Born in Madras, India, brought up in Paris, Shantala is the child of east and west.
She grew up in a world filled with dance and music, initiated at a tender age by her mother, dancer Savitry Nair. Deeply moved and inspired by Master Vempati Chinna Satyam’s pure and graceful style, Shantala dedicated herself to Kuchipudi, and received an intense and rigorous training from her master.
Driven by a deep desire to bring Kuchipudi to the western audience, she has performed in important festivals and theatres, earning praise and admiration from all.
Acclaimed as a rare dancer by artists and connoisseurs in India and Europe, Shantala combines a perfect technique with flowing grace and a very fine sensitivity. Since the age of 13, she also had the privilege of working with some of the greatest artists of our times: Maurice Béjart (“1789…et nous”), Peter Brook (for whom she played Miranda in “The Tempest” and Ophelia in “Hamlet”), Bartabas (“Chimère”), Pina Bausch (“O Dido”, “Néfès”, and “Bamboo Blues), Amagatsu (“Ibuki”). Such experiences make her artistic journey a truly unique one.
Today, Shantala shares her time between touring, expanding her choreographic work in the Kuchipudi style, and collaborating with various artists in the exploration of dance, music and theatre.
Some of these collaborations are: “Play” (2010), a duet with dancer-choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, “Nineteen Mantras” (2012), a modern opera inspired by hindu myths, directed by Giorgio Barberi Corsetti and for which Shantala created the choreography; “Peer Gynt” (2012) directed by Irina Brook for the Salzburg Festival, in which Shantala was acting, dancing, and singing.
In 2014, she performed in “AM I”, the latest piece by Sydney-based “Shaun Parker & Company” at the Sydney Opera House, with a cast of 13 Australian dancers and musicians.
She also created “Blooming” at the Vail International Dance Festival, a short duet with Charles ‘Lil Buck’ Riley, a wizard in jookin’, a street-dance style from Memphis, Tennessee.
Her latest collaborations have both been in Barcelona and closely weaving together movement and music. First Impro-Sharana, with the Catalan singer Ferran Savall, and four of his musical accomplices, and most recently, We Women with Sol Pico, Julie Dossavi and Minako Seki.
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