The Dancing Queen - Ananda Shankar Jayant

To say Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant is highly accomplished is an understatement: she is the founder and artistic director of Shankarananda Kalakshetra; works magic with her light-footed and graceful dance movement; and has conceptualised and created Natyarambha. Harnessing technology for the arts, Natyarambha is a Bharatanatyam practice app that intersects at the crossroads of tradition and technology, and enables a traditional art form to ride the technology wave.

An artist par excellence, Ananda is celebrated as a renowned classical dancer, choreographer, dance scholar, and bureaucrat. Charming and volatile both onstage and off, she takes viewers to a world where drama is the norm. Ananda aims to convey the elegance of the dance and recreate moments that are intense and electrifying at the same time. The passionate danseuse – with her stories and mystic beauty – believes that Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam are a perfect embodiment of India. Endowed with immense classical beauty and knowledge, Ananda’s artistic body of work includes historical chronicles and women studies, spans mythologies and abstraction, philosophy, poetry, and humour.

For her contribution to the field of classical dance, Ananda was conferred the Padma Shri and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar for Bharatanatyam, in 2007 and 2009, respectively. The 57-year-old dancer is a sought after motivational speaker and actively engages on a wide range of topics at leadership programmes, leading corporate entities, schools, and universities.