Shankar Kandasamy’s Gift of Dance

Picture caption: Shankar instructing his arangetram students at TFA Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

The world is literally senior dancer and guru, Shankar Kandasamy’s stage. He circles the globe throughout the year fulfilling his busy schedule of performing, training arangetram students and overseeing senior students’ development.

Yet Shankar is easily approachable and is a familiar face seen at practically every Indian classical performance held in Kuala Lumpur especially at his workplace, the Temple of Fine Arts Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. One wonders how he gets the energy to keep up with such a tight schedule and remain calm, composed and amiable always.

A graduate of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, Shankar had subsequently gone to hone his artistic skills at the Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts Bharatidasan University in India.

Trained in Bharata Natyam, Odissi, Western Classical Ballet and other regional classical styles of India Shankar heads the Bharata Natyam faculty of The Temple of Fine Arts Malaysia, where he was trained and continues to serve as Artistic Director, Choreographer and Performer.

He has given many Bharata Natyam recitals both locally and travelled with the Temple of Fine Arts worldwide performing dance dramas and variety programmes. With his rich vocabulary of dance in its varied forms Shankar has been one of the key choreographers in all major Dance Drama productions of the Temple of Fine Arts.

Being the head of the Bharata Natyam section Shankar has choreographed and conducted over seventy Arangetrams till this date. His sound working knowledge in Sanskrit and Tamil plus his Carnatic music training makes him double up as a resource person and music composer for the dance and dancers in Malaysia.

He also serves as lecturer in the Degree Programme of the Malaysian National Arts Academy run by the Government of Malaysia. He sits on the National Arts Awards panel of the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage Malaysia, as Advisor.

List of Achievements

(December 2007, Shankar made his solo debut in Chennai at the Besant Nagar Vinayagar Temple under the Krishnanjali Trust. This was attended and applauded by some of the great names in the field, namely Padmashri Adyar K. Lakshman, Prof. C.V. Chandrashekhar, Smt Shantha Dhananjayan, Ms Jayalakshmi of Kalakshetra and others, all of whom were very impressed with his standard of dance and creative ingenuity.

Jan 2009, Shankar performed at the Brahma Gana Sabha Chennai to an august audience of scholars and dancers who gave him encomiums. He also performed in Bangalore to a standing ovation of audience consisting of leading dancers.

Dec 2009, Performances included Chennai, Bangalore and Pune…where he received standing ovations for his original choreography of a Varnam on Hanuman.)

Dec 2010, Artistic Director and wrote the Feature Production ‘Meera’ for Temple of Fine Arts International.

Jan 2011, Performed in the Chennai dance Festival, Narada Natya Vizha, Narada Gana Sabha, Mylapore, Chennai

June 2011, Completed Masters in Fine Arts MFA in Bharata Natyam, Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts, Bharatidasan University, Thiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu.

June 2011, Performed in International Dance Festival, Shivapriya, Bangalore, Hosted by Sanjay Shantaram

Oct 2011, Choreographed Natya Rang with the TFA Ensemble and performed Solo Aanjaneyam

Nov 2011 Judged Salanggai Oli Bharata Natyam Competition Series 8 episodes for television in Singapore

Jan 2012 Toured Chennai and Bangalore with Natya Rang and Aanjaneyam which received standing ovations

Jan 2012 Choreographed for Salanggai Oli winners for Singapore Television

Feb 2012 Taught Bharata Natyam workshop for an entire month in Lima Peru performed at the Ricardo Palma University Lima along with students

March 2012 Conducted week long workshops in Perth and Brisbane Australia

April 2012 Performed in Tanjore and received Arya Bhatta award of Excellence in Bangalore

Graduated in Masters of Fine Arts (1st Class) in Bharata Natyam, Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts Bharathidasan University Thiruchirapalli

Currently enrolled in PhD Programme Bharata Natyam with Tanjavur University

 May 2012 Conducted a series of Arangetram for 3 students of the Temple of Fine Arts International

June 2012 Presented a paper cum lecture-demonstration on Abhinaya at the Bharata Natyam conference for the Bharata Natyam Association of Malaysia

Was invited as Chief Guest to Bangkok  for first Bharata Natyam Arangetram in Thailand

July 2012 Conducted a series of Workshops and Lecdems at Pune University, Pune India

August 2012 Choreographed an entire feature ‘Sacred Angkor’ for a duo Roshni Pillai and Neewin Hershall Singapore

September 2012 Performed at Milapfest and participated at the dance workshop series South East Asian Chapter

October 2012 Performed two full-fledged Bharata Natyam repertoires entitled’Aradhana’ for the Ipoh Fine Arts Society and Temple of Fine Arts Penang.

November 2012 Performed5-day Festival Nartaka organised by Ramli Ibrahim and Prema Satish Reddy – All Male Dance Festival

Performed at the Tainan University of Technology Taiwan and also conducted Master Class for Students

December 2012 Performed in Bangalore for Dance Festival “Nrtyopasana”

January 2013 Performed in Chennai festival for KalaPradarshini

March 2013 Performed as MahaVishnu and Co-Choreographed in ‘Tales of Angkor’ a production by Apsaras Arts Singapore and Singapore Esplanade theatres

March 2013 conducted 3 Arangetrams,in ASWARA and JB

June 2013 conducted 2 Arangetrams in JB TFA

August 2013 Chreographed a full Bharata Natyam feature based on the Tevarams of South India

Nov 2013 Choreographed and Directed a full length Dance Drama “Panchali Sapatham” by the Performing Company of ASWARA

Feb 2014 Conducted Arangetram in TFA Perth WA

March 2014 Conducted 2 Arangetrams in KL TFA

April 2014  presented Paper on Dance at Tanjore University as part of PhD SeminarProgramme

May 2014 appeared for MPhil exams in Tanjore University and passed with dictinction

August – Sept 2014 conducted 8Arangetrams in KL TFA

Nov 2014 – Performed full Bharata Natya repertoire in Nartaka festival All male dancers festival in Chennai

Dec 2014 – Performed full Bharata Natya repertoire part of Shantanand Arts Festival TFA KL

  • Performed full Bharata Natya repertoire part of Radha Sridhar Dance Festival Bangalore India
  • Conducted 5 day long workshop in VRC Academy Ananya Niketana

 Feb 2015 – Choreographed and conducted Nattuvanggam for Perth TFA dance ensemble  Live Music by O S Arun

  • Presented Peruvian student Ananga Manjari in a full Bharata Natya repertoire in TFA KL
  • Presented Pranesh Arangetram in Colombo Sri Lanka – first Arangetram in TFA Sri Lanka

April 2015 – Scripted, Directed and Choreographed a Musical Guru Paduka for TFA KL presented in Perth Australia

  • Performed in the Surya International Arts Festival in Kuala Lumpur

Sittam Param

Writer, poet, dramatist and former journalist. I have passion for art in all its forms hence my involvement in this portal.

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