Dancer |Choreographer |Curator
Shruti Abhishek is an Indian dancer, choreographer, and teacher practicing Bharatanatyam. Through her continued practice and study, Shruti continues learning the multiple layers that inhabit Bharatanatyam. A dance form from the south of India, Bharatanatyam is an appropriated art form that was traditionally practiced by the courtesan/hereditary community.
In addition to her own company and solo performances, Shruti is a Principal Dancer, Creative Coach, and Rehearsal Director at Nava Dance Theatre, founded by Nadhi Thekkek.
Shruti Abhishek co-curates two festivals: Varnam Salon (supported by the California Arts Council Local Impact Grant), which is a series of performances by California-based senior art practitioners, mid-career artists, and upcoming dancers, and When Eyes Speak.
Shruti began her training with her first teacher Rohini.M. Singhi in Mumbai and continued to get her performing arts degree from Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya. She has a Political Science and Philosophy major from Jai-Hind College in Mumbai. She currently trains under Vaibhav Arekar from Mumbai. Shruti was a part of many of Sankhya Dance Company's dance productions and tours directed by Vaibhav Arekar.
When not dancing, Shruti loves to read, watch TV, daydream, and stare into space while drinking chai. She enjoys singing when no one is listening and doodling endlessly. A true Malayalee-Mumbaikar at heart, she loves her ‘chaaya’ (chai), vada-pav, monsoons, and in her own words, the city’s ‘romantic bustle’.
Photo by: Lara Kaur
(Courtesy: nava dance theatre)
Photo by: Joe Marsili
Pic captured @ Kshetram School of Dance's Summer showing 2022
In 2018, Shruti founded Kshetram, an intergenerational dance institution based in Livermore and Pleasanton, CA. A direct response to her growing knowledge about dance, culture, appropriation, tradition, and embodiment, Kshetram helps keep Indian traditions alive in California (and beyond) while also offering space to reflect on how Indian traditions continue to transform, evolve, and grow with each new generation.
Shruti follows a seven-year curriculum, at the end of which the kids learn a whole repertoire (Margam) with equal importance given to recitations called slokas from the Abhinayadarpana, rhythm patterns known as Talam, and choreography techniques.
She initiated the Art Echoes Series to inspire and educate kids through live performances. The series provides a unique opportunity for young audiences to learn, be inspired, and engage with the artists in candid conversations about their practice. By attending these performances, kids can expand their horizons, gain a deeper appreciation of the arts, and develop their own creativity.