Viji Prakash is the founder of Shakti Dance Company and Shakti School of Bharata Natyam. Viji Prakash has been a pioneer in popularizing the performance and presentation of Bharata Natyam in the United States of America since 1976.
Early Life of Viji Prakash
Viji Prakash is an internationally acclaimed dancer, choreographer and teacher of Bharata Natyam. When Viji Prakash moved to Los Angeles in 1976, she brought with her the intense, disciplined, meticulous training that was imparted to her from age 4, by the grand masters of the Tanjavur tradition of Bharata Natyam, her gurus Guru Kalyanasundaram and late Guru Mahalingam Pillai, of the Sri Raja Rajeshwari Bharata Natya Kala Mandir, Mumbai.
Career of Viji Prakash
The performances of Viji Prakash in the United States of America are known to be different and exciting. The audiences in Los Angeles and the rest of the United States of America were entranced by the beauty, strength, and relevance of traditional Bharata Natyam. Along with her Guru and musical ensemble, Viji Prakash toured often in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Japan, sharing this exquisite (art form) tradition with diverse world audiences. Though her forte has been Bharata Natyam, Viji Prakash has studied and performed Mohini Attam and Kathakali extensively in India under the guidance of Guru Dr. Kanak Rele - Nalanda Maha Vidyalaya, Mumbai.
Viji Prakash as a Dance Teacher
Viji Prakash is the successful founder and director of the Shakti School of Bharata Natyam. Over the past 32 years, Viji Prakash has nurtured, trained and developed hundreds of young children into elegant dancers and provided them with opportunities to perform at various venues both at national and international stage. Being a consummate artist, the disciples of Viji Prakash were inspired to continue the tradition of this art form by being both professional dancers and teachers in United States after performing their Arangetrams (solo dance debut). Viji Prakash has presented innumerable solo and group choreographic works including the Los Angeles Festival's Sons of Kunti at the Wadsworth Theater (1990), the musical Purandharadasa and Meera at the Terrace Theater, Long Beach Convention Center, (1990) Manifestations of Shakti at the Japan American Theatre (1986), Dance of the Immortals at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (1985) and the National and International tours 1997 to 2007 of the epic productions Shyama, Bhagavad Gita, Prince to Buddha - a journey to enlightenment, Shiva-Shakti, Sant Meera and Tulsi Ramayan. Viji received the "Best Guru" award from the Madras Music Academy, Chennai, India in 2001.
Awards Received by Viji Prakash
Viji Prakash is a two time recipient of the Brody Choreographic Fellowship. She also received the California Arts Council award and the Excellence in Arts Award of the Torrance Cultural Arts Commission. Viji Prakash has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Bharata Natyam at World Arts and Culture, UCLA, since 1999.