The Artistic Team
artistic director and resident choreographer
Mrs Santha Bhaskar, a regular fixture in the Singapore arts scene, is currently the Artistic Director of Bhaskar's Arts Academy. A versatile choreographer, she has staged numerous productions from dance dramas to contemporary works in classical Indian dance as well as cross-cultural and experimental forms reflecting the unique Singapore identity. Over the years she has imbibed various influences such as Chinese, Malay, Thai and western dance styles in her choreography, illustrated in such notable works as the Chinese folk tale Butterfly Lovers (1958) and the Thai mythological story Manohra (1996).
Santha Bhaskar’s innovative style speaks for itself in various productions such as the NUS English production of a classical Sanskrit drama Shakuntala of the Mahabharata (2002). She also set local poems in all four official languages of Singapore to Indian dance in Rasa & Dhwani (2003). Her more recent much spoken about works include People Get Connected (2006), which explored the theme of human communication from ancient times to the modern day, Vibrations (2007), an experimentation of Indian dance with light, video, and dramatics interventions commissioned by the Esplanade, CHAKRA (2012), the first traditional Indian dance programme to incorporate sand art and XPressions (2013), an explorative work involving orchestration in music and contemporary use of space in dance. She has also collaborated with the hip-hop dance group NUS Dance Blast! in a light-hearted dance drama entitled Pappadum (2006). In 2008, she led the Singapore representatives, comprising of both musicians and dancers, to the World Folk Song Festival held at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China.
Ambujah Thiru was introduced to the sacred art of Bharatanatyam by Kavitha Daran, a student of Mr & Mrs Bhaskar. She continued her journey with Santha Bhaskar at Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society and presented her Arangetram in 1993 and joined the teaching faculty soon after. Her training continued and culminated in her solo shows Nayika (2000) and Maatha (2002).
As a choreographer, Ambujah staged her first major choreographic production Thirukutrala Kuravanji in 2008. She also restaged Santha Bhaskar’s Ramayana in 2012. With Bhairavi in 2014, Ambujah reached new heights as a choreographer.