Arts Academy Policies and Student Handbook
Silambam Houston is a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt arts organization and a premier Indian classical arts school in the Houston area, with classes offered in Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, and Carnatic music (vocal and violin). Silambam aims not only to impart arts education, but also to turn out well-rounded, artistically sensitive and culturally refined individuals. Students receive a holistic education, which includes firm grounding in arts theory and cultural history, basic Indian classical music instruction, fitness and body conditioning, and rigorous fundamental training and technique refinement. Much emphasis is placed on mental and physical discipline, and on the importance of practice, passion, dedication, and perseverance. Senior dance students and graduates of Silambam Houston Arts Academy are eligible to audition for the Silambam Houston Dance Company, a professional dance company that regularly creates and performs original productions at high-profile venues and events throughout Houston.
Attendance: Attendance at every class is compulsory, except in the case of extenuating circumstances (this does not include birthday parties, weddings, or play dates!). Your musician or dancer will progress fastest when classes are attended with regularity.
Make-up lessons: If absence is foreseen but unavoidable, please call ahead to inform the teacher. Classes missed due to illness or extenuating circumstances only can be made up if informed in advance, at a mutually convenient time. Missed classes should be made up within a month.
Punctuality: At Silambam, we teach the importance of punctuality. Please come to class ON TIME, preferably five minutes ahead of time. Each class will begin and end on time.
Attendance at Performances: Observing good dancing is an integral part of your dancer’s education. Please make every effort to attend as many performances by local and visiting artistes as possible. Attendance is mandatory at one performance in the Fall and one performance in the Spring semesters. A brief written report, signed by a performance organizer, participant, or Silambam instructor present at the performance, must be turned in for each performance attended. A list of performances to choose from will be supplied at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters. Failure to attend may result in the student being barred from the Annual Recital.
Proper attire: Every dance student must wear black ankle-length stretch tights, comfortable enough to dance in, and a cotton, short-sleeved (no long or puff-sleeves) kurta/kameez. A cotton (not synthetic material) dupatta/angavastram must be brought to tie around the waist. Older students must wear a dance saree tied over a salwar or black tights. Please wear a bindi unless you have religious/cultural reasons not to.
Hair: Loose hair (short or long) bothers and distracts the dancer; hair must be pulled back neatly from the face, short hair pinned back, long hair in a ponytail or braid. Bangs, if any, must be pinned back.
Practices: Every student is required to practice at least two times a week, 30 minutes each. A log of practices must be kept, noting the date and duration of practice and adavus/items practiced. This must be brought to each class.
Binder: All students are given a 3-ring binder upon registration, and are required to bring this to each class. Practice log sheets, class notes, homework assignments, research papers, performance reports, and reading material must be filed in this binder.
Observing classes: Parents are requested not to sit in on classes, as this is typically distracting to the students and to the instructor. Parents may watch the class through the viewing windows in the studio, and may request to sit in on one class every two to three months; this should be arranged in advance.
Website: The Silambam website contains information on arts academy policies and class schedules, other Silambam programs, and upcoming cultural events in Houston. The web address is www.silambamhouston.org
Class notes and resources: Class notes, audio recordings, dance theory notes, etc. can be found on the Student Portal. Please contact your teacher for access to this resource, which is available to registered students only.
Recital: We typically present a student showcase biannually. Parents are also invited to watch their children perform at the annual Navratri/Dussehra open house; see below.
Open House: Every year during Navratri/Dussehra, an annual open house will be held. Parents, family and friends are welcome to this event. This is your opportunity to see your dancer’s progress, as well as interact with the teachers. This will be during class time on Friday October 19, and Saturday October 20, 2018.
Performance Policy: Students who have reached the Advanced 1 level will receive their salangai (bells) and will be trained to perform at a group event called the salangai pujai. However, to conform to established standards, the time to arangetram (solo stage debut) will be at least 7-8 years, and will depend on the ability and quality of the student. Arangetram-track and post-arangetram students will be offered various performing opportunities at cultural events through the year. If you want quick results and/or frequent performing opportunities during the learning stages, this is not the right school!
Curriculum: Silambam follows a comprehensive syllabus, for each artistic discipline offered. Please refer to the Arts Academy page for more details.
Tuition: Tuition may be paid via recurring automatic monthly payments, or in a single annual payment. Recurring payments will be processed on the 5th of each month. Any changes or cancellations to recurring payments must be communicated by the 20th of the previous month. The fee structure is as follows:
Registration Fee: An annual registration fee of $25 is due on registration each year; this covers administrative expenses.
Tuition: Our tuition is based on an eleven-month dance year. Students who pay annually receive a discount. A 5% family discount is also available. All students must be registered with Silambam and have paid the annual registration fee of $25. We are not set up for drop-in and pay-by-the-lesson students. Please use the calculator on the right to estimate your monthly or annual tuition.
Important dates for 2018-2019 Arts Year
August 10, 2018 First day of classes
August 31/September 1, 2018 Classes held as usual (Labor Day weekend)
October 19/20, 2018 Navratri/Vijayadasami Open House
November 23/24, 2018 Thanksgiving weekend; no classes (potential makeup days)
December 21/22, 2018 Winter break; no classes
December 28/29, 2018 Winter break; no classes (potential makeup days)
March 15/16, 2019 Spring break; no classes (potential makeup days)
May 24/25, 2019 Classes held as usual (Memorial Day Weekend)
June 21/22, 2019 Last weekend of classes
June 23, 2019 Student Showcase
Practice Kurta Order Form
Silambam students may order simple, plain cotton kurtas ($15 each) by submitting measurements here.