About Us


Indian Folk and Bollywood Dance

                   Mrs. Vichitra Nayyar, Founder

                 Mrs. Vichitra Nayyar, Founder

The Chitrahar Cultural Academy – a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization – is dedicated to promoting South Asian culture and diversity, and facilitating cross-cultural understanding through the performing arts.

Proudly continuing the legacy of founder Vichitra Nayyar, the Chitrahar Cultural Academy is dedicated to promoting South Asian culture and awareness -- and facilitating cross-cultural understanding -- to strengthen our communities through the performing arts. 

While teaching lively dance classes -- rich with cultural heritage and information on South Asian languages, music and movement -- we help our young students express themselves with confidence and respect, and navigate their exploration of cultural identity in a safe, fun environment.

Bringing our own mix of stage, TV, radio, and public speaking experience to our dance sessions for adults and children, we encourage a multi-disciplinary approach to dance, offering Indian Bollywood, semi-classical, Bhangra and other Folk dance classes, at the Menomonee Club and the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. 

Click here to enroll in dance classes.

Our performances have been featured in the media on WGN-9, ABC-7, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times -- as well as TV Asia, India Tribune and India Abroad. We've performed at Chicago's Navy Pier, the Chicago Cultural Center, and at countless events and festivals around town. Chitrahar has also taught at schools across the Chicago area, including the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Oak Park-River Forest High School, and Vernon Hills High School.

In years past, the Chitrahar has sponsored performing artists from the subcontinent – locally hosting the Midwest's first South Asian American TV show, and presenting musical, dance and theatrical programs with artists from Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey, to Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, to Jagjit Singh, Shabana Azmi and countless others. We covered local, national and international government officials (who often participated in Chitrahar's hosted discussions), including President Reagan, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Mayor Richard M. Daley, Governor Jim Edgar, Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, and local South Asian community leaders.

Corporate and non-profit leaders regularly attended our programs, where we honored outstanding members of the South Asian diaspora, including Kalpana Chawla, Sanjay Gupta, and Indra Nooyi, as well as local youth trendsetters and innovative business leaders from all communities.

From 1984 - 2006 we held the community's largest annual showcases of South Asian culture: the Chitrahar Night gala. This inclusive presentation of South Asian music, food, fashion, and dance brought together youth, performers, families, cultural organizations, community leaders, elected officials, honorees, activists and artists like no other event - to celebrate our collective accomplishments.