Sai Sankar Karpagavalli
Karpagavalli Sai Sankar is the Founder, Director and Choreographer of Gurukrupa School of Indian Dance. She started learning dance at the tender age of 3 at Swami Haridas Giri’s Gnanananda Natya Mandali, and learnt this art from Guru Kalaimamani Smt Krishnakumari Narendran (Pandanallur style), a well-known choreographer from Chennai and Acharya Guru Sri Udupi Lakshminarayanan (Kancheepuram Ellappa style).
The film Purandaradasar was the first attempt in India to present a dance drama as a feature film. For her superbly crafted role as the titular character in this film at the young age of 10, Kalpa received the Best Child Artist State Award in 1980. For this performance, she also received the Best Child Artist award from the Film Fans Association, Devar Virudhu 1980.
Her noteworthy performances as Saint Gnyaneswar, Sundaramurthy Nayanar, Bhakta Ramdas and Saint Thyagaraja enraptured the audience, and also received the divine blessings of Sai Baba of Putabharthi. Her key performances include a dance ballet in 1981 at Colombo before the former President of Colombo – Mr. Jayawardene, the ICCR program at Delhi, Natyanjali Dance Festival, Spirit of Freedom Concerts for National Integration, and the All-India Interstate Dance Competition at Delhi, where she won first place.
She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Best Senior Artist Award, Sankarabaranam Trust - 1986; Yuva Kala Bharathi Award, Bharat Kalachar 1990; Best Junior Artist Award, Narada Gana Sabha 1991; Best Dancer Award, Krishna Gana Sabha, 1992. She has also participated at various cultural venues in India, Sri Lanka, Dubai, Sydney and Singapore.
Smt. Karpagavlli started her long and illustrious teaching career at a very young age, by joining the dance faculty at one of the most reputed schools in Chennai – Padma Seshadari Bala Bhavan. She had her own Bharatanatyam school in Dubai and Australia, was a dance teacher at Global Indian International School, Singapore and also a senior dance instructor at the Global Indian Cultural Centre, Singapore, teaching more than 100 students. She choreographed many dance ballets, various classical, folk dances and international dance styles like Malay and Chinese dance, and won numerous laurels for the school.
Since 2011, Smt. Karpagavalli has been the head of the Gurukrupa School of Indian Dance, where she continues to instill a passion for Indian culture and tradition in her students.