Esteem members of SDF selection committee 2017
Guru Smt. Radha
Smt. Rhadha is one of the foremost exponents of the Vazhuvoor tradition of Bharatanatyam. Dancing her way into the hearts of millions of people from the age of five, Smt. Rhadha has earned a definite place among the most accomplished Bharathanatyam dancers of India. An ideal combination of the Dancer, the Guru and the Choreographer, Guru Rhadha has won recognition and acclaim in all three capacities. As the star pupils of the renowned Natyacharya Vazhuvoor Shri Ramaiah Pillai, Guru Rhadha and her illustrious elder sister Smt. Kamala have performed together extensively in India and abroad.
Smt. Rhadha has choreographed and produced a number of critically acclaimed dance ballets such as Bhavaye Padmanabham, Nowka Charithram, Gita Mala, Valli Bharatham, Jaya Jaya Gokula Balam, Meenakshi Ammai Pillai Thamizh, Jaya Jaya Devi (composed by Lalgudi Sri G. Jayaraman) and Lakshmi Prabhavam (composed by Chitraveena Ravikiran) and Chinthaye Hari Haram staged recently at the Cleveland Aradhana in April 2012.
Pushpanjali, an instituition of Bharathanatyam, started by her in 1982 in Chennai, has produced scores of dancers, several of whom have won laurels for the institution and the Guru. Many of them have started dance schools of their own.
Guru Smt. Rhadha has been awarded several titles for her immense contribution to this art form. She was awarded the “Sangita Kala Acharya” by the Madras Music Academy in the year 2010. In addition she has received the titles “ Acharya Choodamani” from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha,
“Nrithya Kala Nipuna” from Mylapore Fine Arts Club,
“Kala Vipanchee” by Vipanchee Trust,
“Kalaimamani,” from the Government of Tamil Nadu,
“Nritya Kala Shironmani,” from Nungambakkam Cultural Academy,
“Nrithya Rathnakara” from the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Committee,
Excellence Awards from “Natyarangam”, the dance wing of Narada Gana Sabha, Saila Sudha and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan to name a few.
In 2005, the Government of India conferred on her the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for excellence in the field of Bharatanatyam.
Smt. Rhadha's career as a performer spans more than five decades. She still gives full fledged traditional solo recitals with much élan and grace, bringing out the essence of the Vazhuvoor style.
A celebrated artist and a star-performer, Geeta Chandran began learning Bharatanatyam from the tender age of 5 years under the tutelage of Smt. Swarna Saraswathy, who hailed from the traditional Thanjavoor dasi parampara. Subsequently, Geeta continued learning diverse aspects of the classical dance from a galaxy of eminent Gurus.
Today she is a renowned artist who has synthesised the knowledge she received from her Gurus to imprint Bharatanatyam with her personal vision of the dance. In her dance presentations Geeta Chandran skilfully weaves abstract notions of Joy, Beauty, Values, Aspirations, Myth and Spirituality.
A polymath artist, Geeta Chandran is celebrated not only for her deep and composite understanding of the art of Bharatanatyam, but also for her Carnatic music (she is a trained and accomplished vocalist), her work in television, video and film, theatre, choreography, dance education, dance activism and dance-issue journalism.
Geeta Chandran is Founder-President of her dance academy Natya-Vriksha in New Delhi. Natya Vriksha aims to make youth aware of the immense potential of Bharatanatyam to become a live voyage of learning. Through the dance, Geeta Chandran makes them comprehend the complex inter-linkages between the classical dance tradition and its strict grammar with other disciplines: Philosophy, Ritual, Religion, Myths, Ancient texts, Poetry, Literature, Art (Painting and Sculpture), Cultural Studies, Yoga, Handicrafts & Handlooms and Beauty & Aesthetics. Gender dynamics, gender equity and equality are integral to the pedagogy that Geeta has developed in her unique training module.
