(Last Updated on : 11/11/2010)
Los Angeles based choreographer, Malathi Iyengar originally hails from Bangalore, an Indian city. She is a well known dancer and a visual artist. From distinguished Guru Narmada of Bangalore, Malathi has learnt the vintage Pandanallur/Tanjore style of Bharata Natyam, which is considered as the classical dance of south India. She earned a master degree in fine arts (Choreography & Performance) from the California University, Los Angeles. Under the mentorship of Manon Scott, she has studied choreography & Improvisation. She has also learnt choreography with Janis Brenner, Angelia Leung & Dan Wagoner.
Malathi Iyengar as a result of her compliance to the art form cheerfully acted according to certain consented standards to take artistic risks. In the arts community Malathi is recognised as a visionary in the field of Bharatanatyam. A wide range of artistic demonstrations reflects into her creations. Her creation ranges from the traditional works to the inter-cultural collaborations. Her works 'Patanjali', 'Kodhai's Dream', 'Punyakoti',
'Tulasi', 'Sacred Geometry', 'Love Lyrics', 'Ramayana', 'Mustard Seeds', & 'Creation Myth' have been critically acclaimed. In USA, Canada, & India, Malathi Iyengar & Rangoli Dance Company has performed extensively. Malathi's choreography & performance includes: Gati-Pragati (99), Margam (98), Soorya Kanti (97), Aananda Narthana (97), In the beginning (95)- featuring 'Narasimha' and Creation Myth, Traditions & Innovations (94) featuring 'Partha Sarathi' & 'Anubhava', Skanda and, Sri Raghavendra (92).
For her outstanding choreographic works, several prestigious accolades have been conferred to Iyengar. She has been recognized by the Alliance for California Traditional Artists as a Master Artist of Bharatanatyam dance. Some of her other eminences include Rainbow Award, California Culture-place Award, Hindu Temple Asthana Vidushi Award,
Durfee Foundation Award, Brody Fellowship for Performing Arts, Alma Hawkins Award for Excellence in Choreography, John Lennon Performing Arts Award, Glorya Kaufman Award, J.. Watumull Award, and the National Endowment of the Arts. The book 'Dance & Devotion' has been authored by Iyengar. The book was published by Rangoli Foundation.
She has a professional denomination certificate from UCLA in Art & Design. Malathi Iyengar's work on graphic designs has received the 'Pacific Design Centre Artistic Merit Award 79'. Delineating a mark from her encompassing experience as an artist, Iyengar on a regular basis teaches Bharatanatyam. She, by employing effort, has always attempted for the production and presentation of seminars on dance, and intercultural dance theater. Iyengar has served as a member of a panel for several grant and award committees. In addition, being an arts presenter, she has also been a prolific teacher. Iyengar with passion & conviction speaks her unique experiences on leadership in arts. It was a part of her speaking engagement series, 'Dreams & Visions'. She has been far famed for this quality. For selected episodes of the popular Television Drama series 'Heroes', Iyengar has been the technical advisor.
With a strong visual arts background, Iyengar has designed for a special activity in creating the 'Sand Mandalas' and 'Rangoli Art'. In India and United States, she has showcased and created dainty floor designs for various museums and institutions. The Fullerton Museum's 'Diagram of the Cosmos', Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Pacific Asia Museum, Loyola Marymount University, and the southern California Festival of India Series have given official approval to some of her works. As an advisor for the National Geographic Kids Magazine, she in the recent past has served on the visual art of India 'Rangoli'. For Art & Culture of the Rangoli Foundation, a non-profit organization, Malathi Iyengar has served as the artistic director. Rangoli was founded in the year 1985 and is recognized for its professional presentation. Rangoli therefore has not only showcased artists from around the world, but also has paved their way to demonstrate their talents in the United States.
In addition to all her activities, she has performed traditional dances for Aman International Music & Dance Company (in the year 1998, 1999). Malathi Iyengar has also staged the William Shakespeare's play, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in the year 1997. Michael Michetti directed the play. Malathi also teaches Bharata Natyam dance and also teaches production design in the Department of World Arts & Cultures at UCLA,. Malathi was chosen as a multi - disciplinary artist for the 'Artist in Residence' program due to her performing arts experience. The honor was given by the performing Tree and Los Angeles Unified School District.
Malathi Iyengar has been the founder & artistic director of Rangoli Foundation for Art & Culture. This performing art centre is based on Los Angeles and was founded in the year 1985. Rangoli Foundation has been the recipient of the: the Regional Arts Grant for the presentation of 'Ramayana'(2000), National Endowment For The Arts Award for the Creation & Presentation of Rangoli Festival ' (99), Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Regional Arts Grant (98), & California Arts Council Traditional & Folk Arts/James Irvine Foundation Award (96). Various full length dance concerts, festivals, guest artists, and solo performances have been produced and staged by Rangoli Foundation. Some of the programmes staged by Malathi are: Patanjali (2007); Kodhai's Dream (2006); Enduring Traditions (2005); Jagadanandakaraka (2005); Planting a Sequoia (2004); Punyakoti (2004), Tulasi (2004), Sacred Geometry (2002); Enduring Traditions (2002); Love Lyrics (2001); Legends of Heroism (2001); Inter-Active Visual Poetry (2000); Ramayana (2000); Gati-Pragati (1999); Dancing Divinities (1999); Soorya Kanti (1997); Aananda Narthana (1997); Mustard Seeds (1996); Narasimha (In the beginning 1995); Creation Myth (In the beginning 1995); Anubhava (Traditions & Innovations 1994).
A seventeen-year-old Bharatnatyam dancer, Lakshmi Iyengar, is the disciple of Malathi Iyengar. For the Rangoli Dance Company, she is a professional lead dancer. She has in the recent past executed for the World Festival of Sacred Music, a Global Millennium Project initiated by H.H Dalai Lama.