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Director "Parvati" Melissa Sproul-Singh

Melissa Ruth Sproul was given the name “Parvati” by her Guru, the late Shri Surendra Nath Jena, when she discovered Odissi Dance through his classes at Naropa Institute In Boulder, Colorado, during summer courses.

 Having studied Modern Dance, Hatha Yoga, Hinduism, and Buddhism Parvati Dancing Mangalacharan over the years at Paideia High School, in Atlanta, Georgia, and at Naropa Institute, in Boulder, Colorado, she met Guru Surendra Nath Jena at Naropa and felt an immediate sense of identity with his style of Indian Classical Dance. She then went to India to study the classical music and dance she had grown to love, and to become better acquainted with the rich cultural heritage of this land which so greatly fascinated her.

She joined daily private classes with her Guru at Triveni Kala Sangam. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations awarded a four year scholarship to her, which she again received in 1994 and '96 for advanced study. She returned in 1998-2000, 2005, and 2007 for further study. In 2008 and '09 she began study with Pratibha, Guruji's eldest daughter.

Parvati Melissa was fortunate to have spent time Parvati "Kiss" posein Orissa with the Jena family, and was deeply inspired by the magnificent temples. She  performed in Delhi, Orissa, Lucknow and Calcutta. She underwent “teachers training” with Guru Jena which included lessons In pakhawaj drumming, harmonium, singing, and dance theory.  Over the years she performed in Germany, Austria, and the U.S.A.

Parvati Melissa Sproul-Singh is carrying on Guru Surendra Nath Jena's style in America now. In 1985 she founded the Ganesh Academy of Indian Arts. Her goal is to promote the teaching of these arts by providing classes, concerts and workshops with her gurus from India.

Pt. Charanjit Chaturlal and his family visited the USA for a month each time in Sept. 2000, Feb. 2002, Sept. 2003, April 2004 and May/June, 2005. Her tabla Guruji taught tabla classes; his son Pranshu performed solo tabla; his wife Meeta taught Indian cooking with the help of their daughter Shruti.

Then, in 2008, Parvati Melissa organized a tour of dance performances and teaching for Guru Pratibha Jena Singh and accompanied her to 5 states. The 2009 tour planning is underway now.

Photo Above by: Northern India Patrika

Photo Right by: Avinash Pasricha

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