Utpalasia Founders
Utpalasia Founders

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.

We inspire and empower your global awareness by experiencing the diverse traditions and arts from the rooftop of the world.

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.

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Kites of Asia Festival

We have been pioneers in designing innovative presentations for public engagement at venues such as the Smithsonian Institution’s many diverse museums.

Three dancers of Utpalasia in costume at an Asian cultural dance program.
Bhim Dahal, Tasherit and Cordula Sturm Dahal, are your guides to the traditional heritage of the Himalayas through dance and music.

I would like to wholeheartedly extend our thanks for your participation in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival…It was an honor to work with you…Your efforts have helped us to live up to the Smithsonian’s mission, which is the “increase and diffusion of knowledge.

Stephen Kidd, Acting Folklife Festival Director
Smithsonian Institution

We invite you to share the Utpalasia experience through one of our dance classes, workshops and programs, or visit our Etsy boutique for rare vintage Himalayan and unique designer creations!

Vintage Tibetan Lapis Dragon Cuff

Programs & Performances

Smithsonian Freer & Sackler Galleries
Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Smithsonian Meyer Auditorium
National Theatre
Sri Siva Vishnu Temple
Durga 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
Lorton Workhouse
Richmond Zoo – The Arts are Wild
Commonwealth of Virginia Schools
Fairfax County Park Authority
India School
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
Asian-Pacific Festival
Move Me Festival
Heritage India Festival
One Journey Festival
Alexandria Waterfront Festival
Dumfries Cultural Festival

Hampton History Museum

Meet Our Faculty

Cordula Sturm Dahal
Founder / Executive Director (LinkedIn)

Born in Germany, Cordula Sturm Dahal is a fearless multilingual world traveler and cultural heritage advisor. 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.

Bhim “Anil” Dahal
Co-Founder / Artistic Director (LinkedIn)

Bhim (“Anil”) Dahal hails from a small village near Nagarkot, outside of 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.

Tasherit Sturm Dahal
Senior Choreographer / Dancer (LinkedIn)

As an instructor and performer, Tasherit Sturm Dahal is well known for her artistry and superior technical skills. A Certified Health and Wellness Coach, she promotes fitness and good nutrition via her Instagram account. She is also the modeling ‘face’ of Utpalasia and a valuable asset in public program and digital marketing design.

Woman dressed in a kurta in a garden.
Santoshi Dahal
Costume Designer / Wardrobe Advisor

Santoshi Dahal is our gifted and dynamic wardrobe designer whose original and intricately 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 Kathmandu, Nepal.

Tarik Sturm
Photographer / Media Archivist (LinkedIn)

Tarik is Utpalasia’s Great High Lama of Impossible Things, the resident grammar gestapo and a devoted Lego and fountain pen collector. When not programming, you will find him traveling to exotic locales, capturing the natural world through stunning photographs. Tarik lives in San Francisco and spends his free time being taught tricks by his two (extremely large) Maine Coon cats, Pakal and Khety.

Portrait of Visaic in a grey coat.
Antar Sturm – Visaic™
Composer / Digital Artist (LinkedIn)

By day Visaic works as an SEO marketing specialist; at night he composes innovative cinematic electro music alongside Renaissance and Baroque-inspired award-winning digital art. Visit his shop to explore the unique Sins and Botanical Garden series and listen to his continuously evolving sound on all major music platforms. Visaic lives in San Francisco and can be reached via his site.