Murugashankari Leo – an accomplished Bharatanatyam artiste, teacher of Bharatantyam, theatre actor and research scholar.

Bharatantyam is an ancient Indian classical dance form which is known for its beauty, grace and uniqueness.


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An accomplished Bharatanatyam artiste, teacher of Bharatantyam, theatre actor and research scholar.
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Murugashankari hails from a family of artistes. Her father Leo Prabu is a veteran dramatist, Television Personality and a yesteryear actor in Tamil movies who has played pivotal roles in a number of Tamil films like Rendum Rendum Anju, Naan Mahaan Alla, Annae Annae, Paer Sollum Pillai etc. He is the recipient of ‘Kalaimamani’, the highest state award by the government of Tamil Nadu for Tamil Theater. His achievements as an actor is well known in Tamil Nadu, India.

Education

Murugashankari is an alumnus of Adarsh Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Chennai and is a university rank holder in chemical engineering from Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering. She completed her Master of Fine Arts from Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts, Trichy. She has been awarded the junior research fellowship from UGC, India to pursue her PhD. She also holds a postgraduate diploma in business administration from Symbiosis, Pune.

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According to the Guru-Shishya Parampara Murugashankari started learning Bharatanatyam at the age of 5 from the legendary dance teacher ‘Kalaimamani’ K.J.Sarasa. Later she completed her Arangetram (debut performance) under the guidance of the illustrious teacher ‘Kalaimamani’ Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala. A chemical engineer by education, Murugashankari made the conscious decision of pursuing her passion and following her dreams of becoming a full-time artiste. She completed her Masters in Bharatanatyam from the Bharathidasan University and is now a Research scholar.

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Concert tours

Murugashankari has performed in all major sabhas and prestigious dance festivals all over India and has presented her concerts in Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka. A list of a few select concerts

  • Chidambaram Natyanjali
  • Mamallapuram dance festival by Tamil Nadu Tourism Department,
  • Natarani Festival in Ahmedabad by Darpana and WZCC,
  • Uday Shankar Festival in Kolkata,
  • Thrice at Naada Neerajanam at Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam which was live telecasted across 30 countries in TTDC channel,
  • Charity concerts in Kapar, Shah Alam and Penang, Malaysia
  • Twice at SIFAS Music and Dance Festival at Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society, Singapore
  • Nalanda Nrithyotsava, Mumbai
  • Nrithyabharathi Dance Festival, India International Centre, New Delhi
  • Ninad Concert Series, Mumbai
  • Vasundharotsava, Mysore
  • Cuttack International Dance festival, Cuttack, Orissa
  • Kinkini Festival, Mumbai
  • Natya Vizha by Dept. Of Art and Culture, Pondicherry
  • SPRING FESTIVAL at India International Center, New Delhi
  • Performed Solo and along with her students for Thirumarai Kalamandram, Jaffna, Sri Lanka
  • PERUR NATYANJALI FESTIVAL, Coimbatore
  • Navaratri Festival at the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai
  • National Music and Dance Festival at Panachikkad Sri Dakshina Mookambika Temple, Kottayam, Kerala

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Awards and credentials

  • Graded artiste of Chennai Doordarshan
  • NATYA KALA VIPANCHEE conferred by VIPANCHEE trust received from Dr. Balamuralikrishna for outstanding contribution to Indian classical dances.
  • NRITYA SHIROMANI by UTKAL YUVA SANSKRUTIK SANGH, Cuttack.
  • “WORLD DANCE DAY PURASKAR” by Natraj Music and Dance academy, Member of International dance council UNESCO, Visakhapatnam.
  • Parichay’s NATIONAL EXCELLENCY AWARD 2012, from the Member of parliament, Lok Sabha, Odisha and the Hon’ble Minister of Culture and Tourism, Odisha
  • Was honoured with the title ‘Naattiya Thilagam’ in Selangor, Malaysia.
  • Was Conferred the title NARTHANA SHIRONMANI by SALANGAI OLI TRUST, Chennai in 2012.
  • Was Selected to be promoted by TAMIL NADU IYAL ISAI NATAKA MANDRAM as one of the young talented dancers for the year 2006.
  • Best Performer Award from Parthasarathi Swami Sabha in 2012, during their 112th Year
  • Was selected as one of the best dancers in the SOUTH ZONE MUSIC AND DANCE CONFERENCE conducted by THE INDIAN FINE ARTS SOCIETY.

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Motivational speaker

Murugashankari is also a motivational speaker. She has addressed gatherings of students in various Engineering and Law colleges, mainly motivating youngsters to follow their passion. She has also presented many lecture demonstrations to school and college students focussing on the beauty and glory of the ancient dance form Bharatanatyam. A few notable institutes where she was invited to speak are Delhi Public School, Guwahati, Tezpur Law College, TEDx SSN Engineering College, Raja College of Engineering and Technology at Madurai and Pandian Saraswathi Yadav Engineering College.

Theater actor

Murugashankari played the lead in Stage Image’s latest Tamil Drama Neruppu Kolangal. This play was very well received in Chennai, with articles in the press commending the play and Murugashankari’s acting in it. This play incorporates in it, the classical dance and a song both rendered by Murugashankari which is its unique attraction.

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