Geeta Chandran is also Artistic Director of the Natya Vriksha Dance Company, known for the high aesthetic quality of its group presentations that showcase Geeta’s metier as a choreographer.
A rare combination of being both a luminary and a visionary, Geeta Chandran is a widely respected role model for the young generation. She guides reputed national cultural institutions and prestigious universities as their Board member, and she also serves on the Advisory Boards of several reputed schools and colleges and on several Boards and Empanelment and other Committees of the Government of India.
An influential spokesperson for classical dance, Geeta Chandran is the author of SO MANY JOURNEYS, an intensely personal collection of her writings narrating her engagement with Bharatanatyam. She also writes an insightful dance column in The New Indian Express/Sunday Standard, and uses her unique spece on social media to promote issues relating to Indian performing arts.
Promoting Art in Education is her particular passion and she is committed to catalysing youth audiences everywhere on the values that classical dance brings to life and living.
In her effort to "en-dance the universe," she engages in a strategic range of dance-related activities: performing, teaching, conducting, singing, collaborating, organizing, writing and speaking to new youth audiences.
Geeta was awarded the prestigious national award -- Padma Shri -- by the President of India in 2007. She has also just been conferred the equally prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 2016-17. In July 2017, Geeta received the NIRBHAYA PURUSKAR for mainstreaming gender equality issues in her dance.
In 2014-2015, she marked the completion of four decades of dedication to classical dance, since her arangetram in 1974. 2016 marked the silver jubilee celebrations of Natya Vriksha.
A versatile Indian classical dancer, 'Natya Mayura' awardee, ParshwanathUpadhye has carved out a niche for himself today as one of the most sought-aftermale dancers in the country.
Winner of eight national awards, an empanelled artist of the ICCR (Indian Councilfor Cultural Relations) and an 'A grade' artist of the Bangalore Doordarshan Kendra, Parshwanath's prowess in the field of dance is manifold and extensive.
Currently along with his dancer wife Shruti Upadhye, Parshwanath choreographs,directs, produces and presents his work at national and international venues. He also conducts dance workshops and regular as well as advanced training classes in
Bharatnatyam under the banner of his dance school ‘ Upadhye School of Dance,Bangalore’ and ‘Punyah Dance Company’, Bangalore, India, besides working alongside many reputed dance companies in India and abroad.
After undergoing 15 years of rigorous training and practice in the traditional Mysore style of Bharathanatyam under the able guidance and tutelage of Guru Shri Ravindra Sharma of Belgaum, Parshwanath completed his Arangetram in the year 1996 and continued his sadhana with the Guru at Ravind Natya Niketan , Belgaum till the year 2002.
He completed his Visharad in Bharatnatyam from Gandharva University, Mumbai in 1993-94 followed by Alankaara in Bharatnatyam from the same University in the year 2000-2003. Parshwanath came out in flying colours in the Vidwath
Examination in Bharatnatyam conducted by Karnataka Secondary Education Board,Bangalore.
Parshwanath Upadhye continues his learning and exploring of the art form under internationally acclaimed dancer duo, Shri Kiran Subramanyam and Smt.Sandhya Kiran since 2002 at ‘Rasika Academy of performing Arts,’ Bangalore. He participated in the ‘Karanas’ Workshop conducted by the eminent dancer Guru Dr.Padma Subramanyam in 1996 at Mangalore. He also had the opportunity to explore Folk music and Dance in the festivals conducted by Bailhongal Janapada Sangha , Karnataka in 1994 -96.
Vyjayanthi Kashi is a creator and a visionary in this art who sees unity in diversity of all artistic endeavors. With a vision to promote artistic and professional excellence she established the Shambhavi School of Dance, a premier arts organization in 1993. For Vyjayanthi, theatre is the all-encompassing universal vehicle for her creative vision; it expresses life itself in the richness of all its myths and rituals.
Dancer par excellence Vyjayanthi Kashi’s career spans over an impressive spectrum of performance, choreography, teaching, acting, research and organizing. Her works has been featured in several National and International festivals round the globe in around 28 countries.
