A choreographic workshop by an Aswara faculty, Umesh Shetty

UMESH SHETTY trained in Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kathakali and folk dance at The Temple of Fine Arts (TFA), guided and inspired by both his guru Swami Shantanand Saraswathi and his father Gopal Shetty, a pioneer of Indian classical dance in Malaysia. In 1991, he trained in Kathak with Pandita Rohini Bhatte of Pune, India, and later, had the privalage of receiving guidance from Pandit Briju Maharaj and Saswati Sen. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts (Dance) at the Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in 1997. During this time, he had the opportunity to train and perform in Western contemporary and classical ballet with forefront choreographers Neil Adams, Chrissy Parrot, Nannette Hassall, Reyes de Lore, Alan Alder, Lucette Aldous and David Prudam. These performances include: Terminal Velocity, In Places Recalling Faces, Water Dances, At the Third Stroke and Raymonda Act 3. With the exposure and strong influences from the TFA and his western training in Australia, he started to experiment intra- and inter-culturally when he returned to Malaysia. Today, this is evident in most of his works, which express various styles and genres freely. In 2012 he obtained his Masters in Choreography at Middlesex University, London.


Umesh has choreographed and performed in TFA’s major dance productions, which include: Ramayana – An Asian Cultural Confluence, Sundera Keralam, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakuntala, Lady White Snake, The Legend of Mahsuri, Swan Lake, Butterfly Lovers and Inside Out.

Being versatile in both classical and contemporary styles, Umesh has distinguished himself as a dancer of note. He was awarded several Cameronian Awards, namely: Best Solo Dancer for La La Li Tang Pong (2002), Best Group Performance, Best Costume Design and Best Music & Sound Design for Tandava I (2004), Best Group Performance & Best Dance Production for Inside Out (2005) and Best Choreography in a Mixed Bill for Sum (2009). In 2006, he was awarded Anugerah Seni Negara 2006 (National Arts Award 2006) under the category ‘Dancer’. Umesh is currently a full time lecturer at the Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (ASWARA). He is also one of the Directors and teachers of the The Temple of Fine Arts Malaysia (TFA).

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