Ritu Mukherjee founded the Nrityangan Cultural Academy in Charlotte in 2001. Nrityangan provides classical Kathak and modern Bollywood training for students age 5 through adults in individual trainings and group classes. For students studying kathak, their years of training and hard work culminate in a Rang Manch Pravesh, or a graduation ceremony highlighting their skills through the performance of complex classical works. Nrityangan is affiliated with Pracheen Kala Kendra, an organization based in Indian that promotes, preserves, and disseminates Indian classical arts. Kendra offers an examination system and awards certificates and diplomas for classical dance, music, and visual arts.
Mukherjee hopes to introduce classical Indian dance to people from other cultural backgrounds and her students actively perform in the public schools, senior centers, and in local festivals. They dance in the popular Festival of India, which occupies much of uptown Charlotte every year in October, and in events such as the Big Fat Indian Wedding, held for the first time in Charlotte this May. Student talents are showcased in Nrityangan’s annual recital and fundraiser, which brings together over a hundred dancers, working together to tell a story.
Nrityangan is a large and prominent example of an estimated 350 dance studios in Charlotte in which artists teach various classical Indian dance styles. These studios serve the local Indian community in Charlotte and welcome students from any cultural background.