Shangita Namasivayam: Dancer, director and teacher | Sunday Observer

Shangita Namasivayam: Dancer, director and teacher

15 December, 2019
Manoharan (husband), Aditi, Shangita and Nritta
Manoharan (husband), Aditi, Shangita and Nritta

The Sri Lankan-born and bred, Shangita Namasivayam, has made an exception as a typical Kalakshetra dancer. Kalakshetra is a prestigious Chennai-based dance school, where not many Sri Lankans have joined. Passing out with flying colours Shangita has done proud to her home territory in making that exceptional cut.

Namasivayam, the short, dark, bi-spectacled and curly-haired, claimed she did not have any physical attributes that a usual Kalakshetra product possessed. However, that was only the driving force for the 55-year-old to make commendable strides.

“Not only did I get a double promotion (very rare in Kalakshetra), but passed my degree and postgraduate degree with first-class honours,” she told the Sunday Observer.

Her solitary mantra and rule had been - work, work, and work.

“I still hold the record for being the only student, who was told, Not to practice anymore,” she recalled.

She thinks, intelligence and luck would take you half-the-distance, while hard work would do the full-distance.

“I believe that is what is special about me - I always, alwaysgive my 200% to everything I do,” she said.

“I’m lucky to be able to do what I love. My heart rules my head. Right or wrong everything is intense, dance and life as a whole. For me, dance is not separate,” she opened up.

She now resides in Malaysia, and is the director of her own dance studio, “Kalpana Dance Theatre” (KDT). Dancing is in her blood, in her system. She has traversed the distance to become the dancer, director and ‘teacher’, as fondly dubbed by her students.

The craft itself has taken a liking to its follower, and has kept Namasivayam’s fire burning.

This scribe’s memory travels back to a not-so-long-ago incident, observing this no nonsense artiste dealing severely with a fellow dancer and taking her to task over an unethical practice.

“What on earth is this? This is nonsense,” she shares and lets her steam out over the phone, with another fellow dancer during her class, at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Namasivayam, goes out-of-her-way in frequenting shows with cast and crew from India. Her profession has become her passport, carrying her to wherever possible, earning her the nickname, ‘globetrotter.’ Coming with that is another ‘go-getter’ for the way she delivers to expectation.

She is an Asian salad; born and bred in Sri Lanka, living in Malaysia, and staging shows in India and the above two countries.

Hailing from Colombo-7, she studied at the elite girls’ school, Ladies’ College, and is a second-generation LCite, having followed-suit her mother, Sathyadevi Namasivayam.

She takes time off from the professional to personal life, when her dazzling daughters, Nritta Ganeshi Manoharan and Aditi Ainkari Manoharan, return home to relax.

A long-time desire had been to host the shows of daughters, Nritta and Aditi. This, finally, was a treat to a capacity packed crowd in July 2017.

“A very special and emotional evening for me!! Leena, Daisy and Nritta were at their best” her Facebook post read, subsequent to the show.

This was after her eldest daughter, Nritta, delivered her maiden performance of Odissi here at home, at the Russian Cultural Centre.

The eldest of the Manoharan sisters, Nritta, who turns 23 early next year, is Down Under, reading for an Engineering degree.

Her youngest daughter, Aditi, is a law graduate and a Bharatanatyam exponent herself.