From its humble beginnings in 1998 with a single student of Japanese origin, Chitrakala Arts is now a premier institution for Bharatanatyam and Odissi instruction. The Founder and Artistic Director, Ms. Chitra Shankar, is a well-known dancer, choreographer and teacher in both dance forms, having learnt under the tutelage of Padma Bhushan Guru Dr. Saroja Vaidyanathan in New Delhi and Cultural Medallion Winner Smt. Neila Sathiyalingam in Singapore for Bharatanatyam, and Guru Hare Krishna Behera and Padma Shri Ms. Madhvi Mudgal for Odissi in New Delhi. She has also been working closely on pedagogy and choreography with the visiting faculty for Master Classes at Chitrakala Arts.
Chitrakala Arts maintains a successful balance between being relevant to Singapore’s arts ecosystem, while creating an equal opportunity for students of diverse backgrounds to learn, experience, practice, and participate in Indian classical dance and culture. Students from over 15 nationalities come to Chitrakala Arts in pursuit of their passion for the art form. Presently, with well over 150 active students and five training centers, Chitrakala Arts is looking forward to expanding its footprint in Asia and beyond.
Over the years, students have performed extensively—both in Singapore and abroad—from local community centers and temples to globally prestigious venues such as the Esplanade. Key among these performances are the Bali Arts Festival, the Opening Ceremony of the India Heritage Center Singapore, Utsav- the LISHA Diwali light-up Street Parade, and many Indian High Commission events in Singapore and Laos, including the 50th Anniversary of India-Singapore diplomatic relations and the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas event in January 2018. In addition, Chitrakala Arts has been routinely featured on Mediacorp’s Vasantham, the primary Indian television channel in Singapore.
Our annual event, Nritya Sangamam, ensures that all students are given a chance to showcase their progress on stage and build confidence on stage. More recently, as part of ‘Perform With Purpose’ initiative undertaken by Chitrakala Arts, Nritya Sangamam has been leveraged as an avenue to raise funds for altruistic causes in India and Singapore.
Chitrakala Arts will continue to focus on building a large community of trained and passionately committed dancers, well in tune with the current socio-economic markets and being worthy contributors to the Singaporean and the larger ASEAN Cultural ecosystem.