Utpalasia is the evolving vision of founders Cordula and Bhim Dahal whose shared love of Himalayan heritage, combined with the desire to preserve, protect, and promote the cultural arts, first led to the creation in 2007 of Nepal Dance School.
In 2015 Utpalasia was born, named by Cordula to reflect the ‘utpala’ or blue lotus associated with Manjusri, the god of wisdom.
Utpalasia is a unique teaching and performing organization dedicated to cross-cultural communication, diversity, and appreciation through interactive programs that highlight South and Southeast Asian dance, music, and traditional arts.
We have been pioneers in designing innovative presentations for public engagement at venues such as the Smithsonian Institution’s many diverse museums.
We invite you to share the Utpalasia experience through one of our dance classes, workshops and programs, or visit our boutique for rare vintage Himalaya and unique designer creations!
Programs & Performances
Smithsonian Freer & Sackler Galleries
Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Smithsonian Meyer Auditorium
Sri Siva Vishnu Temple
Embassy of India
George Mason University
Thomas Jefferson Theatre
Quantico United States Marine Corps Base
United States Army Bases
The National Guard
Virginia Department of Transportation
Fairfax and Prince William County Libraries
Richmond Zoo – The Arts are Wild
Commonwealth of Virginia Schools
Fairfax County Park Authority
India International School & Cultural Center
Nepali School of Washington D.C.
Young Audiences of Virginia, Arts for Learning
Fashion for the Cure
University of Mary Washington Multicultural Festival
Move Me Festival
Heritage India Festival
One Journey Festival
Alexandria Waterfront Festival
Dumfries Cultural Festival
Meet Our Faculty
Founder / Executive Director (Linkedin)
Cordula Sturm Dahal is a fearless German-Nepali-in-Training and addicted traveler. She believes chocolate is a basic food group, and treasures rectangular objects called books. Cordula’s religion is kindness. However, she also keeps track of all those karma missed for future reference, and although she trusts everyone implicitly, she still ties up her camel at night.
Co-Founder / Artistic Director (Linkedin)
Bhim (“Anil”) Dahal hails from a small village outside the Kathmandu Valley. Next to traveling to exotic locales with Cordula, he enjoys creating classic Himalayan recipes and playing his beloved sarangi and madal to the traditional rhythms of home. The Dahals live in the Washington DC Metro Area and each have 25+ years of professional dance experience.
Senior Choreographer / Dancer (Linkedin)
Tasherit Sturm Dahals’s artistry and originality, as well as her superior technical skills, have earned her the respect of the professional dance community. She is also our resident Certified Health and Wellness Coach. Tasherit is frequently seen being walked by her Goldendoodle, Coco. Check out her blog at: https://amindforchange.com/
Costume Designer / Wardrobe Advisor
Santoshi Dahal is our gifted and dynamic wardrobe designer whose detailed kurtas, elegant saris, authentic folk outfits, and colorful performance costumes are the delight of audiences, making her indispensable to Utpalasia (and to Cordula). Her artisan boutique is located in New Baneshwor, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Software Engineer / Media Archivist (Linkedin)
Tarik is our Great High Lama of Impossible Things, the resident grammar gestapo, and a programmer (not necessarily in that order.) A seasoned traveler, he is also an avid collector of exquisite fountain pens and iridescent inks. Tarik lives in San Francisco and spends his free time being taught tricks by his two (extremely large) Maine Coon cats, Pakal and Khety.
Digital Marketer / Composer / Artist (Linkedin)
By day Visaic works in SEO; at night he composes cutting edge cinematic electro music and Renaissance-style digital artwork. He is currently working on the soon to be released “Sins” album. He lives in San Francisco and can be reached via his site or his fine art and designer clothing shop where you will find his latest collection, “Wear Your Sins”.