Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant is a celebrated classical dancer, choreographer and dance scholar. She performs in two classical dance styles – Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. An illustrious alumnus of the world renowned Kalakshetra, Ananda Shankar trained there during Rukmini Devi’s lifetime. In Kuchipudi, she trained under Guru Pasumarthy Ramalinga Sastry.
Ananda Shankar, is a prolific solo and ensemble performer, having performed across five continents, a much-loved teacher and Guru, a critically acclaimed and brilliant choreographer, and is a sought after motivational and leadership speaker and writer. The dancer’s 26 dance productions and choreographies, an acclaimed and intense body of work, span the spectrum of mythologies, historical chronicles, women studies, poetry, abstraction, philosophy and humour – traditional and contemporary presentations, that have been hailed as path breaking. She is the Artistic Director of Shankarananda Kalakshetra, and leads an acclaimed ensemble, besides training and presenting the next generation of Bharatanatyam artists.
Ananda Shankar’s critically acclaimed productions include – Sri Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum; Buddham Saranam Gachchami; Navarasa-Expressions of Life; Darshanam-An Ode to the Eye; Mohana-Krishna Beckons; Sri Rama Namam – Entha Ruchi Ra Taalapatra- Hymns from the Hills; Shringara Darpanam and SRI – The Goddess Within; – all in the traditional format, even as she simultaneously explored the contemporary genre in both form and content with choreographies like Jonathan Livingston Seagull that was set to Jazz music; What About Me? That raised pertinent issues on gender, while Navarasa – Expressions of Life, Dancing Tales-Panchatantra, and Kavyanjali – An Ode to Gurudev were in the dance-theatre format. Her latest production Tales from the Bull and the Tiger has been acclaimed by art connoisseurs as path breaking new age choreography, and has been receiving standing ovations everywhere.
Ananda Shankar has been decorated with the Padma Shri in 2007 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar for Bharatanatyam in 2009. She has also been honoured by the Govt. of Tamil Nadu with the Kalaimamani, and with the Kala Ratna by the former Govt. of Andhra Pradesh.