Started Shambhavi School of Dance – 1993 in Bangalore and trained many students in India and Abroad
Conducted thought provoking workshops, lecture demonstrations, and has presentated Papers in India, Germany, UK, Austria, Italy, Africa, Singapore, Egypt, Tunisia, Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Israel ,USA, South Africa, Botswana,Canada.
Shama Krishna, hailing from Bangalore, is one of the foremost classical dancers of India. She has been trained in both Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dance styles and has given several performances in India and abroad. She began learning Bharathanatyam at a very young age from Guru Kalamandalam Smt Usha Datar and further received training from many senior Gurus like Guru Smt Narmada. She has been trained in Kuchipudi by Guru Smt Veena Murthy Vijay. She runs her own institution SHRADDHA DANCE CENTER, in Bangalore and has to her credit more than 150 students. She is an empanelled artist with ICCR and has received the national level scholarship from the Human Resource Department, Govt of India. She holds a Masters degree in Bharathanatyam from Sastra University, Tanjore and an A grade artist of Bangalore Doordarshan Kendra. She has been conferred with the Yuva Prathibha Award from BCKA last year.
Shama's quest for knowledge and dedication led her to Guru Smt. Sundari Santhanam, a direct disciple of Dr. Padma Subramanyam for an intense training in Karanas from the Natya Shastra. Shama has evolved as a consummate dancer by enhancing her dancing skills through workshops conducted by esteemed Gurus
Sharmila Mukerjee is the founder and artistic director of Sanjali Centre for Odissi Dance in Bangalore which was established in 2004.
After completing her schooling in Loreto House, and graduating from Presidency College, Kolkata, Sharmila followed her one and only passion- dance. Initiated into the Uday Shankar style of dance,Sharmila, at the young age of sixteen played the main role of Chandalika in Tagore’s dance drama “Chandalika” during the poet’s birth anniversary celebrations in Calcutta, and caught the attention of the critics who wrote about her inborn grace and amazing stage presence.
Thereafter, Sharmila started learning Odissi under the tutelage of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra from 1984 in Kolkata. Rigorous , intensive training in Odissi continued at her Guru’s residence in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra himself accompanied Sharmila on the mardala for her Rangapravesh in 1988, and thereafter, Sharmila started performing Odissi as a solo artist and in some productions directed by Guruji.She also took lessons in Abhinay from Smt.Kalanidhi Narayan and attended workshops conducted by late Smt.Sanjukta Panigrahi.
Sharmila initially taught Odissi at Calcutta School of Music and also looked after the administration of that institute for a year, as Secretary of Indian Music Section.She has worked very closely with hearing impaired children as she taught dance and movement therapy at The Oral School for Deaf Children, Kolkata and choreographed and directed many productions with these children, the most notable among them , being “Ramayan” a full length dance drama in which more than 50 hearing impaired children participated.After moving to Bangalore, she also taught dance at the Sheila Kothwala Institute for the Deaf and for a few years .In the year 2000, she won a scholarship to the University of Michigan( Ann Arbor) for a period of 3 months where she trained in dance movement and composition.She also did intensive workshops learning dance movement and how to work with hearing impaired children, at the British Council Calcutta, under the guidance of visiting faculty members form Laban Centre, U.K
A Grade A artist of Doordarshan and an Established artist of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Sharmila has performed at various prestigious festivals and conferences in India and abroad in countries like Fiji, Malaysia, Australia , New Zealand, Italy, U.S.A, Indonesia and U.A.E . A Singar Mani from the Sur Singar Samsad( Mumbai), Sharmila was recently conferred with the prestigious Mahari 2016 award from the Guru Pankaj Charan Das Foundation ( Orissa) for her contribution to Odissi dance, and also the BCKA Kalasreshtha Award from the Bangalore Club for Kathakali and the Arts in Bangalore.
