Although this project has concluded, if you would still like to make a donation to support Dhirana, you may always do so here.

Dhirana 2023

Raised toward our $8,000 Goal
43 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on January 02, at 11:59 PM EST
Project Owners

Dhirana 2023

What is Dhirana?

Dhirana is an intercollegiate Indian classical dance competition hosted annually by students of the University of Pittsburgh. The 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, Nrityamala earned the opportunity to host Laasya 2012 at their campus. The students’ enthusiasm and immense support from the community during Laasysa 2012 inspired Nrityamala to create Dhirana. Not only is Dhirana the first large-scale, student-run dance competition hosted by students at the University of Pittsburgh, but 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.

We hope you will join us on April 8th, 2023 for our 11th annual Indian classical dance competition held in our new venue: the August Wilson African American Cultural Center!

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 2023 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; volunteer translators and medical personnel provide their services to patients throughout the week.

The clinic exclusively utilizes a volunteer group of healthcare 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 ten years, Dhirana has donated over $105,000 to the Birmingham Free Clinic.

We Need Your Help!

The total cost of putting on the show is $22,023. 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! We really need your support to make our event happen and contribute well to the Birmingham Free Clinic.  

We aim to raise $8,000 for Dhirana through EngagePitt over the next two months to pay for various costs of the competition, such as the judges’ gifts, program printing, event promotion, team hospitality, trophies and prize money, lighting and sound, and our beautiful venue, the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. Any funds raised beyond our cost for this year's show will be saved to host future Dhirana competitions as all ticket sales go directly to the Birmingham Free Clinic. 

Our final request is that you also take a minute to spread the word to your family and friends. We can’t make this show happen without the support of our dear community. 

For more information on Dhirana 2023, please visit our website, or follow our Dhirana Facebook Page or Instagram: @dhirana.pgh. Feel free to email us at with any questions or inquiries you may have as well! A huge thank you in advance 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 412-648-4658 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 the judges' gifts.



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 program printing.



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 event promotion.



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



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 trophies and prize money.



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 lighting and sound.



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 August Wilson African American Cultural Center venue.

Our Crowdfunding Groups