• Instagram - White Circle
  • Facebook - White Circle

At Chandralaya, we bring the classical Indian dance to Melbourne both in its purest and contemporary forms. We strive to nurture and develop the inherent artistic interests of each student, giving them a friendly environment to dance, express and be inspired...

To ENROL Contact:


Class venue: 21 Patterson Road,Bentleigh - 3204


Artistic Director

Deepa P Mani has distinguished herself as a talented and versatile dancer in both Classical Bharatanatyam and Contemporary dance. With thirty plus (30+) years of training and experience, Deepa is a consummate dancer with acclaimed performances in India, United States and Australia.

Deepa derives her roots from Chennai, India where she started her training in Bharatanatyam at the age of 6, under the tutelage of Kalaimamani Srimathi. Padmini Dorairajan. She is trained in the Pandanallur and Kalakshetra styles, graduating in 1998 with the title “Nritya Kala Ranjini”. Deepa has performed in acclaimed establishments in India including the National Dance Festival, Mamallapuram Dance Festival, Bharathiya Vidhya Bhavan and Tamil Sangam.

Deepa moved to United States in early 2000 and delivered several successful performances travelling widely within the country. Deepa diversified into the contemporary dance when she joined Tehreema Mitha Dance Company (TMDC),well known for its highly athletic and contemporary dance styles. As one of the lead dancers, Deepa performed in eminent productions including Metro DC Dance, Capitol Fringe and Alexandria Performing Arts, to name a few.

In 2008, Deepa moved to Melbourne to join her partner and continued her passion for dance under Dr. Chandrabhanu, renowned artist and performer in Australia and Order of Australia recipient in 2006. Deepa continued to perform in many shows and produced her first Melbourne solo show “Daya” under the Jamudvipa Productions and Chandrabhanu Bharatalaya Academy.

Some of Deepa’s acclaimed moments include the T.C. Parthasarathy award for best danseuse at the Spirit of Youth Dance Festival, Music Academy and the Chandrabhanu Bharatalaya Academy Excellence Award for her performance in Daya. Deepa holds a Diploma in Abhinaya Darpana (Dance Theory) from the Association of Bharatanatyam Artistes of India and has taught Bharatanatyam for several years in Chennai.



  • SwaRaRaga Festival, Langwarrin Performing Arts Centre, Melbourne  July 2019

  • Satrangi Festival SKGA Australia, Melbourne June  2019

  • International Women's Day, Australian Tamil Literary Arts Society, Melbourne 2019

  • Multicultural Harvest Festival, Valluvar Foundation & Australian Tamil Academy,Melbourne,  2019

  • RAW REFLECT  Artist Showcase , Melbourne,  2019

  • Indian Summer Festival , MCG, Melbourne 2018

  • 17th Diwali Fair, Australian Indian Innovations (AIII) Inc., Melbourne 2018

  • Hume Diwali Festival, Multicultural  Festival Group and Sahiba Productions, Melbourne 2018

  • Artscape Festival, The Modell Performing Arts Centre at the Lyric, Maryland 2013

  • Daya Jambudvipa & Chandrabhanu Bharatalaya Academy, Renaissance Theatre Melbourne 2011

  • Bharatalaya Dance show(s), Melbourne 2008-2010

  • Metro DC Dance Carter Barron Amphitheatre, 2008

  • Capitol Fringe Festival Shakespeare Theatre Company at Harman Centre, 2008

  • Artomatic Capitol Plaza, Washington DC, 2008

  • Asian Dance Festival Atlas Performing Arts Centre, DC, May 2008

  • Alexandria Performing Arts Association & Empowered Women International, Virginia 2008

  • Happening at the Harman, Harman Centre for Arts, Washington DC 2008

  • TMDC Performance Black Rock Centre for Arts, Washington DC 2007

  • Dance Place Washington DC 2007 (2-day show)

  • Capitol Fringe Festival, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Washington DC 2007 (4-day show)

  • An evening with TMDC Jack Guidone Theatre, Washington DC 2007 (2-day show)

  • 25th Annual Winter Dance Concert, The Theatre Malz, Washington DC, 2007

  • Atlas Performing Arts Centre, Washington DC 2006 (2-day show)

  • Metro DC Dance Awards Nominate Now! -Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Maryland 2006

  • Jack Guidone Theatre, Washington DC 2006 (2-day show)

  • Waddell Theatre, Northern Virginia 2005

  • Clarice Smith Performing Arts Centre, Dance Theatre 2005

  • Annual ceremony for Abinaya Natya Sala, Maryland 2004

  • Bharatanatyam recital, Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia 2002

  • Introduction to Bharatanatyam, New Mexico 2001

  • Bharatanatyam recital, Indian Association of Dance, New Mexico 2001

  • Golden Jubilee at Christian Medical College, India 2000

  • National Dance Festival, Mamallapuram, India 1998-2001

  • Spirit of Youth Festival, Music Academy, India 1999

  • Tamil Sangam Festival, India 1999-2001

  • Bharathiya Vidhya Bhavan Festival, India 1999

  • Bharatha Shakthi, Karthik Fine Arts, India 1998-1999

  • Bharatha Shakthi Premiere, Bharathiya Vidhya Bhavan, India 1998

  • Arangetram, Museum Theatre, India 1998

  • Annual Kalaanjali Festival, India 1996-2001



"Deepa Ponnappan, yet another bright, pleasing dancer with a calm, composed, and confident approach. Deepa exhibited a thorough training in her chosen tradition through the items which she presented in a neat manner. Deepa’s execution of the technical, as well as mimetic sections of the “varnam”, was appealing. Padmini Dorairajan takes credit for training Deepa Ponnappan, yet another bright, pleasing dancer with a calm, composed, and confident approach. At the Spirit of Youth Dance series of the Music Academy, Deepa exhibited thorough training in her chosen tradition through the items which she presented in a neat manner".!"