Sharmila is also a choreographer and has created many dance pieces and directed a number of productions in Odissi.
Having made Bangalore home now, Sharmila established the Sanjali Centre for Odissi Dance in 2004,when she moved there from Kolkata and continues to spread this dance form through her teaching and performances, to many students in the city , and outside Bangalore, and also to foreign students who come for training at Sanjali , Bangalore. Many students have done their rangapravesh under the guidance of Sharmila who has made a name for herself as one of the pioneers of Odissi in South India. Sanjali has opened various branches all over Bangalore , and many of Sharmila’s senior students are solo performers and help her to run her classes and teach independently themselves.
Young talented Madhulita Mohapatra has carved a niche as one of the leading Odissi exponents in south India. She is admired & applauded by the connoisseurs & critics alike, for her profound artistry and her innate abhinaya quality. A graded artiste of Doordarshan (India’s national broadcaster) & recipient of the prestigious BCKA Yuva Kala Pratibha award, Madhulita Mohapatra has performed at several prestigious events across the country, like International Odissi Dance Festival, Konark Dance & Music Festival, Mukteswar Festival, Odissi International, rangTARANG National Choreography Festival, Bengaluru International Arts Festival, Mysore Dussera Festival, Prayaya Festival, KALA NADAM, Kinkini Nrithyotsava, Ananya Samarpana,Nadaneerjanam, among others. She is selflessly devoted to the promotion & popularisation of Odissi dance through her institution, Nrityantar, by performing, teaching and nurturing finest talents. Nrityantar Dance Ensemble is one of the most sought after classical dance troupes from Karnataka and is invited by all major art festivals.
Nandini Mehta is the daughter of Smt. Manorama Mehta who hails from the Ambale family in Mysore and Sri. K.C. Mehta, senior Advocate of Bangalore. Nandini was born in Mysore and studied in Bangalore. She is an an established danseuse proficient in the fields Kathak and Bharatanatyam, Nandini received her initial training in Bharatanatyam under renowned gurus Smt. Chandrabhaga Devi and Prof. US Krishna Rao and later pursued her training under Guru Smt. Narmada & Guru Smt. Bhanumati. Her passion for dance attracted her to train in Kathak.
She had the good fortune to come under the tutelage of Guru Smt. Maya Rao and Smt. Chitra Venugopal of NATYA Institute of Kathak and Choreography (NIKC) Bangalore. She pursued her training in Kathak from Gurus Kumudini Lakhia, Maulik Shah and Ishira Parikh, Ahmedabad. Nandini holds a degree in Choreography from NIKC. Nandini has also received formal training in Karnatic music from her mother Smt. Manorama Mehta. She is well versed with the various folk forms of India. Dance has taken Nandini to perform extensively in India, USA,Canada, France, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Thailand , Cambodia,Middle-East etc.
She is the recipient of the central government fellowship in Kathak for the years 2000-2002. She has also been a soft skill trainer and a French lecturer in various colleges in Bangalore. She is the co-founder-director of NADAM, an academy of dance and music based in Bangalore. She imparts training in Kathak to aspiring students from India and abroad.
Awards & Titles
1)"GUNA-NIDHI" ,for contribution to Kathak, by Gunagrahi magazine, Bengaluru ,2005
2) SRISHTI AWARD for contributionto dance- 2006
3) KALA-ARATHI RATNA by Arathi School of India Dance, Phoenix, USA- 2006
4) SWAR -KALA GAURAV -2008 - Saraswathi Sangeetha Vidyalaya, Bengaluru
5) "NATYASRI" , Vishakapatnam -2009
6) “NRITYA - NIPUNA” - Karnataka Nrityakala Parishath,2010
7) INTERNATIONAL WOMAN,S DAY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR DANCE by Garden City College,Bengaluru-2011
8) SHAKUNTHALA PRASHASTHI ,Inspiration Award for contribution to Kathak Bengaluru,2015