Inside Asthana
Artistic Director
The Instructors
Performing Artiste

Rithaudeen Abdul Kadir, originated from the district of Sandakan Sabah. He has 13 years experience in the arts world, both as dancers and choreographer. Rithaudin’s speciality is in Asian Contempory Dance, Bornoe Ethnic as well Malay traditional dance such as Zapin, Inang, Joget and more. Currently pursuing his master in performing arts in University Malaya, Rithaudin have ventured to Manila and Bangkok for Cultural Exchange Forum and workshops. Rithaudin have choreographed for The Malaysian Paralimpic Games, Citrawarna and variety of TV shows.

 


Muhammad Syaffiq bin Hambali or fondly known as Syaffiq is one of the energetic and exchiting hip hop and breakdancing practitioner in Malaysia. The Johor lad, who is currently pursuing his studies in performing arts at Universiti of Malaya, have participated and choreographed for variety of events. Notable one are Dance Crown Honour 2009 with Ice Cream Crew, dance for "Trojan" of Muhani Ahmad, "Fade" a contemporary choreography of Sukarji Sriman. A professional breakdancer, Syaffig welcomes you to Asthana Arts to further explore the world of hip hop and breakdancing....


Shri Nimal Raj, is an inspiration to his peers and students through his unwavering love and devotion for the art. As a dance master, he is firm but he has won the love and admiration of his students by also being their friend. In 1982, he started to explore the art of Bharata Natyam under the guidance of the Late Master Gopal Shetty, the Late Master Shivadas, Shrimathi Vatsala Shivadas and Shrimathi Radha Shetty. Under the continuous loving guidance of his Guru, Shrimathi Radha Shetty, Shri Nimal Raj blossomed into a keen and inquisitive dancer. He was appointed as a teacher in training at The Temple of Fine Arts Kuala Lumpur, after having performed his Arangetram in 1990. He continued his journey in the world of dance, learning both the theoretical and musical aspects of Bharata Natyam. He has spent substantial time in learning the nuances of the art of nattuvangam under the tutelage of Kumari Suryakala and the concept and execution of taalam from Shri Thamarakudy K R Vijayakumar. Even after obtaining a degree in law in 1995, Shri Nimal Raj continued to serve at the Temple of Fine Arts Kuala Lumpur, as a dance master. He has also learnt Carnatic Vocal from Shrimathi Padma Subramanyam and has been appointed as dance master at The Temple of Fine Arts Penang by Swamiji in 1999. Nimal, since 2010 is  the Director of Peace Bliss Productions, Based in Kuala Lumpur.

 


Parveen started Odissi with baby steps under the tutelage of Geetha Shankaran-Lam at the Temple of Fine Arts KL and Ramli Ibrahim at the Sutra where he realized his passion for Odissi. This passion took him on a journey to India where he studied dance under the legendary dance teacher the late Kelucharan Mohapatra in Bhubaneshwar, and to Delhi under the tutelage of Ramani Ranjan Jena and Shrimathi Jyothi Srivatsava. He was then granted a scholarship, the prestigious Indian Council for Cultural Relations, by the Indian Government to study Bharata Natyam under the late Usha Srinivasan at the Hasta School of Bharata Natyam in Chennai. Returning to Malaysia , Parveen has also worked with critically acclaimed gurus whose names are synonymous  with Odissi, Guru Gajendra Panda in ‘Incarnations-Reliving Odissi’ and Guru Durga Charan Ranbir in ‘Arousing the Spirit Within’, whose art follow the lineage of the late great Odissi guru, Guru Deba Prasad Das. He did " Abhaya " TFA's production and " Aradhana " of Madura Dance Academy.  Parveen was also invited to perform at the International Odissi dance festival  2008 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia among many other well know dancers from all over the globe. Parveen has also performed widely in India and Europe .Parveen is looking forward to share the joy and the bliss of Odissi with students who have completed their adavus and basic in Odissi.

 


Shrimathi Bhawani Nimal has been learning,Veena and Vocal  and Bharatha natyam at the Temple of Fine Arts, Kuala Lumpur since 1994.  In 1997 she had obtained a scholarship from the Indian Council for cultural relations to pursue a degree in carnatic music in the renowned Tamil Nadu Government  Music College in Chennai, India.In 2000, she had completed the programme and obtained the illustrious Sangeetha Vidwan. She returned to Malaysia and was appointed to teach at the Temple of Fine Arts, Penang by Swamiji. Her dedication and perserverance has seen many students excel under her tutelage. Since 2010, she is the Director of Peace Bliss Productions, Based in Kuala Lumpur.


