Navatman is a non-profit organization, staffed by a mix of part-time, full-time and volunteer members, each of whom perform various roles, including and not limited to: administration, performance, and teaching. Our work would not be possible without the dedication of our 5 person team and the support of our community.
Sridhar Shanmugam's passion has always been to create awareness and a truly appreciative audience of this unique and rich classical tradition; working ceaselessly towards placing Indian Classical dance and music forms on the world pedestal. This idea started from his exacting and intense training at the Kalakshetra school of dance (one of the most prestigious school of dance from India), and his later training in Rangoli painting, modern and post-modern dance, acting, choreography, stage lighting theatre & stage technique have only served to further this goal.
His talent eventually had him touring around the world as the legendary dancer choreographer Chandralekha's primary male artist for many years and afterwards he began working with many of the world's most famous artists such as Pina Bausch, Suzanna Linke, Philip Glass, and countless others. Consequently, he received many awards from many governments bodies including India's, Great Britain's, and Italy's amongst others.
Apart from his performing credentials, Sridhar Shanmugam has taught extensively and conducted workshops at several leading institutions including Columbia University, New York University and the Brooklyn Museum of Arts. He maintains relationships with many of the top arts foundations such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center by serving on their boards and panels.
Sahasra Sambamoorthi's passion aligns accordingly with Sridhar's; to reignite the fire of the South Asian performing arts within the US. Sahasra's knowledge started from her Bharatanatyam training at the late age of nine – but this did not stop her from absorbing the style almost immediately, having her arangetram only four short years later and performing in India at prestigious venues such as the Krishna Gana Sabha and the Kartik Fine Arts in Madras 2 short years after that under the smart and able guidance of guru Smt. Kalaimamani Ramya Ramnarayan.
From a young age, she knew she wanted to remain in the field not only as a dancer but as an arts administrator, and her time on Columbia University's South Asian fusion dance group Taal only furthered that ambition. Sahasra consequently co-choreographed and co-produced Her Story, a powerful dance drama about the lives of women legends in Hindu mythology with alumnus Srinidhi Raghavan. The unpredicted success of the show led her to start her dream in Navatman, Inc and further her education by garnering her MA from New York University in South Asian dance, history, and anthropology.
Though Sahasra was both born and trained in the US, this has only served to widen her ability to connect with both Indian and non-Indian audiences. It has also helped her gain accolades and scholarships, such as the New Jersey State Council of the Arts Folk Arts Apprenticeship, and has been called by reporters as a "young trailblazer...on the crest of the wave leading us towards a new understanding of South Asian arts in the United States."