Meet Usha Balasundaram

Dance and music have always been my lifelong passions, shaping my journey as a professional dancer. It all began when I enrolled in the 4-year degree program at Kalakshetra in Chennai, India. Kalakshetra, a world-renowned institute, is dedicated to the preservation of Indian art forms in their purest forms. Undergoing rigorous training in Bharatanatyam, a temple dance form originating from Tamil Nadu, laid the foundation for my career.

After graduation, my foray into the world of contemporary dance stemming from Bharatanatyam led me to join the famous dance group led by Miss. Chandralekha Prabhudas Patel. Chandralekha, an international choreographer and dance director, is renowned for her postmodern fusion dances incorporating elements from various dance and martial art forms. Four years in her dance company provided a global platform to explore modern dance and understand the interplay between classical and contemporary styles.

International collaborations with Pina Bausch, a celebrated German modern dance choreographer and ballet director, added another layer to my expertise. Moving to Sweden in 1997 after marriage, I founded Saraswathy Kalakendra Institution of Fine Arts in 2002, where students learn the captivating beauty and gracefulness of Indian classical dance.

For nearly fifteen years, I’ve been continuously training Indian and international students in Bharatanatyam. The dance school actively organizes and participates in festivals and performances, including the annual ‘Indian and Asian Festival’ in Huddinge, bringing together artists from India, Sweden, and worldwide.

Teaching Bharatanatyam to children in Kulturskolan Stockholm and Kulturskolan Botkyrka for the past decade has been a joyous experience. Weekly interactions with around two hundred children, starting from the age of four, inspire me to learn, innovate, and cherish our time together. Collaborating, choreographing, and performing with other teachers from Kulturskolan offer a wonderful exploration of the world of dance and music.

Special training in multi-cultural dance forms at Dans Och Cirkus Högskolan (DOCH) in 2011 and conducting workshops for young professionals have enriched my understanding of dance.

In addition, I lead a professional team with whom I choreograph and perform various projects, spreading the joy and energy of dance. Notable choreographies and projects, such as ‘Kali,’ ‘Meghadootam,’ ‘Bollywood Opera i Botkyrka,’ ‘Karleks Saga – Satyavan och Savithri,’ and ‘Bha-ra-ta,’ have received overwhelming responses, leaving audiences awestruck.

Recognition in the form of scholarships and titles from various organizations in Sweden for my contribution to culture and spreading awareness about Indian culture is truly motivating. Engaging the audience through performances at prominent venues and events like Kulturhuset, Södrateatern, Stockholm Kulturfestivalen, and the Indian Embassy has been a fulfilling endeavor.

I aim to create awareness of the beauty and grace of Indian classical dance and music, fostering appreciation among diverse audiences. Tokens of appreciation and support fuel my commitment to teaching and promoting my culture. Through my presentations, I aspire to engage audiences and spread the goodness of arts among the people.