Sutradhar Institute of 
Dance & Related Arts 



The Sutradhar Institute of Dance and Related Arts (SIDRA) was established in 1988–one of the first Kuchipudi Academy in the U.S. Its founder and director, Nilimma Devi, achieved her vision of Kuchipudi classical dance not as an isolated art, but as a rich tapestry of interwoven art forms. Emblematic of Devi’s synergistic perspective is the Sanskrit word sutradhar, which means “thread-bearer”–the character in dance-drama who links the performer, performance and audience together.




The Sutradhar Institute introduces dance through a blend of yoga, creative writing, story-telling and music--all links in the chain of Kuchipudi aesthetics. This holistic approach to an ancient art form enhances its attractiveness to young people, allowing them to connect to dance from a deeper and more expressive core. SIDRA’s mission is to transcend cultural and gender barriers with re-imagined, innovative and cross-cultural choreographies of ancient Kuchipudi and to nurture and encourage dancers and artists to overcome language and cultural boundaries through dance.




The Sutradhar Institute brings talented, aspiring dancers to the stage. With each year, the Institute has increased its outreach in this culturally diverse tri-state area. It has reached over 15,000 people with free and affordable admission prices through such institutes as the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater and Sackler Gallery, Dance Place, the Strathmore Arts Center, Art Scape in Baltimore, the International Beads Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and others.