with the Duke Dance Department and the Durham Arts Council to foster a vibrant and creative cultural environment in the Triangle.

Ramya is extremely grateful to have received the 2015 Choreographic Fellowship from the NCDA.

Awards & Achievements:

Ramya was the recipient of the Emerging Artists Grant from the Durham Arts Council in 2009.

She has also served on 2 Emerging Artist Award panels and will be on the Season Grant Panel this year.

She received the North Carolina Dance Alliance Choreographic Fellowship for 2015-2016.

A biomedical engineer from Mumbai, Ramya has received her Master’s degrees in Medical Physics and Neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Previous recipients of the NCDA Choreography Fellowship include:

2014: Justin Tornow

2013 : Sherone Price

2012 : Natalie Marrone

2011 : Renay Aumiller

2010 : Autumn Mist Belk

2009 : Cara Hagan

2008 : Lauren Kearns

2007 : Talani Torres

2006 : Joan Nicholas-Walker