Indian Dance Bharata Natyam
Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam is an artistic spiritual method with deep roots in the wisdom, poetry and colours of India. An enchanting dance which tells stories, poems and myths.
Bharata Natyam is a holistic dance combining art, therapy and communication with the inner and cosmic powers, quieting and purifying the mind like yoga. For two thousand years –before it started appearing on theatre stages– it was danced by temple dancers called devadasis. Just as the ancient Greeks, ancient Indians believed that health and therapy are closely related with the art of dance and theatre, with the cultivation of the soul and with spiritual contemplation.
It’s a demanding theatrical dance that works on three different levels: hands, feet and the expressions of the face. It combines rhythm with melody and the poetic expression of hand gestures (called hastas or mudras) with the art of facial expression (called abhinaya).
Who is it for:
Men and women, relatively young, with a good fitness level, who want to devote themselves to learning an art. It requires persistence and dedication.
The Greek Bharata Natyam Academy, in Shantom, is the only professional school in Greece which can guide the practitioners from their first steps to their degree. The end of the learning period is celebrated by a solo performance, called arangetram, which symbolizes the admittance of the student to the dancing stage of the professional dancer.
A Sorbonne Graduate in French Literature. Choreographer, Dancer, spiritual master in Yoga, Teacher of Indian Classical Dance Bharata Natyam, Dance movement therapist G.D.T.R. Sr, Creator and Director of Shantom House of Culture.
After graduating in Paris, France ((Dipl. Licence Es Lettres Paris IΙΙ Sorbonne), where, among others, she studied yoga, modern dance, ethnology and humanistic psychology, Leda Shantala travelled to India following a powerful inner call. She stayed and studied in Chennai. For three years she was trained in the art of classical Indian dance Bharata Natyam (dance, expression, music, rhythms, singing) graduating from the Indian Dance Academy «Bharata Kalanjali» and the Indian School of Exression «Abhinaya Sudha» in Chennai, where she still returns for the creation of performances and for artistic collaborations.
She studied yoga, theory and practice -deeply delving into the ancient texts of Indian philosophy- in the most distinguished schools of India. She is a graduate of the “Kaivalya Dhama Υoga Research Institution”, in Lonavla (Pune) and was a disciple of many contemporary yogis and sages.
Her teachers were sri Rocketti, Arnaud Desjardins (France), Leopoldo Chariars, (Argentina), Baba Khan (Egypt), Swami Satyananda, B.K.S Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikatchar, sri Chandra Swami Udason (India). She is still in constant contact with the latter and visits his ashram Sadhana Kendra with every opportunity.
She studied Dance Movement Therapy with Dr. Marcia B. Leventhal (of New York University) as well as the African “Mombwiri” dance therapy of the Mitsogo tribe in Gabon. She is the only Western student who was accepted by the Pygmies to learn with them this primeval healing method.
After her return in Greece in 1985, Leda Shantala brought the Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam to the Greek public. In the same year, she created the Mandiram Centre, the only institution in Greece for Indian dance and artistic/anthropological research in the culture of ancient civilizations, while also offering regular lessons in Yoga, Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam, and later on, Dance Movement Therapy sessions. In 1987 she founded the Leda Shantala Dance Theatre, through which she has been applying her multicultural research to dance-theatre performances.
In 1987 she founded the Leda Shantala Dance Theatre, a unique culturally diverse dance company, which presents innovative multimedia productions combining the art of Bharata Natyam with the art of theatre and the contemporary dance idiom with the ancient Greek art form of the Muses.
In 2003, with her mother Smaro Stefanidou, she created the Shantom House of Culture, which she is still heading. A three-storey modern multi-purpose building in Kato Halandri, of multi-cultural scope, hosting regular courses in yoga, dance movement therapy, many kinds of dance, martial arts and fitness methods from all over the world.
She is the daughter of singer Vassos Seitanidis and actress Smaro Stefanidou.
After 30 years of teaching, she has developed a personal way enabling her to approach her students in a direct and personalized manner enriched by her personal experience and daily practice. Experiences which enable her to see and interpret the above studied system drawing from her personal source of wisdom.