Aparna Sindhoor

Indian dancer
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Aparna Sindhoor is a choreographer, dancer, and teacher from Mysore, India. She is the Artistic Director of Navarasa Dance Theater. Sindhoor has trained in Bharatanatyam (one of the Indian classical dance forms) for over 20 years including 15 years with K. Venkatalakshamma, one of the foremost proponents of the Mysore style of Bharatanatyam where Abhinaya (facial expression) and graceful Jathis (pure dance compositions) are emphasized. Sindhoor has been giving accomplished professional performances since her arangetram (graduation solo recital) in 1989. Sindhoor holds a Vidwat (Master's) in dance, a Master's in English, and a bachelor's degree in Dance, literature and Dramatics. She was awarded the gold medal in 1990 for finishing first in dance at the University of Mysore. She received her doctorate in "Dance, Women and Culture" from Boston University. Since 1996 Sindhoor has been working on dance theater forms with SM Raju (Rajendran M. Sivasankaran), bringing varied art forms and styles to tell contemporary stories. Using stories such as "The Incident and After", "The Hunt", "Clothes", "Draupadi", "River Rites", written by contemporary writers, Sindhoor and Raju have created works that give a new dimension to the content and beauty of the dance performance. Using Indian classical dance, yoga, songs, martial arts, stories and folk dances they explore new ways of presenting without compromising the beauty of the forms. This has made their work more interesting and accessible to diverse audiences. Sindhoor brings in a unique blend of depth in the content, novelty in the presentation and extraordinary artistry. "The central theme of my work is to learn how to celebrate and accept difference, whether it is dance or life. When we accept that there are differences in people whether it is color, caste, class, artistic abilities, etc., we learn to live better and make better art. I want the colors of life to fill my dance, inspire my movement and music." Sindhoor is known for her creativity and power to push boundaries. "I approach dance/performance with a contemporary sensibility that emerges from my heart as a woman who is exposed to dance, music, theater, feminism, and also as someone living in two continents. Bharatanatyam dance is a celebration of the human body: the sensuous and the spiritual. In my opinion all dance forms do that. Dance is an art of celebration of the physical, emotional, and spiritual." She has conceived and choreographed over 20 full-length dance works. She was awarded grants from the Human Resource Development Agency, Government of India, for her dance works, Vachanadara and A Concise Portrait of Indian Woman. In these works she has expanded the boundaries of the traditional Bharatanatyam recital in terms of the subject, style and production. In A Concise Portrait of Indian Woman, she used regional folk dance as part of the choreography, along with classical dance. She was sponsored by Urban Bush Women to attend the A New Dancer for a New Society workshop at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, in the summer of 1997. She has collaborated with artists and companies such as Robert Uno of New World Theater, Rangayana and Rahul Varma of Teesri Duniya. She is one of the choreographers for Santhosh Sivan's film Anandabhadram and conceived the choreography for a song in SM Raju's Tamil feature film Varnam. She has received grants from Arts International, Somerville Arts Council, Massachusetts Arts Council and UMass Arts Council. Sindhoor is the founding director of Navarasa Natyalaya, a performance art school in Mysore. Sindhoor is also an experienced actor. Nagamandala, in which she acted as the protagonist Rani, won the best play of the year award at the Karnataka Nataka (theater) Academy. She is one of the three women featured in a documentary film about artists, Take It From Me (2001, Nefertiti Productions). Her works have been showcased in the US, Canada, Germany and India, including venues and festivals such as the Jacob's Pillow, Lincoln Center, New Jersey Performance Arts Center, La Mama and New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas. Sindhoor was one of the choreographers selected for the New England Foundation for the Arts’ RDDI program.
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Navarasa Dance Theater
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