Formerly known as Bhartiya Nritya Kendra, Shivam Arts opened its doors to four students in 1983 at the request of a few of Punam Kumar’s friends who wanted to connect their children to their Indian heritage. Soon after, in December 1986, the school presented its first stage production “Invitation to Kathak Dance”. What started out as a simple request from friends, has now transformed into a well known and respected cornerstone of classical dance in Southern California. As the school expanded its locations and number of students, it was mirrored in Kumar’s growth as a teacher, choreographer, and innovator. Her work maintains musical connections with the changing world and modern tastes of the audience. She has choreographed items to Irish, Latin, African and Bollywood music and has collaborated with Flamenco dancers, fusing traditional Kathak motifs with creative modern flair.
Artistic Direction & Choreography by Punam Kumar
In addition to the annual dance recitals, the school has promoted Kathak through various major productions:
- Invitation to Kathak Dance (Plummer Auditorium, Fullerton, CA – 1986)
- Vrindavan Raas (Cypress College, Cypress, CA – 1989)
- Ritu Darshan (Plummer Auditorium, Fullerton, CA – 1995)
- Virasat (Musco Center for the Arts, Chapman University, Orange, CA – 2001)
- Ek Boond (Cypress College, Cypress, CA – 2003)
- Kathak and Beyond (James Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Long Beach, CA 2005)
- Celebration (La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, La Mirada, CA – 2009)
- Mohini the Enchantress (Irvine Barclay Theatre, Irvine, CA – 2012)
- Shiv Vivah (La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, La Mirada, CA – 2015)
Performances By Invitation
Students of the school also receive experience and exposure through performances at festivals, universities, corporate events, and charity galas. Past performances include a showcase for Senator Dianne Feinstein and Leo McCarthy, The Himalayan Festival at the Festival of the Arts, and a tribute to renowned Sri Lankan vocalist, Padmasri Pandit Amardeva. At the request of the Indian government, Shivam Arts students have also performed as cultural representatives of India at an international convention in Las Vegas.
Exam Certification & Workshops
Shivam Arts provides numerous opportunities for its students by offering training towards a Kathak certificate exam and organizing workshops with visiting artists. Jayanti Mala, the daughter of Kathak legend Sitara Devi, and renowned Odissi guru Sanchita Bhattacharya are some of Shivam Arts’ most recent visitors.
Shivam Arts Kathak dance classes are open for all ages.