Founder and Artistic Director:
Teachers who inspire hope, ignite students’ imaginations, and instill a love of learning are profoundly important role models. Natyarpana’s director, Guru Kripa Baskaran, has striven to inculcate her students with values that corroborate this idea. Her students are groomed not only to become dancers, but leaders through the arts.
Groomed under the watchful eyes of Smt.Premalatha Madhavan since age of 5 and nurtured by Gurus Smt.Chandrakala Jagannathan (Disciple Of Shri. K.N. Dhandayudhapani Pillai), Kalaimamani Thanjai Sri.Hemnath (son of Shri Thanjai Arunachalam Pillai ) and Kalaimamani Dr.Ambika Kameshwar, Kripa adapted the beautiful styles of Pandanallur, Shri. K.N.Dhandayudapani pillai bhani, Tanjore and Vazhvoor styles of dancing and her years of learning under these eminent gurus enriched her with the a rich movement vocabulary, aspects of choreography, knowledge of dance theory, nattuvangam and the art of presentation. Kripa adapted the fine nuances of the technique from these rich traditional styles of Bharatnatyam and formatted a structured curriculum at Natyarpana whereby emphasizing clean lines, geometric obedience in movements and precise expressions. She has had the privilege to accompany legendary artist Smt.Vijayantimala Bali on the nattuvangam and her Guru Dr. Ambika Kameshwar in India.
In 2016, at the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aaradhana, Kripa was awarded the prestigious “Nrithya Seva Mani” title, conferred to an artist for her lasting contribution to classical dance. She was a recipient of the “Master Artist Award” in 2014, ’15 and ’16 through the Wisconsin Arts Board that enabled her to nominate committed apprentices to work under her. In her efforts to propagate cultural intersectionality, as articulated in Natyarpana’s founding mission, Kripa as a senior lecturer, co-taught a course called “World Movement Traditions” at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works as a visiting lecturer at UW Madison Department of Dance. She travels across the country with students for outreach performances. Natyarpana performers are regular performers at the Chennai and Bengaluru dance festivals. With the guidance of her Guru Dr.Ambika Kameshwar, Kripa has worked at the spastic society of India, Mathru Mandir, Vijay Human Services and Swabodhini, schools in Chennai primarily focusing education and vocational training for children with Autism, Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy and movement disorders. Through Natyarpana, Kripa imparts holistic dancing to children with autism and downs syndrome adapting some of the core principles from her Guru’s methodology “Theater For Holistic Development”, a scientifically structured method of holistic development for all, no barriers – only joyous learning. Kripa has now senior students representing Natyarpana and running their own schools in
North Carolina, Connecticut, and Madison.