Anita Menon

Phone: 503.705.2169         Email:


  • Founder & Artistic Director - Anjali School of Dance, Portland, OR.
    • Founded this company with the singular vision of increasing awareness of Indian classical dance as a refined storytelling medium to audiences around the world.
    • Produced, managed, created and directed full scale productions with over 100 participants with accountability for all finances, administration, choreography, marketing, and sales.
    • Significant experience in total event management for over 2000+ performances for fundraisers, community building and educational events.
    • Demonstrated Track Record of Collaborating with diverse Minority Communities - over 24 years of working with children of immigrants, parents & families through art and culture.

  • Award winning Artist with over 24 years of programming excellence.
    • First Asian American and first Woman Of Color in the State of Oregon to be the Recipient of the prestigious Regional Arts and Culture Council’s Performing Arts Fellowship Award in 2014.
    • Recipient of several other awards - Artist Fellow, Portland Area Musical Theatre Awards, Drammy, Oregon Folklife Network.

  • Extensive service on Arts Councils & their grants panels for over 8 years
    • Cultural Coalition of Washington County, Hillsboro Arts and Culture Council, Regional Arts and Culture Council of Oregon and Arts Council of Placer County.
    • Served on Equity Committee, Grants Committee & Chair of the Leadership Development Committee (Regional Arts & Culture Council).

  • Currently serving on the Boards of “Arts Council of Placer County” and “Northwest Children’s Theater & School”.

  • Experienced Presenter, Keynote Speaker and Evangelist for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at conferences nationwide.

  • Strong history of giving back to the community through volunteer work, free workshops and non-profit board participation.

  • Masters in Business Administration from Portland State University.

  • Recently relocated to Sacramento area with the intent to plant roots and make deep connections to the diverse artistic communities in the area.

  • California Arts Council grant review panelist

1995 - 2017, Founder & Former Artistic Director of Anjali School of Dance

  • Built a dance school from the ground up by offering innovative choreography and unique productions that adapted an ancient dance form to make it relevant to today’s youth.
    • Created a unique program that focused on engendering a strong love for dance through culture, stories of strong women role models and innovative choreography never before attempted in the world of classical Indian dance.
    • Choreographies - 10 major productions and 2000+ solo and group dances including fundraisers and community building events. Sample video available here.
    • Created and developed original music and concept work - 50+ solo and group dances.
    • Responsible for becoming the premier Indian Dance studio in the area with highest retention rates.
    • Produced and directed full-scale stage productions for a cast size of 50+.
    • Supervised teams of staff, artists, musicians, designers, volunteers, stage hands, auditorium technicians and Box office agents.
    • Prepared and maintained budgets.
    • Developed marketing, promotional and fundraising campaigns.
    • Recruited, trained, supervised and directed 15 dance instructors and student teachers at three locations.

  • Connected with artists, community leaders and business owners in the following minority communities:
    • Native American
    • Mexican
    • Brazilian
    • Irish
    • Ghanaian
    • Indian
    • Polish
    • Cambodian
    • Japanese
    • Muslim Educational Trust

  • Designed and implemented arts-related curriculum and lessons tailored for Teaching Residencies in public and private schools, actively engaging learners while educating on proper artistic methodologies.

  • Organized & curated a free Dance Festival featuring over 50+ performers.

Bridging Artistic Communities

  • History of developing, choreographing and co-directing world premier productions in collaboration with Mainstream Theaters with the goal of creating multi-disciplinary arts experiences that eliminate stereotypes while giving voice to cultural communities about the nuance of identity and intercultural collaboration.

    • Responsible for developing three world premier productions with 30+ shows each.

    • Watch the promo videos, read the reviews and audience comments for The Jungle Book and Chitra: The Girl Prince

    • Sold out shows and the best ticket sales in the Theater’s history.

    • Audience reach of 15,000+ for the run of each show.

    • Invited to return to NWCT to develop, co-direct and choreograph, Tenali: The Royal Trickster - opening April 2019.

    • Cross cultural collaborative work - brought together teams of artists in India and America to work together.

    • Supported and uplifted local Indian American community businesses by advertising and including their services to mainstream theater audiences.

