Shilpa Profile

As an infant, it is said that Shilpa used to keep a “Mudra” (hand gestures for dance) when going to sleep. From a very young age, she was extremely passionate about dance. Shilpa started dancing when she was two and half years old – her maiden stage appearance occurred at the age of three when she took a community gathering by surprise by running to the stage and dancing along with her mother and students. Only the weight of the bells on her tiny feet could stop her. Since the age of four, Shilpa has been a regular performer, accompanying her mother in most of her performances around the world.

Her dances have won the adoration of critics including The Hindu, which called her a keen student of dance, and News Today, which praised her as Young Kamala in the making. One of her performances even brought an instant cash award from the audience.

Besides taking dance lessons regularly from her mother and Guru, Smt. Madhusri, Shilpa has had the opportunity to participate in several dance workshops held in the U.S. Shilpa’s keen interest in dance and her innate skills enabled her to be one of the youngest students of this art form to perform an Arangetram (solo graduation recital) at the age of eight in Chennai, India (July 2000). Her Arangetram was attended by several distinguished guests from the art world including Sri. T.T. Vasu, Smt. Suhasini Mani Rathnam, and Smt. Y.G. Parthasarathy, who praised her talents. Her performance also received rave reviews from the press.

Shilpa’s amazing Arangetram performance at the young age of eight stole the hearts of the organizers of several cultural establishments. They invited her back during the Millenium dance festival. She was the youngest dancer to be awarded the title “Natya Kala Bushanam” (Gem of Dance). She was also the youngest dancer to be invited to perform in the World Bharatanatyam Conference held in Chicago in 2001 and the Rangoli festival held in California in 2002. Shilpa also won the Best Dancer Award in the Utsav festival held in New York in 2003.

She performed in the 2004 December Season in Chennai in the prestigious Sri Krishna Gana Sabha and Hamsadvani Festival. As a part of the “Uthama Chakaravarthy” ballet team, she has performed in Dallas, Iowa and Michigan. In 2005, Destani (Indian) Idol held a competition in the Dallas-Fortworth metroplex and Shilpa won the best dancer award. In November 2005, Shilpa was invited to perform for A. R. Rahman in Miami University along with Global Rhythms – a fusion music group.

From 2001, Shilpa started learning a second Indian classical dance form, Kuchipudi, under Guru Padma Sonti of Kuchipudi Kalakshetra. Her knowledge of Bharatanatyam and her passion for dance enabled her to do a grand Kuchipudi Rangapravesam (graduation dance performance) in September 2007. At age sixteen, she was one of the youngest to complete graduation dance performances in two different dance styles. Over 1,000 people witnessed the performance and the chief guest Kuchipudi exponent Vyjayanthi Kashi lavished praise on Shilpa’s performing abilities.

News about Shilpa’s scintillating dance performances reached Chennai, the capital of South Indian classical dances. Shilpa got the rare opportunity at such a young age to release two commercial DVDs – one in Bharatanatyam and one in Kuchipudi – under the auspices of Kalavardhani, a reputed DVD dance video producer. Shilpa’s performance on DVD was so impressive that she was awarded the title “Abhinaya Bharathi” (Queen of Expressions) for the best Bharatanatyam dance DVD released in 2007-08.

Over the last 25+ years, Shilpa has given about 250 performances all over the world. In addition, Shilpa has also channeled her energy and dance skills for charity purposes. She has performed numerous times to raise funds for various charities. In 2008, she co-founded Charity through Art (CHAART) Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for various charities through multicultural dance performances.

In 2011, Shilpa had the honor of giving a solo performance for the Yuva Bharati chapter of Dallas and received her third title, “Natya Pravina.” The same year she also performed a combination of Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam repertoires for the celebration of Bharathiar and Pushkin legacy organized by the Lions Club at the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Chennai, India.

In January 2013, Shilpa performed Kuchipudi under the auspices of Brahma Gana Sabha for the Chennai dance and music festival and received wide acclaim. Her performance impressed the producers of Laya Music and they have released a DVD of her performance. In 2014, Shilpa performed with her mother in Bombay and Chennai during the Music and Dance season.

Shilpa earned her degree of B.A in Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business in Pennsylvania. She is currently working as a Brand Manager in General Mills and is living in Minneapolis. She continues to keep her passion for dance alive by taking part in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi performances.