Silambam Phoenix is a non-profit organization, with the mission of promoting the performing arts through artistic education, presenting concerts by professional artists, and promoting young talent in the artistic field. Silambam Phoenix is also committed to utilizing its performances as opportunities to raise funds for advancing social issues.
The word Silambam in Tamil was referred to as Samu in Telugu in the Sangita Saramruta of King Tulaja of Tanjore (1729-1735) indicating the practice of dance. It is the name by which Bharatanatyam was known and the dance hall itself was called the 'Silamba Koodam' in the olden days.
Silambam is a unique dance school that was started by Srimathy Mohan on May 14, 2000, as an alliance of Shree Bharatalaya, a leading institution of fine arts in Chennai, India, with Professor Sudharani Raghupathy as the Founder Trustee, and the late Vidwan Madurai N. Krishnan as the director Trustee. Silambam Phoenix was registered as a non-profit arts organization in the state of Arizona in 2008 and obtained its 501(c)3 tax-exempt status in 2010.
Silambam uses the same structured and disciplined teaching in dance as followed at Shree Bharatalaya. The students are also taught the theory, as a means to understand the art better. The theory includes prayers and lore from Indian mythology, which provides much of the material depicted in Bharatanatyam. The students also learn to sing the dance items to ragam (melody) and talam (beat cycle), as well as the meaning of the songs. Senior students are taught nattuvangam (the art of wielding the cymbals for dance). With the students dance education in mind, visiting artistes are invited to conduct workshops and lecture demonstrations. The goal of Silambam is to not only make the young students good dancers, but also to mould them into cultured and artistic individuals who are confident, team players, and better citizens with high moral values. The teaching and learning ambience at Silambam is informal but the training is systematic and disciplined. The students are taught to pursue art for arts sake and develop into cultured individuals with an appreciation for arts.
Over the past ten years, Srimathy has trained several students at Silambam. Srimathy strongly believes in small class sizes and individual attention for every child. Silambam currently has 26 enthusiastic and energetic students. The infectious enthusiasm of the teacher, students and the parents of Silambam students has helped Srimathy and her students present several full length productions and Rangapraveshams in the valley.
In addition, Silambam Phoenix students have presented several short, high quality performances at local arts and temple functions. The teacher and the students are very proud of the patantharam, and are committed to continuing the traditional values and high standards handed down to them by Padmashri Professor Sudharani Raghupathy.