    • Other productions that bridge cultures with over 50 cast members include:
      • A midsummer night’s dream - 2012 - Shakespeare’s play through dance - a collaboration with 6 local dance schools featuring 10+ dance styles (including Indian Classical, Folk, Hiphop, Ballet, Jazz and Tap)
      • Murder on the Ganges - 2014 - a unique adaptation of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery “Death on the Nile” featuring the rich, diverse and cultural heritage of cities along the Ganges River.

Artist Recognition/Awards:

  • 2018 - Special Portland Area Musical Theater Award for Outstanding collaborative effort with Northwest Children’s Theater

  • 2018 - Three Drammy nominations (including Outstanding Choreographer) for the production “Chitra: The Girl Prince”.

  • 2016 - Recipient of the Oregon Folklife Network “Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program” Award and the title “Master Artist”.

  • 2016 - Recipient of Oregon Arts Commission Professional Development Grant.

  • 2015 - Four Portland Area Musical Theater Awards nominations for the production “The Jungle Book”.

  • 2014 - Honored by Washington County Commissioners at City Hall for being first RACC Fellow from the County.

  • 2014 - Regional Arts and Culture Council’s Performing Artist Fellowship Award - First Woman of Color, First Asian American and First artist from entire County to receive this honor. Watch the ceremony and acceptance speech video here.

  • 2012 - 2014 - 3 time RACC grant awardee (2 Project Grants and 1 Professional Development grant).

  • August 2009 - India Cultural Association's award in recognition for dedicated service and total commitment to the promoting and and teaching of Indian arts and culture.


  • May 2017 - One Theater World - Berkeley, California - Led a breakout session titled “Utopia: Integrating Racial Diversity into your programs”.

  • October 2016 - StateraCon - Boulder, Colorado - Led a breakout session titled “Developing new audiences through cross cultural relationships” at a Women in Theater Conference.

  • October 2016 - Seismic Shifts - Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR - Presented at Consortium of Asian American Theater Artists (CAATA) Conference and Festival.

  • 2016 & 2017 - Art Of Leadership Program (RACC) - Presentation to Non-Profit Board members in training about the artistic collaboration with Northwest Children’s Theater which led to systemic change in NWCT’s outlook on Equity

  • August 2015 - “In the Garden of Artistic Delight” - Fundraiser event by RACC.

  • March 2015 - Keynote Speaker - Cultural Coalition of Washington County Grants Celebration.

  • February 2015 - State of the Arts - City Council - Presented to Portland City Commissioners - the deep impact of dollars spent on arts and artists.

Board Experience:

September 2018 - Current, Board member Arts Council of Placer County:

  • Chair of the Grants Program whose charter it is to support the region’s vital arts and culture community through grants.
  • Review applications and recommend organizations and artists for grants funding.
  • Creating and leading free grants workshops to help organizations write strong grant applications.
  • Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on the Board and grant applications received.

2015 - Current, Board member Northwest Children’s Theater:

  • Member of the Equity Committee.
  • Developed the Organization Equity Statement.
  • Worked on the systemic changes needed in the audition process to make it more inclusive of diverse children with varied backgrounds.
  • Collaborating with Artistic Director to bring about systemic changes in the creative process, programming and hiring of minority actors of color.
  • Strategized with the Marketing team in reaching minority communities through different channels.
  • Introduced NWCT artists to artists from various immigrant communities.

2016 - 2018, Board member Regional Arts & Culture Council:

  • Chair of the Leadership Development Committee, in charge of finding future board members.
  • Member of the Grants Committee, working with other members to read grant applications to fund individuals and organizations at various funding levels.
  • Member of Equity Committee & Subcommittee.
  • Researched the equity work done by other organizations that are leaders in equity to understand, study and bring to the table some models of equity work.
  • Advocated for and passed resolution to fund organizations that do equity work.
  • Worked on helping RACC put their goal of equity first (through programs and grants).

Other Board/Arts council Experience

  • January 2013 - December 2015 - Board member of the Hillsboro Arts and Culture Council (HACC).
  • January 2010 - December 2015 - Board member of the Cultural Coalition of Washington County (CCWC).

Community Connections

  • Community Leader and respected member of the Indian American Community.

  • Cultural Ambassador for Indian Dance, music and culture.

  • Deep connections to dancers & artists nationwide.

  • Developing connections to artists in Placer County thru volunteer work on ACPC.

  • Volunteer at local arts councils and arts events.

  • Teaching residencies/ lecture demonstrations at local schools.


  • 1998 - MBA - Portland State University.

  • 1993 - BA English - University of Madras, India.