Lavanya Selvaratnam holds a degree in Bio Medicine from UPM and is currently pursuing her masters in Managerial Psychology from Help University. Her passion for dancing had led her to complete her Bharatanatyam arangetram under the tutelage of Smt Kumuthini Sivanathan. The love for dance has encouraged her to also explore other dances such as line dance, salsa and contemporary dance. Since then she has performed in a variety of shows for MIC, MCC, Navarathri festivals, SPCA, Jeya Nritha productions and etc. Her skills and talents for choreography has been seen in many classical, semi –classical, bollywood and modern dances for UPM, Masterskill, ‘athral’ movie for a film competition by Astro and recently for attam 100 vagai 6 for Astro Vanavil. She had been a judge and examiner for various dance competitions in UPM, Sri Saraswathy Dance centre and UM. In the year 2010 she rendered her services as a committee member for Malaysia Bharatanatyam Association and a project manager for Navarathi Arts festival. She is currently pursuing a Yoga instructorship diploma from Atmayaan Yoga Academy, India. She very much believes in performing arts with a purpose.

 

 



Geethashankaran Lam ( Geethashankarandance)

Geetha is an adept in both Bharathanatayam and Odissi having more than 30 years of performance and teaching experience. She has studied and performed with some of the most luminous masters in Indian classical dance : Krishna Kumari, Adyar K Lakshman, Savithri Jagannatha Rao, Ramli Ibrahim, Gajendra Kumar Panda, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, the late Sanjukta Panigrahi, Manoranjan Pradhan, Durga Charan Ranbir, Sindhu Kiran, Ratikant Mohapatra, have each inspired and nurtured Geetha’s love for dance.

During her formative years as a dancer, she studied Martha Graham technique with Ramli Ibrahim, and Ballet with Lee Yupin. In her career, she also counts her guiding lights Zhou Guixin (Chinese classical dance), V Mathavan (Malay classical dance), the late Krishna Bagavathar (Carnatic vocal) and Vijayalakshmi  Arumugam (Veena)
Her track record performances and creative work stretch throughout her entire career.

Krishna Kumari: 1979 - 1986
MIC  Bharatha Natyam Champion 1986, 1987
Vedan Kannapar dance Drama, playing the lead God,Narada & Krishna

Ramli Ibrahim/ Sutra Productions : 1986-1990
Co Dancer, Principal Dancer, First Batch of Malaysian trained Odissi Dancers
Night of Purnama, Kusumanjali, Kitatakatarikitatom, Sindhu, Labyrinth, Citarasa, Ready When You Are

Temple of Fine Arts: 1991 -2010
Dancer, Choreographer, Advisor, Planner, Assistant Secretary & Odissi Head of Department
Odissi Odyssey, Ramayana, Buddham Sranam Gacchami, Taj Mahal, Darpana 1, Darpana 2, & Darpana 3, Tejaputri, Quintessence, Umesh in odissi, Transendance, Abhaya, Chalaachala, Anjali, all of which were full length productions
 Geetha also taught, directed, choreographed and led many groups of dancers to Orissa for the festivals and study trips, as such receiving a prestigious award ‘Deba Prasad Nrutya Samaroha Award’ in 2004 in Bhubaneswar, receiving this award from the legendary Odissi pioneer and Guru, the late Padmavibushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra himself.
TLC Channel of Documentary – Passage To Malaysia, Life in the Arts, celebrating Deepavali
Boh Cameronian Award nominee twice. Umesh in Odissi (2006) & Transendance (2009). Won Best Set Design  for TranscenDance 2009.
Created a syllabus for special children & taught at Wisma Harapan, also a special needs girl.

In the year 2011, Geetha embarked on a SOLO career again as a performer, coming out in An Adoration – Ganga , by Mystic Creations garnering rave reviews and encouraging support from her Malaysian audiences and fans once more. She formed her own school in April – Geethashankarandance and taught Dance as therapy and healing for the special needs children, and students who needed to pursue dance especially  women who were gaining their foothold again in culture and dance, while maintaining a balance between a household lifestyle.


Guruvayur Usha Ramachandran ( Lassya Arts )
Guruvayur Usha Ramachandran is the founder and the principal of Laasya Arts Academy , a renowned classical dance and music school in Malaysia for the past 2 decades, now has established with more than 300 students . She started Laasya Arts in the year 2003 with a vision to become an established and recognised performing arts school in Kuala Lumpur . She hails from a family of musicians. The only daughter of veteran Mridangam Maestro Kalaimmamani Guruvayur Dorai, she started learning music at the age of 5. The vibration of the nattuvangam felt while she witnessed a dance program by Shrimathi Indra Rajan, has drawn her into the dance world. She then started learning dancea nd did her arangetram in the year 1983. Subsequently she took up dance a s career and was conferred the title of MADURA NATYA MAMANI in 1986. She has earned a degree from Madrads University in Sociology. She was awarded a Diploma in Bharatanatyam by Vadhini Natyalaya. She was also guided by Shri Pandanallur Srinivisaa Pillai who is actively responsible in her current achievements in dancing career. Usha’s teaching career began in Singapore. Her first arangetram student was in 1992 at Kala Manthir. Usha also toured and performed in various part of Malaysia, Singapore, Sri lanka, India and Australia. Her grand shows includes , Murugacharanam in 2006, Sri Ramajeyam and Amarapali in 2007, Panchaman in 2008, Astanayika and Bala Ramayana in 2009, Govinda and Thirukuralil Bharatham in 2010, Thirumurai thirunadanam and Harmony in Fusion in 2011. She have judge as well mentor for few of Malaysian Tamil talent Quest programmes. She is a techer, a composer, , choreographer and a nattuvangist, where all in one gem that hard among the dance activist. Guruvayur Usha Ramachandran believes learning process is one that is continuous

