(Last Updated on : 09-08-2014)
Tanushree Shankar is one of the foremost dancers and choreographers of contemporary dance in India. Tanushree Shankar was born on 16 March 1956 in Kolkata
. She is based in Kolkata and earned her immense fame as a danseuse as the principle faculty of the Ananda Shankar
Centre for Performing Arts. She has been the lead performer in this institution during the 1970s and 1980s. Her husband the late Ananda Shankar was a world famous music composer who researched thoroughly with fusion music. Tanushree Shankar is the daughter in law of world famous dancers, Pandit Uday Shankar
and Amala Shankar. The Sitar maestro Pt. Ravi Shankar
is also her distant in- law relative.
Dance Styles of Tanushree Shankar
Tanushree Shankar is presently leading the Tanushree Shankar Dance Company and is famous as one of the leading exponents of contemporary dance forms in India. She has evolved her own modern dancing forms by visualizing and implementing the grace and beauty of traditional Indian dances with the soul of modern western ballet expressions. Tanushree Shankar was inspired both by her memorable heredity as much by the folk and local dance forms of India. Her late father-in-law the legendary Pandit Uday Shankar
is referred to as a pioneer of modern Indian Dance. Tanushree Shankar's dance forms are also inspired by the rich local Indian traditions such as the "Thangta" or Manipuri Sword dance. She loves to travel with her troupe extensively around the world. Her last notable productions include "Chirantan" (The eternal) and "Uddharan" (upliftment of the soul); based on Rabindranath Tagore
's music with narration and recitation by Amitabh Bachchan. "Uddharan" won the award for the 'Best Production" of the year in 2002 from the Government of West Bengal.
Tanushree Shankar was trained for seven years under Amala Shankar and has developed a kind of choreography, which can reach out to audiences worldwide. Her choreography is not a combination of classical dances but is exceptional and original, offering a firm shape to the music that inspires it and is based on the Shankar technique of "New Dance".
Uday Shankar showed this innovative path. The dance style of Tanushree Shankar is mainly focused on music by her husband Ananda Shankar
, whose melodies perfectly harmonize his wife's vibrant choreography.
Dance Career of Tanushree Shankar
Tanushree Shankar has handled the choreography for several prestigious international conferences, festivals and mega events such as the Festival of India in the USSR, the Asian Games, the Wills World Cup Cricket Championships and others. She was specially requested to choreograph for the launching of Motorola Cell Phones and VISA cards in India. The Kolkata Carnival organized by the British High Commission and held for the first time in India also saw her as the chief choreographer.
Other than events and promotions, Tanushree Shankar has also choreographed for numerous fashion shows and films along with the ballets presented by her troupe. Her dance company has toured over 40 countries, performing at prestigious theatres including Carnegie Hall in New York, Epcot Centre in Florida, Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C. and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Tanushree Shankar was selected by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India
as the official choreographer for the major event of National Folk Festival (Lok Tarang) held in New Delhi in January 2006. In recent years, she conducted brilliant workshops at premier institutions in U.S.A. like the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Reading for the WOMAD Festival, Birmingham and Leeds in UK and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Her troupe members danced according to Tanusree Shankar's choreography in the prestigious Edinburgh International Fringe Festival in 2001, "Asia Week" in Milan and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.
Tanushree Shankar also designs the costumes for all the shows of her troupe. In the past, she has acted in several films and TV serials, such as the "Satyajit Ray Presents". She has resumed her film career with the film, 'Hemanter Pakhi' and partially won the National Award for the Best Regional Film for 2004. She has also acted in Mira Nair's latest film 'The Namesake'.