We offer Performing Arts classes for children enrolled in the Bala Vihar program.

You have to be registered in Bala Vihar to be able to participate in Arts & Language curriculum. All class related questions should be addressed directly to the teacher or the class coordinator. Overall questions should be addressed to the Performing Arts Coordinator at PerformingArts@chinmayam.org.

Class Timings

Saturday 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm

The minimum grade level for children to enroll in Carnatic Vocal is KG.

Class Description

This is a generic class description for both the Saturday and Sunday classes. The teachers will modify the content and instructions based on the proficiency levels of the individual students.

Basic Level:
  • Musical Components: Carnatic music involves two primary components: “raga” (musical notes) and “tala” (rhythm).
  • Ragas: These are musical notes and modes in which a song progresses, based on the 7 swaras of Carnatic music: Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da, Ni.
  • Raga Components: Aarohanam (ascending notes) and Avrohanam (descending notes) define the structure of ragas.
  • Ragas: Carnatic ragas are known for their relaxing and soothing qualities.
  • Tala: refers to the rhythmic framework or time cycle within which the music is performed. It provides a structured pattern of beats musicians follow while singing or playing instruments.
  • Unique Talas: Carnatic music features 7 unique talas that contribute to the music’s enjoyment.
Common Lessons for Beginners:

The following elements form the fundamentals of Carnatic music for beginners because they provide a structured and progressive approach to learning the essential concepts of melody, rhythm, and musical expression.

  • Sarali Varisai
  • Janti Varisai
  • Mel Staayi Varisai
  • Dhaatu Varisai
  • Alankaara
  • Geethams
  • Swarajithis
Intermediate Level:

Varnams: Emphasize the understanding and recognition of different ragas within the music.

  • Basic Krithis: Structured compositions in South Indian classical music consisting of pallavi, anupallavi, charanams, and samashti charanam.
  • Basic Keerthanas: Devotional compositions that focus on devotion to God, known for their meaningful content and importance in Carnatic music.

Teachers: Krithika Swaminathan (Saturdays) and Nandini Duraiswamy (Sundays)

Krithika Swaminathan had her training under the guidance of a renowned Carnatic musician Kalaimamani Sri Vairamangalam S. Lakshminarayanan for 10 years. Krithika ji has been conducting basic and intermediate-level music classes for kids of different age groups for over 12 years in Clarksburg, North Potomac, and Gaithersburg areas. She has performed small concerts at wedding receptions and temples in India and is deeply interested in creating a passion for music in young minds. She also teaches bhajans on many Gods at the end of every class including devotional songs on Lord Muruga like Thirupugazh.

Nandini Duraiswamy has been teaching Introductory Carnatic Music for many years at Chinmayam. She learnt Bhajans and Abhangs from her gurus Sri Kovai Jayaraman (Chennai), Sri Raman Shankar (Mumbai), and Sri Gurunathan (GSS, California) for 5-6 years, and has since performed at many musical programs with family and friends.

Class Timings

Saturday 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm

The minimum grade level for children to enroll in Kuchipudi Dance is 1st Grade.

Class Description

The early stages of training involve learning the basic terminology, Slokas, basic Hastas, basic Jathis, etc.These elements are the continuous building blocks for the next stage. Then the student also starts with simple solo items before they proceed to the intermediate stage to learn items with Abhinaya. Many students pursue advanced training including Tarangam (traditional for Kuchipudi).

Teacher: Subha Maruvada

Subha Maruvada is the founder and artistic director of Pranava Natyam. As an accomplished artist, she has a unique distinction of celebrated excellence in two classical dance techniques of South India -Bharatanatyam under the legend Smt. Kamala Narayan (alias Kamala Laxman) and Kuchipudi under the legend Padma Bhushan Guru Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam. Her dance is marked by fluidity and grace. She has taken numerous roles in Kuchipudi Ballets and toured with Guru Padma Bhushan Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam in several cities within North America, Canada and India. She has received numerous recognitions, awards, and titles. She was also trained under Kala Ratna Vempati Ravi Shankar. She is certified in Yoga which she incorporates into her Kuchipudi training. Her teaching methodology is imparted in Guru-Sishya Parampara style as was taught to her by her Guru, Padmabhushan Vempati Chinna Satyam. It is her lifetime ambition to further propagate the Kuchipudi dance style through performances, workshops, lecture demonstrations, and training. She has been teaching at Chinmaya Mission Washington DC chapter since 2009.

Class Timings

Saturday 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm

The minimum grade level for children to enroll in Tabla class is KG.

Class Description

Class instructions will vary depending on the individual student’s proficiency with the Tabla.


