K. P. Bhaskar, the President and Artistic Director of Nrityalaya
Aesthetics Society, is the pupil of great dancers like Uday Shankar,
Guru Gopinath and Kutralam Ganesam Pillai. He also studied Kathakali
from Gurus Karippuzha Kuttan Pillai and Eavoor Raman Pillai, also in
Singapore from Madhavan Pillai and Sadanandan Pillai. He learned
Manipuri dance from Guru Ambobi Singh and Kathak dance from Guru
Bolonath. He learned Ballet from Lyra Belgresty, a white Russian who
was a contemporary of the great Anna Pavlova and later settled in
Bangalore. He has also learned Kandian Dance in Sri Lanka and
attended Malay and Chinese dance classes in Singapore.
Bhaskar has performed all over Asia, America, Australia and Europe.
After working for Uday Shankar's dance film Kalpana, he joined the
Nataraja Shakunthala dance troupe in Madras and worked at the Gemini
Studios as assistant Dance Director. During the Second World War he
entertained the Indian Army in Middle East and Africa. While working
in Sri Lanka he was invited to go to Australia and during that trip
he came to Singapore.
the request of the Indian Community, Mr Bhaskar gave a three-month
course to Singaporeans and performed with them many times in
Singapore and all over Malaysia. Later he established Bhaskars'
Academy of Dance in 1952 in Singapore with branches in many parts of
Malaysia. In 1956, his wife, Santha, joined him and he brought other
dance teachers to assist him in Malaysia.
the help of his wife, who is also a very good dancer and
choreographer, Bhaskars' Academy of Dance gave hundreds of
performances in Malaysia and Singapore. After Singapore's separation
from Malaysia, they concentrated on their work in Singapore. Mr
Bhaskar has been an active participant in the Government's efforts
for the cause of cultural developments in Singapore since 1952.
was an active member of the Arts Council in the Colonial Government
and the semi-independent governments. When the PAP Government came
to power, Mr Bhaskar was appointed as a member of the People's
Association and the National Theatre Trust until 1986. He was the
Chairman of the first Dance Advisory Committee under the Ministry of
was the head of a Cultural mission to India in 1962/63 at the
invitation of Indian Government and visited most of the important
cultural organizations and institutions in India. During the three
months' tour there as a guest of the Indian Government, Mr Bhaskar
was also the head of the Indian Section of the Cultural Delegation
to Borneo and to Kuala Lumpur.
Bhaskar's Academy of Dance and later under Nrityalaya Aesthetics
Society, Mr Bhaskar has toured and participated in Indonesian
festivals twice and in Ramayana Festivals at Bangkok, Thailand, at
Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and in India. His dance group has also gone
to Japan and Australia. Many graduates of his society are now
practising dance in Japan, Australia, Germany, America and even in
India. In 1999 the Indian Council for Cultural Relations invited his
"Ramayana" dance drama to be presented in various cities
in North and South India, including Ayodhya, the holy city said to
be the birthplace of Lord Rama. In 2004, he took a Tamil production
of Kathakali to Chennai and Trivandrum.
Bhaskar and his organisation have presented about 120 Arangetrams
(debut performances to mark graduation in dance), over a hundred
full productions and many hundreds of charity performances. His
dance group was invited to perform year after year at the Prime
Minister's National Day Rallies and for many visiting dignitaries at
the Istana. Mr Bhaskar was in the committee of many cultural bodies
including the Kreta Ayer People's Theatre, National Theatre Trust,
National Theatre Club, Singapore Arts Federation and Singapore
Kathakali Yogam of which he was the president for 20 years.
being the President of Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society where about
3000 students learn various arts, he is also the Chairman of
Bhaskar's Arts Academy, the only professional Indian dance company
in Singapore carrying the distinction of recognition by the
Government under the National Arts Council's Annual Grant Scheme.
Bhaskar's Arts Academy is another non-profit organisation he has
established and under it, an art gallery and a Kathakali dance
troupe are functioning at present apart from the organisation of
has written 3 books on Indian dance and contributed many articles in
art magazines and papers at national and international conferences.
Mr Bhaskar has written scripts and presented many solo performances
and dance dramas for television including a 13-part series "Bharata
Natyam" and a 26-part series named "Aspects of Indian
Bhaskar has been bestowed with many prestigious awards in India,
Malaysia and Singapore including the Pingat Jasa Gemilang (PJG) from
the President of Singapore, the only performing arts artiste given
this highest honour, and "Natya Kalanidhi" from the
renowned poet Sudhananda Bharathiar. He was awarded the "Kala
Vipanchee" title by the prestigious MBK Trust in Chennai in
1999 and the "Nritya Shiromani" title by Pracheen Kala
Kendra in Chandigarh in 2003.
