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Uday Shankar: a tribute


Uday Shankar with Simkie, the French dancer as Parvati in Tandava Nritya at Paris, 1931.

THE CREATIVE dance movement in India owes its growth to Uday Shankar. With his success in earning great respect for Indian dance in the 1930s, a unique movement of revival of classical dances had begun.

Though he had no formal training in any classical form, his dance was creative.

He used the essence of various traditions and techniques in his dance dramas and succeeded in presenting an integrated composition. His exclusive use of only Indian musical instruments is a remarkable feature.


The four brothers (from left):Debendra Shankar, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Uday Shankar, Rajendra Shankar.

His superb showmanship and perfection cast a spell on his audience, all over the world.

None has rendered a greater service than Uday Shankar did at the turn of the century, giving Indian dance its pride of place. His student, Shanti Bardhan, was another creative dancer who devised movements which had a distinct identity.


Uday Shankar as Lord Shiva.

Among Udya Shankar's other trainees and followers, Narendra Sharma, Sachin Shankar, Amala Shankar, Uday Shankar's daughter, Mamata Shankar, and son, Ananda Shankar, are carrying on his legacy. (The pictures are part of the photo exhibition (courtesy: Mrs. Amala Shankar), curated by Dr. Sunil Kothari and designed by Sumant Jayakrishna, organised for the IGNCA centenary celebrations.)

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