-Nandini Ramani, Dancer, Scholar and longtime Dance Critic,The Hindu


“Deepa Ponnappan focused on the fluid, southern style of Bharatanatyam. Because of Ponnappan’s great attention to detail, skill and beauty were embedded in every piece. The demonstration was a creative mixture of attributes and had all the properties of a physical and spiritual experience ”
- Daily Lobo, New Mexico


"Chandralaya joined our school on Multicultural Day leading a workshop for Year 4 & 6 students. Deepa engaged the students brilliantly providing a detailed explanation of the cultural background of the dance styles. Students observed a range of key movements and then had a go themselves with smiles on their faces as they immersed themselves into another culture. Deepa went above and beyond with coordinating the 45 min workshop even meeting with us a week earlier to discuss details. It was an authentic experience for all students exceeding our expectations for the day."

                                                       - Ryan Fede, St. Paul’s Primary Melbourne


"Deepa is an amazing dance teacher. Deepa shared the different Indian art forms and demonstrated the dances to 300 students during our Cultural Festival. Deep also conducted dance workshops and engaged all our students effectively. They love her workshops. Really easy to work with!' "

                                                    -Wai Ling Lee , Geelong Grammar, Toorak Campus



Dance Styles

Classical - Bharathanatyam

Bharathanatyam is poetry in motion. It is the traditional and stylised dance form hailing from the southern state in India - TamilNadu. One of the oldest of all classical dance forms, Bharatanatyam is highly known for its grace, purity, statuesque and sculpturesque poses. The dance form uses very intricate techniques requiring many years of practise to master. It brings every muscle in the body into use and is divided into two primary elements Nritta (body movements) and Nritya (expressions) forming what is known as Natya.


Contemporary Dance is a break from the traditional, extending and challenging the boundaries of the classical dance form. Contemporary dance encourages creativity, reflects our times and combines several kinds of forms from Bharatanatyam to Jazz to Ballet into music, imagery and fashion. The artist performing contemporary will typically be trained and skilled in one or more of the classical dance forms and will build on the vocabulary of movements and create their own style and purpose.

Classical / Contemporary - Bridging

 The Bridging form mostly uses pure Bharathanatyam techniques but presents the dances in a Contemporary format with modern visual vibes. These dances are known  as “bridging dances’.


Class Schedule & Attire


  • Beginners (5.5 -11 years)

    • Level 1 Kids​ (5.5-9 yrs)

    • Level 2 Kids (7-11 yrs)

    • Adults

  • Intermediate (12+ to Pre -Arangetram)

  • Advanced (Post Arangetram & beyond)



Available for intermediate and advanced students only



For intermediate and advanced students only ( as it requires a Classical  Art form as  a pre-requisite)

***TERM 1 2021 starts Jan 28th – Apr 2nd. Please contact Chandralaya or follow our Socials for exact timings for the above levels. 

Beginners and Intermediate kids will wear White Tunic top – half sleeves and black tights with a sash (dupatta) around their waist. During winter months, students are encouraged to wear black / dark blue long sleeves top under their tunic to keep them warm.

Intermediate students preparing for their graduation can transition into the advanced dance (Practice Saree) attire.

Advanced Students must wear the Practice saree costume with black tights.

All Students are requested to wear a simple black or red “Bhindi” for their classes. No accessories including watches and jewellery (except a simple earring -stud) are allowed. We encourage all students to neatly pin their hair to stop them from any distraction.



All training for Bharatanatyam students will begin with a warm-up and warm-down consisting of basic stretching and strengthening exercises.

Beginners will commence their training starting from “Adavus” which are basic units of Bharatanatyam. Students will continue to learn the stages of “Adavus” as well as basic repertoire items thereby strengthening the fundamentals.

Beginners will also spend time learning the theory of the art form which includes “Mudras” gestures and related vocabulary. The theory will help in better understanding the repertoire items through their learning journey.

Intermediate students will work on refining their fundamentals and move towards learning compositions. Students in this curriculum will focus mainly on balancing and mastering the Nritta (movements) and Nritya (expression) components. Theory will also be extended to this group to ensure students are well aware of the vocabulary.

Advanced students will continue to refine their skills by learning complex repertoire pieces and dive into the contemporary art form to experience a different artistic expression.

“Arangetram” or graduation is traditionally attained after 8-9 years of training. Chandralaya will work with students wanting to graduate and collaboratively develop a training plan to to ensure student is equipped with all techniques to attain graduation.

All students will get an opportunity to showcase their skills learnt during the year in the Chandralaya annual function which will be held every year.



Contact Us

Chandralaya School of Dance
 ABN: 47798953737

0466 616 330

Deepa Mani

21 Patterson Road, Bentleigh, Vic- 3204

If you have any questions?
Fill in the form and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Name *

Email *



© 2018 Chandralaya School of Dance. ABN: 47798953737

  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle