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CHITRA SHANKAR- an exponent of Odissi and Bharatanatyam

Introduction

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Classical styles of dance embody a discipline that provides the basis for experimentation and elaboration. Odissi and Bharatanatyam vary greatly in form and content - Bharatanatyam symbolized by geometric lines and distinct postures, and Odissi - by fluidity, sensuousness, grace and charm.

Chitra Shankar, as a student of these two different forms, exemplifies the entire range of emotions, styles and substance of dance. Bringing to life the mystique and magic of Bharatanatyam and Odissi, Chitra is an artist of rare talent, caliber and beauty.

Chitra's fascination with dance began early. Her formative years were spent in imbibing the discipline of Bharatanatyam under the expert tutelage of Kalaimamani Smt. Saroja Vaidyanathan. After developing an in-depth understanding of the Pandanallur style of dance, she has widened here repertoire by exploring and experimenting with the Kalakshetra style, currently learning with Vishwakala Bharathi Smt. Neila Sathyalingam, in Singapore.

Her exposure to the subtle, fluidic and sensuous styles of Odissi brought about a fascinating twist in her career. She learnt the nuances of this style under Guru Sri Hare Krishna Behera, further embellished and strengthened by association and learning with Padmashri Ms. Madhavi Mudgal.

Chitra thus, brings forth a most pleasing visual experience of both these dance forms with unmatched brilliance honed by long years of training and practice. Original interpretations of rare compositions and exquisite renditions of traditional ones are her forte.

Chitra's skills, performances and experience have brought her significant laurels in India and abroad. She is among the few artistes empanelled with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). On the ICCR panel, she toured Sri Lanka in 1991 for performances showcasing Indian Dance in the International arena.

Over and above these, she has also conducted some very successful performance tours in Kuwait, Singapore, Japan and now Indonesia.

With an excellent academic background, which helped her gain greater exposure to another facet of art - textile design, Chitra enmeshed the experience and training from Dance and textile design to create her own identity and niche with "Chitrakala". The vibrant colors, the stark patterns, the beautiful mix of traditional designs woven wonderfully together are testimony to the engagement of the arts. Chitrakala was among the preferred suppliers to some of the top fashion houses and retailers in New Delhi, Madras and Bangalore. Chitra's designs are also sold in Singapore, Japan and USA.

Chitra is currently based in Singapore and continues her journey through the world of dance and music with intensive training and rewarding teaching experience.

Chitra's students in Singapore and Japan represent the true universal appeal of Dance. A quick study of her students reveals the universal nature of dance and its appeal across barriers of race, profession and background. Students include those of Chinese, Malay, Sri Lankan, Indian or Thai origin from different strata of economic well-being lawyers, software professionals, students and social workers.