Asha Bala is a performer, scholar, and instructor of the South Indian classical dance Bharatanatyam in North Carolina. Known as “Aunty” by her students, Bala practices a personalized approach to assist student’s individual needs.
Asha Bala was born in Mumbai in 1952 and was there when she first encountered Bharatanatyam during an era of national cultural revitalization in a newly independent India. She started learning Bharatanatyam when she was very young, and was taught by her mother and her grandmother. Bala says that growing up her family didn't have television or computers, so dancing was her entertainment.
Still living in Mumbai, she attended university where she received an MFA in in classical dance. She attended the Nalanda Nritya Kala Maha Vidyalaya, a preforming arts college, and studied under Dr. Kanak Rele and Soundararajan, earning her BFA and MFA. After moving to the United States, she attended American University and received a Masters in Modern Dance, studying under Naima Prevots 
When Bala was still living in Mumbai, after finishing her first degree, she established her first dance school called Nritya Shala where she taught Bharatanatyam. After she graduated from American University in D.C., she moved to North Carolina to teach modern dance in the Cumberland County School system. She taught her students many dances, including Bharatanatyam. After working there, she went on to teach at Fayetteville State University, the India Foundation, and the Leela School of Dance in Cary, N.C. She maintains private dance studios in Fayetteville and Cary.
Awards and Recognition
She also won the 2018 North Carolina Heritage Award.
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