 

Visting Instructors


Priya Krishnadass
Priya Krishnadas was initiated into Bharatnatyam at the age of 7.Training in the  kalakshetra style she won many prizes in various state level competitions. While  in Calcutta she started training in Mohiniyattam under Kalamandalam Thankamani Kutty. Captivated by this dance form she pursued her interest in Mohiniyattam . At present she continues to widen her knowledge of this lasya  form under the guidance of Padmabhushan Kalamandalam Kshemavathy. Priya has performed at various prestigious festivals in India such as  Mysore Dussera  Festival, the National festival of dance drama by Lalit Kala Akademy,  Shimoga, Dharmasthala , Malabar festival, Soorya festival, thalam festival etc. Priya  was also invited to the the Kalanidhi International   Dance Festival, Toronto. She has also trained in the basics of Kathakali from Sri. Janardhanan, Ex- principal of kalakshetra.

Priya Krishnadas has been invited to conduct Lec-dem at various schools  and cultural organizations on mohiniyattam and comparative studies with other classical forms. She has presented many Choreographed works such as “Siddhi” “Samanuayam”, “Kerala Darshanam “ Kavya kairali “ to mention a few. She was awarded a scholarship by the Madras Craft Foundation for a program in  Arts management following which her book , “folk performing arts: tamilnadu,  has been published by the Madras Craft foundation.  She also has to her credit  an Ethnographic documentary  on the Narikoravas , the gypsy community. As Associate Director of Saradhi  Academy of Art and culture in Chennai, she has conceptualized and conducted various cultural events.

 


Sarvani Sashidar
To some, Dance is a hobby and to some others it is a form of art to be pursued. But to a selected few, it is a passion. Blessed are the people like Sarvani, who are driven by passion because the art that is driven by passion attains the fineness with wholesome purity.
Sarvani Sashidhar, a rising star in the Kuchipudi dance field is an extremely gifted artist with immense passion to perform and impart the rich tradition of Kuchipudi- an Indian classical dance form from the state of Andhra Pradesh. Gifted with scintillating style, Sarvani has an electrifying stage presence with right propensity for rhythm and expressions.

Sarvani’s parents late. Sri Seshagiri Rao Yadavalli and Smt Varalakshmi discovered her inherent affinity to dance at a very young age and she started learning Kuchipudi at the age of five. She is blessed to learn this art form from eminent gurus like Padmasri Dr. Sobha Naidu, Vedantam Radhey Shyam garu, Seetha Nagajothy garu and Rajaram garu. She has charmed the audience with her soft and expressive movements since the age of seven. Her aptitude for abhinaya combined with strong footwork mesmerizes the audience, transporting them to another world.
Sarvani has a distinction in Certificate course in Kuchipudi dance from Potti Sree Ramulu University and has performed at many prestigious festivals and venues such as Common Wealth Games Inauguration 2010, Konark dance festival, Rukminidevi Arundale dance festival, Cutack international dance festival, Chinag Chen Studio, Hong Kong etc. She even performed in the presence of high dignitaries including the Hon’ble president and prime minister of India. She was honored with the title 'NRITYA SHIROMANI' by Utkal Yuva Sanskrutik Sangh, Cuttack for her noteworthy contribution to the preservation, promotion and popularization of Kuchipudi. She is even felicitated with the title “Nrithya Vilasini” by Nrithyathi Kalakshetra.

She has proved to be a great performer on stage and has now stepped to the stage of choreographer. She choreographed many dance productions such as Women-the bliss, Nrithya Sangamam, Samarpanam, Brahma’s dance, Siva Tandavam etc. She has collaborated with many other artists and choreographed number of productions which were well received by the audience.

Her passion for excellence is evident in every walk of her life. A state topper in her college in the state of Andhra Pradesh, she did her engineering from one of the most prestigious colleges of India “Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS, Pilani)”. Her active involvement in several departments and clubs during her engineering enabled her to develop into a well-rounded individual with an exposure to various facets of life.  She is the recipient of many prestigious awards such as Monalidey day award given to the best graduating student from Bits, Pilani, Pratibha award, best paper award etc. She recently received the prestigious BITSAA 30 under 30 awards given to the alumni of Bits, Pilani with significant achievement in their field. She carries forward her enthusiasm for academics and arts with the tremendous support of her family members.

With an intention to learn and know more about Kuchipudi and to present this dance form in her unique style, she is heading towards reaching her goal with a hope to lead her whole life in this world of dancing. May God bless her in learning, dancing and teaching to the tune of nature.

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