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The Devaniya Crew

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Founder and Creative Director

Devaniya, the founder school of Dakshin Gharana of Kathak, is founded & headed by Jigyasa Giri in this bastion of Bharatanatyam. It stands as the first school of Kathak in Chennai and until very recently the ONLY school of Kathak in Chennai. Jigyasa has trained under the tutelage of Late Guru Natyashri Krishna Kumar Dharwar in the Banaras Gharana of Kathak. She has also trained under late Guru Dr. Maya Rao of the Lucknow Gharana.

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Research and Production Coordinator

Motivated and balanced - Avani has trained in Kathak for 8 years and has been a student, teacher and core team performer at Devaniya. She has completed her masters degree in International Political Economy from the Nanyang Technology University, Singapore.

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Instructor, Admin & Music Co-ordinator and core team dancer

Over the 15 years of her evolution at Devaniya, Swetha has emerged as a multifaceted and integral part of the dance school in her roles as student, teacher, performer, and administrator.
Beyond her versatile artistic contributions, Swetha plays a vital role in the administrative operations at Devaniya. She adeptly manages social media, creating engaging content that highlights the school's activities and achievements. Her skills in video and audio editing ensure that Devaniya's performances are captured and presented with the highest quality.
Her commitment to Devaniya as the founder school of the Dakshin Gharana of Kathak is a testament to her deep connection with the dance form.


Shankari S

Instructor, choreographer and core team dance

Shankari is a seasoned Bharatnatyam and Kathak dancer, performer, and teacher based in Chennai. She holds certifications in the Pandanallur, Thanjavur and Vazhavoor styles of Bharatanatyam, earned from the Music College - Chennai, under the tutelage of Smt. Dhanasundari. Additionally, she completed her Nattuvangam training (teacher training) under Smt. Chitra Subramani. 
Her journey into Kathak began at Devaniya, the founder school of the Dakshin Gharana of Kathak in Chennai. Under the guidance of Guru Jigyasa Giri, Shankari has flourished as a Kathak student, performer, teacher and assistant choreographer, embracing this dance form as a pivotal and enriching experience in her artistic career.

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Avani Maroo

Content writer, Research and Core team dancer

Avani nurtures a deep passion for Kathak and has trained at Devaniya for the past 14 years. She is a graduate in Mathematics and Computer Science from Ashoka University and is currently seeking to pursue a Masters degree in Artificial Intelligence. Avani aspires to seamlessly intertwine her academic pursuits with a commitment to continue learning Kathak at Devaniya and contributing to its growth in various ways.

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Lighting and Set designer

Victor Paul Raj

Victor Paulraj is Lighting & Sets designer based out of Chennai. He consults on the stage design for auditoriums and performance spaces. He is the founder of Studio7, a light and sound equipment rental company. Victor’s journey started when he was 13, where he assisted his father, James Paulraj. His father used to manage the Egmore Museum Theatre in Chennai and made sets for productions in-house and those that happened across the city. Victor is passionate about weaving-in lights beautifully into the performances and enhancing the aesthetics of the sets through creative solutions in set design. 

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Marketing, PR and core team dancer

Priya is a senior student and a member of the Core Performance Team at Devaniya. She has been with Devaniya for 10 years. In addition to her performance role, Priya manages Marketing and PR for Devaniya. She is also an accomplished entrepreneur and runs her own business house.

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