top of page


Dakshina Palli, is  a not for profit , tax exempt cultural and educational organization. Dakshina is under the dynamic leadership of  Founding/Artistic Director Jaan R. Freeman.  Our Associate Artistic Director is Shanti PIllai. The organization was founded in 2004, whose mission is to preserve the Bharata Natyam lineage of Tanjavur Balasaraswati.

Dakshina Palli conducts classes, workshops and master classes representing the Balasaraswati samapradaya ( tradition). Mr. Freeman maintains the Dakshina would not only be a repository of the classical repertory but would showcase contemporary bharatanatyam creations (contemp-natyam).

In 2005 Dakshina formed the Dakshina Palli Dance Company. This company is made up of new generation practitioners who are trained and perform in the Balasaraswati lineage. The company conducts workshops and public performances.

In 2008 Mr. Jaan Freeman embarked on a solo tour in a program called Bharata Natyam ~for New Audiences (BNFNA). This is a series where Bharata Natyam is brought to new communities throughout the United States. The series mission is to showcase bharatanatyam and introduce new audiences to the repertory, music, mythology, stories and talams ( rhythms)   of this art form.

(BNFNA) is celebrating its 12th  season of building new audiences to the sacred dance of South India.


Balasaraswati was a seventh generation representative of a traditional matrilineal family of temple musicians and dancers (devadasis,[3] who traditionally enjoyed high social status), who have been described as the greatest single repository of the traditional performing arts of music and dance of the southern region of India [("Balasaraswati" by V.K. Narayana Menon)]. Her ancestor, Papammal, was a musician and dancer patronized in the mid-eighteenth century by the court of Thanjavur. Her grandmother, Vina Dhanammal (1867–1938), is considered by many to be the most influential musician of the early twentieth century. Her mother, Jayammal (1890–1967) was a singer who encouraged the training of Balasaraswati and was her accompanist.

Balasaraswati created a revolution in traditional music and dance for bharata natyam, a combination of the performance arts of music and dance. She learned music within the family from her infancy, and her rigorous training in dance was begun when she was four under the distinguished dance teacher K. Kandappan Pillai, a member of the famed Thanjavur Nattuvanar family.

JAAN R. FREEMAN ( Founding/Artistic Director)

Freeman formed Dakshina in 2004 in NYC as an organization which would preserve the Bharata Natyam lineage of T. Balasaraswati. Freeman beagn studying Bharata Natyam in NYC in 1995 under Kamala Cesar. In 1997 Freeman furthered  his training,  in India under his guru Smt. Nandini Ramani and in Montreal under Smt. Priyamvada Sankar, both senior disciples of Balasaraswati. Freeman had his bharata natyam arangetram in 2005 in NYC at the historical Henry Street Settlement Playhouse Theater.  Freeman has  been performing and learning this art for over two decades. He has performed throughout the United States in various private and public programs. He has performed for the Downtown Dance Festival, Ananda Ashram, 1199 Union Asian Heritage Celebration and was invited by Artistic Director of Dance Theater of Harlem ( Arthur Mitchell) to perform at the Open House for DTH. Freeman has conducted workshop in bharata natyam and master classes throughout the U.S.

Associate Artistic Director: Shanti Pillai

T. Balasaraswati

Jaan R. Freeman


Jaan & Shanti in Performance in Montreal during one of their guru's school celebration, Natyam 50

bottom of page