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Dhirana 2021

Raised toward our $5,500 Goal
45 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on December 21, at 11:59 PM EST
Project Owners

Dhirana 2021

What is Dhirana?

Dhirana is an intercollegiate Indian classical dance competition hosted annually by students of the University of Pittsburgh. This competition fosters an ancient and unique cultural tradition and donates all of its proceeds to the Birmingham Free Clinic–an organization that provides free medical care to underserved populations in Pittsburgh.

After placing first at Laasya 2011, Pitt Nrityamala earned the opportunity to host Laasya 2012 at their campus. The student’s enthusiasm and immense support from the community during Laasysa 2012 inspired Pitt Nrityamala to create Dhirana. Not only is Dhirana the first large-scale, student-run dance competition hosted by the University of Pittsburgh, it is also one of the only nationally recognized competitions featuring numerous Indian classical dance styles such as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Odissi.

Eight collegiate teams from across the country showcase their remarkable talents through different styles of Indian classical dance. World-renowned judges, committed to preserving this ancient art form, evaluate the teams on nritta - intricate footwork, mudras - hand gestures, abhinaya - facial expressions, and other aspects of the dance. Hundreds of spectators enjoy this phenomenal show and are immersed in a powerful storytelling experience.

Pitt welcomes you to join us on March 6th, 2021 for a virtual livestream of our ninth annual Indian classical dance competition, Dhirana 2021!

Mission Statement

To promote awareness of Indian classical dance, provide a platform for collegiate dancers to continue pursuing the art, and better the Pittsburgh community through philanthropy and service.

Birmingham Free Clinic

All ticket-sale proceeds from Dhirana 2021 will go directly to the Birmingham Free Clinic. The Birmingham Free Clinic Salvation Army Homeless Drop-In

Center serves uninsured and underinsured patients in the Pittsburgh community. The clinic strives to be an inclusive resource to all in the community; volunteer translators and medical personnel provide their services to patients throughout the week.

The clinic exclusively utilizes a volunteer group of health care providers. Services include primary and acute care, chronic disease management, physical exams, medication access and management, tuberculosis testing, influenza vaccines, health education, and on-site specialty consult services for cardiology, dermatology, vision, endocrinology, and pulmonary problems. In the past eight years, Dhirana has donated over $95,000 to the Birmingham Free Clinic.

We need your help!

The total cost of putting on the virtual show is $6,850. To reach our goal, we coordinate several fundraising events, sponsorship events, grants, and our EngagePitt campaign. It has always been Dhirana’s top priority to have 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales donated to the Birmingham Free Clinic. To help us maximize this amount, we appreciate any contribution to our cause! Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and in this virtual setting, your contribution will have a greater impact on the community. Also, our opportunities to do in- person has greatly been reduced, so we are more reliant on you, our donors, as we work to put up a show this year. 

We aim to raise $5,500 over the next two months in order to pay for various costs of the competition, such as the audio support, trophies, VIP & Judges gifts, t-shirts and shipping costs for the event. We greatly appreciate each and every donation as we prepare to host Dhirana 2021! Any funds raised past our cost for this year's show will be saved to host future Dhirana competitions. 

Your generosity will allow us to fund vital components needed to put on a successful show. For more information on Dhirana 2021, please visit our website Please feel free to email us at with any questions or inquiries you may have! Thank you for your support!


Contributions received for this project shall be used in accordance with the purpose described herein, the terms in the FAQs and applicable law. For questions that cannot be answered in the FAQs, please call 412-383-5001 or email

Choose a giving level



Alarippu is the first dance piece a Bharatnatyam dancer learns and performs. It is a dance which offers respect to God and the audience. This donation will be used to pay for prizes for the teams.



Pushpanjali is the opening dance in a performance. It is a salutation to the lord of dance Nataraja, the Guru (dance teacher), the musicians, and the audience. This donation will be used to pay for gifts for the teams.



Jatiswaram is the next dance in a performance after Pushpanjali. It is a technical dance that showcases the form of Bharatnatyam, without any accompanying verses. This donation will be used to pay for t-shirt printing.



Kouvtuam is a piece that combines technique and expression in praise of a God. This donation will be used to pay for trophies for the teams.



Thillana is an intense, rhythmic piece which is usually performed at the end of a dance performance. It is one of the hardest dances to master technique wise. This donation will be used to pay for event promotion.



Padams are pieces of reverence and expression during devotional religious prayer. The music that accompanies this dance tends to be more emotional. This donation will be used to pay for VIP & judges gifts and team & audience hospitality.



Varnams are the centerpiece of an arangetram (Bharatnatyam debut recital). These dances are performed to the most complex pieces of Carnatic music. This donation will be used to pay for the prize money.

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