Yoga expert, he has learned meditation directly from Maharishi
Mahesh Yogi and studied at the Teachers' Training Course in the
Himalayas. He learned Hatha Yoga from Guru Gopalakrishna and
disciples of Bihar School of Yoga and breathing techniques from Guru
Bhaskar is a graduate of the Chempakassary Arya Kala Nilayam in
Kerala and a student of the late Ramunni Panicker, Guru Kunchu Kurup
and Kutralam Ganesam Pillai. Under these masters, she mastered
Mohini Attam, Bharatanatyam and Kathakali. She also holds a diploma
in Karnatic music from the Tamil Nadu Government.
her husband in Singapore in 1956, she taught and choreographed at
Bhaskar's Academy of Dance, now known as Nrityalaya Aesthetics
Society. Santha is well known for her contributions to the
development of Indian classical dance in Singapore and Malaysia. She
has also studied traditional Chinese and Malay dance in Singapore,
Thai dance and music at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and
Odissi dance at the Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata. Besides
dance and music she has had training in theatre studies.
her outstanding services and contributions to the arts scene in
Singapore, she was awarded the prestigious Cultural Medallion in
addition, the "Natya Kalanidhi" award by the great poet
Sudhananda Bharathiyar in 1957, "Kala Rani" award by
Indian Film Arts Society and "Kala Ratnam" award by the
Singapore Fine Arts Society, are a few of the other awards she has
received for her brilliant work in this field. She has conducted
more than 100 Arangetrams for which she has composed many 'Margams',
specially designed for each individual dancer. She also has
choreographed more than 50 programmes for television.
unique interpretation of traditional and modern dance idioms has
resulted in many of her dance productions like Ramayana and Manohra
which have made her a well-known choreographer in this region. The
dance drama Manohra which fused Indian and Thai dance gained
attention at the 1996 Singapore Arts Festival, while her
interpretations of the Ramayana epic won acclaim at the Angkor Wat
International Ramayana Festival in 1995 and at the Ramayana Festival
in India in 1999. Her prolific output also includes the ongoing Aum
Muruga series and the more recent Rasa & Dhwani at the Esplanade
in 2003, where she set verses by Singaporean poets in all four
official languages to dance.
she teaches at the Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society and at the Centre
for the Arts, National University of Singapore. She is also resident
choreographer at the Centre, for which she has choreographed its
Sanskrit drama in English, Shakuntala of the Mahabharata in 2002.
She has also written many articles on dance for seminars and
performing arts magazines.
Bala Murali Krishna
Artistic Advisor In Music)
Balamurali Krishna born at Sankaraguptam in Andhra Pradesh has
reigned at the forefront of South Indian classical music for the
past six decades. His powerful three-octave voice is known for its
magnetic and vibrant resonance. A child prodigy born to musician
parents, Suryakanthamma and Pattabiramiah, he became a highly
popular vocalist and prolific composer by the time he was fifteen
years old. He has enriched the world of South Indian classical
music with the creation of many new ragas and nearly four hundred
classical compositions. In addition to being a vocalist, he is an
accomplished instrumentalist and plays the violin, viola, kanjira,
veena and mridangam. Dr Balamurali Krishna is the recipient of
India's most distinguished awards including the PADMA VIBHUSHAN
from the President of India. He is the founder trustee of MBK
Trust, which does extensive research in music therapy. VIPANCHEE,
affiliated to MBK Trust promotes art and culture, being managed by
P. Kesavan (Sidharthan) is a writer, educationist and academic.
His works such as short stories, poems, articles on various topics
including Tamil language and literature have been published in
newspapers and magazines, local and overseas. He has submitted
papers on Tamil language, literature and culture at various
seminars. He has written scripts for stages dramas. He has also
written scripts on Tamil grammar and literature for broadcasting.
He recently published his book THAMIZH VAAZHUM, a collection of
articles on various subjects. At present he is working on his book
on Tamil grammar which can be considered a major work in this
field. He is the linguistic editor for the primary Tamil Textbook
series (Ministry of Education) and linguistic consultant for Tamil
language materials produced by the Education Technology Division
of MOE. In addition to his teaching experience in secondary
schools, junior colleges and the National Institute of Education,
he has served as textbook writer and Education Development officer
in MOE, and team member (specialist writer) of the Moral Education
Programme for Singapore Schools (MEPSS) in the Curriculum
Development Institute of Singapore (CDIS). He has served in
various committees such as the National Arts Council (NAC) Panel
for Literature and National Book Development Council (NBDC). At
present, he is the Vice President of Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society
(NAS) and a Director of Bhaskar's Arts Academy.
was introduced to the sacred art of Bharatanatyam by Ms Kavitha
Daran, a student of Mr & Mrs Santha Bhaskar. Later Ambujah
joined Nrityalaya Aesthetic Society to continue her pursuit in
Bharatanatyam. Ambujah's Arangetram (debut performance) was
conducted in 1993. Ever since there has been no turning back for
this devoted and committed dancer. She is currently a Bharatanatyam
teacher in Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society.
has played pivotal roles in many major productions of Nrityalaya and
Bhaskar's Arts Academy. She participated in Kumara Sambhavam I and
Kumara Sambhavam IV. She and her friends performed in Sadhana, a
dance recital dedicated to her guru. Ambujah has also been well
received for her captivating performance in a Kutrala Kuravanji
dance drama in Johor Bahru. Her short stint in Sabah, where she both
performed and choreographed dance items for students was highly
commended by the press.
