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Esteem members of SDF selection committee 2019




Kiran Subramanyam

Kiran Subramanyam

Geeta Chandran

Geeta Chandran

Nandini Mehta

Nandini Mehta

Sharmila Mukerjee

Sharmila Mukerjee

Parshwanath Upadhya

Parshwanath Upadhya

Shama Krishna

Shama Krishna



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Guru Kiran Subramanyam

Kiran Subramanyam - a name that is synonymous with intelligence, ambition, passion and Bharathanatyam.........


Born into a family that encouraged cultural values, it only seemed natural that Kiran would be a fine artiste himself. Honed in the art of Bharathanatyam, one of the most classical forms of Indian  dance, Kiran's passion for the art form, as years went by, knew only one direction-forward. Then came the tough decision - of taking dance more seriously than just a hobby. Not willing to tread the beaten track, Kiran did what very few men were willing to do twenty five years ago-become a professional classical dancer.


His intelligence, intense passion and steadfast commitment saw Kiran growing steadily in this line. Kiran's performances have enthralled scores of audiences all over the world. Among several performances in India and abroad, the one worthy of special mention is Kiran's lead role opposite silver screen's dream girl Hemamalini, in her dance productions performed the world over. Kiran's choreographic works have been lauded for their creative excellence. Coveted awards and titles now bear his name. He recently received the title of “Bharatanatya Prapurusha’ from the Rangashri Kala Samsthe in collaboration with Department of Kannada and Culture and “NRITYA NIPUNA” by the Karnataka Nritya Kala Parishath for his contribution to the field of Bharatanatyam.

He also conceptualized and conducted the extremely popular dance based show - “HEJJE MELE HEJJE”, which is being aired on Kasturi Channel. And his institution for dance, RASIKA, has made a mark as one of its kind. Today, Kiran dances along with his wife Sandhya and together they have created waves in the dance circles across the globe.


Kiran is particularly lauded for his dramatic and off beat choreographies and has been invited by several dance companies to participate in collaborative work. He has also taken up diverse commissioned projects in India and abroad and seen them to fruition. Kiran’s innate affinity to rhythm makes his work dramatic, vibrant and dynamic. Needless to say, his choreographies are greatly appreciated by connoisseurs and common audiences alike.


Kiran and Sandhya completed 25 years of dancing in the year 2010 and were honoured in a special felicitation programme “Bhava Sankramana” by ANANYA. The couple has also been featured in 2011’s edition of Attendance- India’s yearbook on Dance by noted Art historian Ashish Khokar. The Kirans were awarded the title “NRITYA NIPUNA” by the Karnataka Nritya Kala Parishath for their contribution to the field of Bharatanatyam. Sri Kiran Subramanyam recently received the ‘NATYANJALI  PRASHASTHI’ for his contributions to the field of Bharatanayam by Sri Natyanjali Academy, Mangalore.


Most recently, Kiran and Sandhya have been awarded the KARNATAKA KALASHREE title, by the Karnataka Sangeetha Nritya Academy, Government of Karnataka for the year 2014, in recognition of their enormous contribution to the Arts.


Not content on resting on laurels earned Kiran looks ahead to a more enriching relationship with dance. Dance, to him today, is not just a medium of entertainment-it is a method of communication, of bonding and of creating new dimensions to living and learning.

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.



PAVITRA KRISHNA BHAT,One of the most distinguished disciple of the renowned Bharatanatyam exponent Guru Shri Deepak Mazumdar took his initial training from Kalanjali under Kumari Vasantha.

To carve a niche for oneself in the world of dance , Pavitra is one of those artists who has constently impressed by making  a mark. He is one of the most sparling gems amongst the younger generation of dancers

“Clarity and geometry marked this slim dancer’s movements , while his footwork was powerful” said the Hindu.  Termed as an effortless dancer with precise movement , Pavitra has been appreciated for his pure dance and sensitive abhinaya by critics , connoisseurs and peers.

As an recognistion and appreciation Pavitra has won some acclodes which are worth mentioning :

  • SHANMUKHA SANGEETHA SHIROMANI – Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha (Mumbai)-2018

  • KALA RATNA AWARD – CLEVELAND Tyagaraja Aradhana –USA

  • ‘A GRADE ‘ from Doordarshan (National Network)

  • Aarsha Kala Choodamani Title conferred by Shri Dayaananda Saraswati ji in Pensylvania (USA)

  • Acharya Vishwanath Dev Sharma Talent search Award by Vedic Heritage, New York

  • Title ‘Singar Mani’ ,Title ‘Nalanda Nritya Nipoona’ and ‘Yuva Kala Bharathi’

  • Lakshmi Vishwanathan Endowment Award for Abhinaya by Krishna Gana Sabha ,Chennai

  • Youth for Nation Award 2013

  • A.T.Govindarajan Pillai Award for the Best Bharatanatyam Dancer from Mumbai University.

  • PANDIT BHIMSEN JOSHI AWARD – Gadag (Karnataka)- 2014

  • Has been chosen for the prestigious Shri Narasimhachari Vasanthalakshmi Endowment Talent Promotion Award by Naradha Gana  Sabha, Chennai  to be awarded in August 2019.

  • He has the privilege to participate in many nationaldance festivals like The Madras Music Academy, Naradha Gana Sabha , Khajuraho Festival ,Swami Haridas Sammelan , Sangeet Natak Academy , Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra ‘Purush’ , Konark Festival , NCPA, Sir JJ School of Arts, Lanjorg Festival to mention a few….

  • Pavitra has toured Sri Lanka Dubai, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia and USA   for performances

  • Pavitra was invited to talk on subjects ‘Guru – Shishya’ by Shambhavi School of Dance , Bangalore for the ‘Mulum’ Festival  also for the most famous Natya Kala Conference to speak and perform on a topic –‘ Bhakti Reimagined’ conducted at the Krishna Gana Sabha , Chennai

  • Pavitra recently also had the privilege to do lecture demonstration of esteemed organistaion like his topic Sculpted Stories at Pattadakkal (Karnataka )

  • To quench his thirst as a choreographer, Pavitra recently choreographed and performed his first SOLO PRODUCTION ‘SHRI RANGA – The Reclining Lord’      


Pavitra is Master’s Degree Holder in Dance from Bharathidasan University , Tricy (T.N) along with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce .  He is also an accomplished Nattuvanaar and his Nattuvangam skills gave him an opportunity to conduct nattuvangam for his Guru.

Pavitra’s urge to pass on this traditional art form to the younger talents is fulfilled with his 16 year old institute : P.A.V.I. (Pavitra Art Visual Institute). A Bharatanatyam Institute established in a suburb of Mumbai to spread the knowledge of bharatanatyam into the young and talented minds.


Shama Krishna

 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.



Karnataka Kalasri 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


8) SHAKUNTHALA PRASHASTHI ,Inspiration Award for contribution to Kathak  Bengaluru,2015 

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