About Madhavi

Read an article on one of Madhavi's recent workshops! (p. 7)
From Temple to Bollywood

Madhavi Marcia Mai’s early training in modern dance was with Carol Halstead at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, and at the Alvin Ailey Dance Studio in New York City. After graduating from Oakland University, Madhavi served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Marrakech, Morocco, and then traveled to India. She began her training in Bharatanatyam at Tiveni Kala Sangam in New Delhi, but soon transferred to Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts in Chennai, an institution renowned for its rigorous and classical approach. Madhavi studied dance, dramatic theory, and carnatic vocal music at Kalakshetra from 1979 until 1984. With the guidance of master teachers Anandhi Ramachandran and Ambika Buch, she performed her arangetram—the traditional debut performance given by Bharatanatyam students upon completion of their studies—in 1984, in Chennai.

After returning to the United States, Madhavi furthered her studies by completing an M.A. in South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Michigan. Her research focused on the history of Bharatanatyam, particularly its revival in the early twentieth century and its subsequent discovery by the West. She has been the recipient of national grants and fellowships, and has performed in theaters, temples, colleges, schools, churches, and museums on several continents.

As the Artistic Director of Sadhana Dance Theater, Madhavi performs and choreographs with the ensemble and teaches all levels of students through Sadhana Studio. She is passionate about bringing both classical Bharatanatyam and contemporary pieces to a wide audience.

Madhavi is a Lecturer in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Music at Oakland University, where she has taught since 2001. She has been an IAM meditation teacher at the Amma Center of Michigan for many years. She has been a singer and songwriter most of her life, and often composes the music that she later records and choreographs.

With Guru Anandhi Ramachandran in Chennai
Performing in Chennai
With Guru Ambi Akka in Chennai