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Spice People: Seema Lala, a guardian of Bharatanatyam

nritya rupam dance academySeema Lala, currently the artistic director and founder of Nriya Rupam Academy of Dance, has riveted audiences worldwide incorporating versatility with clarity of form and poise in her dancing.

Her illustrious career in dance spanning more than 32 years began in 1981 under the expert guidance of Srimati Satyabhama (direct disciple of Rukmini Devi Arundale). After completing her arrangetram, she joined the South African based Apsaras Dance Company and travelled to India, Malaysia and Singapore performing extensively from 1987 to 1993.

In 1995, she received an ICCR scholarship to further her studies in bharatanatyam. Under the accomplished and dedicated artist, Guru Jayalakshmi Eshwar, Seema explored the dynamics of nattuvangam and choreography and performed with the Abhinayaa Dance Company throughout India, Canada and USA with their productions.

Seema, a formal MC and programme director for many corporate and religious organisations, is also a certified Personal Fitness Trainer and qualified Yoga Teacher, which she uses in her training techniques to bring out the best in each dancer.

As a dedicated advocate on quality education, Seema lala founded Nritya Rupam Academy of Dance in 1998 as an organisation focused on education and developing young Dancers. Over the years, she has developed a well-structured syllabus from Foundation Level to Advanced Level. Students are assessed through practical exams, theoretical and research assessments and portfolios, by internal and external examiners. Under her expert guidance and tutelage, 16 students have successfully performed their arangetrams, and 12 have completed the rigorous syllabus.

Tribhangi Dance
On returning to South Africa in 1998, she joined the Tribhangi Dance Theatre (a proudly South African enterprise that distinguishes itself by representing the cross cultural diversity of the country in dance, aesthetically combining traditional bharatanatyam with African traditional and contemporary dance) and performed with them from 1998 to 2007.

In 2012 Seema Lala launched Nritya Dance Fest, an annual festival that is dedicated to the education of the classical arts by inviting international performers to train and exchange expertise through performance and lecture demonstrations in Pretoria South Africa.

Over the past 16 years, Nritya Rupam has produced a number of productions [Samarpan (2000), Rasaa (2004), Bharat Desh ka Rang (2008) and Natyam (2012 part of Nritya Dance Fes 2012) that have elevated the appreciation of audiences on bharatanatyam.

Being intrinsically part of South Africa, Nritya Rupam has entertained the nation representing bharatanatyam at numerous festivals and functions hosted by the South African Government, e.g., performing for the 1000-day countdown to the soccer world cup (2010) at the Union Buildings, Freedom Day Celebrations, Women’s Day Celebrations and the Opening of Gauteng legislature (2012). Through dance, Nritya Rupam has also helped raise funds for the Childhood Cancer Foundation, Child Welfare, and performed for the Cancer Care Group (Laudium), City Press’ 30th Anniversary, the Indian High Commission, Iskcon, 80th anniversary celebration of Shree Pretoria Hindu Seva Samaj and numerous other organisations.

Seema’s vision for Nritya Rupam, is to be the premier institute and vital centre; where multicultural individuals explore the arts and become not just dancers or performers but bastions of culture, philosophy and art, and who strive for pristine perfection in repertoire and understanding by incorporating and fusing the sciences of music, dance and drama into everyday living.

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