Beginning students will get an introduction to Tabla and its use in Hindustani classical music. The early stages focus on teaching them fundamentals and basic notes. The class typically begins with an overview of the instrument itself, including its structure, parts, and how it produces sound. Rhythmic exercises are then introduced to help students develop their sense of timing and rhythm. These exercises often start with simple patterns and gradually progress to more complex rhythms as students become more comfortable with the instrument.


The Intermediate stage involves students continuing upon the foundation established in beginner classes. Students delve into more complex rhythmic patterns and Taals, exploring variations and embellishments to enhance their playing. Emphasis is placed on developing speed, precision, and dynamics and refining techniques for nuanced expression. Students also delve into the intricacies of improvisation, learning how to spontaneously create rhythmic phrases within the framework of traditional compositions. Through guided practice and collaborative exercises, students continue to expand their repertoire and musical vocabulary, preparing them for more advanced levels of Tabla performance.

Teachers: Sriram Sastry (Saturdays) and Sujay Dighe (Sundays)

Sriram Sastry is a rising sophomore at Winston Churchill High School. He has been learning Tabla for seven years under the guidance of his Guru, Sujay Dighe. He has experience playing on stage and at concerts and has been playing for the past three years during the Saturday session common time. He is well-versed in basic and intermediate Tabla and is excited to teach the instrument’s basics.

Sujay Dighe was trained under the guidance of his father, Kishore Dighe and Pt. Samir
Chatterjee. He has performed across the East Coast, most recently at the Rubin Museum in New York City. Sujay is a product of Chinmaya’s youth seva; he began volunteering his time teaching Tabla at the age of 15 and has not looked back since. Sujay currently teaches Tabla across the DMV.

Class Timings
Saturday 12:00 to 1:00 pm

The minimum grade level for children to enroll in Veena Instrumental class is 1st Grade.


The early stages of training involve learning the right way to hold and pluck the instrument, the right posture, and coordination between both hands. Once the students are comfortable with this step, they can learn to play basic Swaras (Varisaigal) and Talas. Background knowledge of Carnatic music (either vocal or instrumental) is not required but highly recommended prior to taking this class. The purpose of this class is to introduce students to the instrument and to Carnatic music.

Teacher: Shobana Narayanaswamy

Shobana Narayanaswamy has had her training under the guidance of Smt Leela Rai and Dr Srivinasa Rao for over 10 years in Hyderabad, India. She has performed in small venues and temples in India as well as participated in various programs in the DC metro area. She enjoys working with young children and is interested in introducing them to the Veena.

Class Timing

Saturday 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm

The minimum grade level for children to enroll in Chinmayi Rasa is KG.

Class Description

This class was introduced in 2018 with the blessings of our Swami Dheerananda ji. Rasa means essence or taste, and Chinmayi means blissful, happy and also another name of Lord Ganesh. With that the class teaches different types of arts to students including painting, bhajans in different languages, play-acting, Raas-Garba, and crafts.

Teacher: Prabha Maruvada

Prabha Maruvada, started as a Bala Vihar teacher, prior to teaching Chinmayi Rasa. Having a solid background in Carnatic music for over 30 years. She has sung in numerous performances of Thyagaraja Aradhanas, Swati Tirunaal, Annamacharya, and Telugu Associations. Prabha-ji has been deeply involved in spreading Indian fine arts and culture in the U.S. by supporting and organizing programs since the
early 80’s. Many dramas were choreographed and played by children and adults at the cultural associations. She served many fine societies of Classical Arts like SRUTI, Kalakendra, Ragamala etc. and many more. She has been organizing the Sri Annamacharya festival in SSVT since 2014.

Registration: All participants are required to be registered independently of Bala Vihar classes and specifically for arts/language classes and the registration fees are due in full before participation in the respective classes.

When the registration forms along with the fees are submitted before the deadline, first priority will be given to the returning students and then to the Bala Vihar children.  After the classes are full, the remaining students will be placed on a waiting list and admitted on the basis of seat availability, first come first served basis. If the spots are open and the teachers are willing, the adults can also register for the arts classes.  If the adults do have an open spot to register, the adults who are forming a parent/child team will be given the first preference… because learning and fun can then be fostered even at home.

The parents are not allowed to join their children during the class unless they are registered themselves. The final decision is left to the teacher’s discretion. Youth teachers can only teach Bala Vihar children and adults cannot register in the classes taught by them. Youth teachers can only teach Bala Vihar children and adults cannot register in the classes taught by them. Classes may be cancelled if there is insufficient number of students or for other unforeseen difficulties.

If you are not a member, please register to become a member. There’s programs & activities for everyone in the family, to gain the wisdom of Vedanta and the practical means for spiritual growth and happiness!