has also performed in different states in North and South India,
Cambodia as well as Indonesia. Her performances in these countries
have been well received. Her majestic and stunning portrayal of the
demon king Ravana and emotional portrayal of the demure and
vulnerable Sita in Ramayana dance dramas were highly acclaimed. The
opportunity to perform Parinaamam ("Ramayana Part II" by
Bhaskar's Arts Academy) in the state of Ayodhya in India, known as
the very birthplace of Rama, was an unforgettable experience for
Ambujah. Her recent performance in the Sanskrit drama
Vikramorvasiyam, directed by theatre doyen Kavalam Narayana Panikkar,
chairman of India's national arts body Sangeet Natak Akademi, where
she performed the lead role Urvasi, was well received by the local
audience. Ambujah has been conferred the title of 'Nritya Kala
Nipuna' and given the Postgraduate Certificate Of Honours for her
contributions in the field of dance by Nrityalaya Aesthetics
a graduate of Bhaskar's Academy of Dance, who started learning dance
at the age of 4. Ever since Padmini has been associated with the
organisation as a dancer, well wisher and teacher. As a child Prodigy
she performed regualarly at Tourist Shows, Theatres and T.V. At
the moment Padmini teaches Bharata Natyam at Nrityalaya.
Promod is an experienced performer who graduated from the Sopanam Institute of Performing Arts and Research in Trivandrum, India. Proficient in various dance styles like Bharatanatyam, Mohini Attam and Kuchipudi, he has acted in many theatre productions in Sanskrit and Malayalam. At the moment Pramod teaches Bharata Natyam at Nrityalaya.
Jayanthi is a dance graduate of Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society and has performed in many of its productions, including performance tours in India and Malaysia with the troupe for Parinaamam. She also participated in Realising Rama, a project of the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information, during its European tour.
SShangari learnt Bharatanatyam from a young age and graduated from Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society. She has participated in many past productions of Nrityalaya and Bhaskar’s Arts Academy including Aum Muruga, Vinayaka, Vikramorvasiyam, People Get Connected and Bhed (Contrast).
graduate of Nrityalala,Gayathri initially began her studies in Bharata
Natyam at the age of four under the tutelage of Mr & Mrs KP Bhaskar.
Gayathri has performed in many Nrityalaya productions including;
"Manohra," "Parinaamam," & "Pancha Tantra." She has made her way
onto the television screen in programmes such as "Bharatha Chudar"
& "Aadellennum Jeevanadhi" as well. Gayathri's participation in
Classical Indian dance has taken her around the world where she
has performed in productions and festivals.She took the part of
"Shakuntala" in National University's Mega production Shakuntalam.
She is teaching Bharatha Natyam at Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society.
started to learn dance at the age of four under the tutelage of
Mr&Mrs Bhaskar. She participated in many major productions of
Nrityalaya Aesthetics society and Bhaskar's Arts Academy. She took
on the role of Muruga in Kumara Surubhavam (1993), and had also
performed as the golden deer in a Chinese Opera production by the
Opera Society (1998). She was part of the troupe which performed
'Manohra in Tamil Nadu and Kerala (1998); Ramayana (1999) in Indian
cities (Delhi, Ayodhya, Bhopal etc..); and 'Ramayana' in Kuala Lumpur,
Penang, Ipoh (2002). She also took part in 'Pancha Tantra' staged
in 1995. She is currently teaching Bharatha Natyam at Nrityalaya
S. Pillai is an excellent choice as a performer, choreographer and
instructor in the art of Kathakali dance. He had his education at
Kerala Kala Mandalam, the topmost institution of Kathakali in India
and received his post diploma Certificate there, after 6 years of
intensive study. He was sponsored by the Cultural Centres at Tanjavur
and Calcutta to participate in the Island Tourism Festival in 1996.
Biju took the main roll in the great classical- Drama Vikramovashiyam
under Bhaskar's Academy of Dance directed by Kavalam Narayana Panicker.
At present, he is teaching Kathakali Dance at Nrityalaya Aesthetics
Society and hails as the only artiste of this highly individualized
art form in Singapore and the region.
K Santhosh is a graduate from Keral Kala Rangam, India and is a
reputed Kathakali dance artiste. He has taken part in our Kathakali
shows last year and has accompanied our troupe to Bali. His inclusion
as a Kathakali Artiste will strengthen our ability to put more Kathakali
shows in future.
Kalamandalam Prasad Somasekharan
Kalamandalam Prasad was born in Alleppey, Kerala and graduated in Kathakali acting after six years of training at the topmost Kathakali institution, Kerala Kalamandalam, where he has also received an award as Best Student. He has many years of experience performing at various temple festivals in India and has also given performances and workshops in Austria, Germany and Italy, not to mention special shows such as for Miss World pageant. He has also been visiting tutor in Kathakali for Bangalore University.