Srimathi Neila Sathyalingam (Founder & Artistic Director of Apsaras Arts, Singapore)
Uma Chetty's Guru, Srimathi Neila Sathyalingam is the Artistic Director of Apsaras Arts and Singapore's Cultural Medallion Recipient in 1989. She established Apsaras Arts in Singapore in 1977 and has since been promoting the traditional art form in multiracial Singapore through community clubs. She has also actively collaborated with other ethnic dance, music and dance ensembles and government bodies to promote Indian dance forms in Singapore. In the past 25 years, she has achieved significant awards and accolades that are testimony to her outstanding contribution to the arts scene in Singapore and the Region. She has been bestowed the prestigious title of Viswa Kala Bharathi for her outstanding contribution to Indian arts internationally. She is well known for the fresh and innovative creativity in her artistic direction.
Apsaras Arts was established in Singapore in 1977 to harness and integrate young talents. With an initial student strength of about 20 pupils, Apsaras Arts has expanded in size and significance. Several senior students have branched out to form their own dance institutions both under the name of Apsaras Arts and in their own names, in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, France and the United States.
The founding objective of Apsaras Arts was to propagate classical Indian and folk dance forms in their true traditional techniques. Over the years, this objective has evolved to include using these traditions in collaboration with Chinese and Malay dance forms to create fusion works, thus presenting the traditional in a fresh blend suited to multi-cultural and cosmopolitan Singapore.
In the last 20 years, Apsaras Arts has built up a noteworthy profile of artistic productions locally and internationally. As a dance institution, it has conducted numerous Arangetrams (dance debuts) and is known for its highly acclaimed dance-theatre productions, several of which have enjoyed successful performances at overseas venues. The high standards of these stage performances attest to the quality of Apsaras Arts' teaching curriculum.
Similarly, the artistic excellence of Neila Sathyalingam's choreography is reflected in her Bharathanatyam, Folk, Contemporary, Multi-Ethnic Fusion, Semi-Classical, Neo Bharatham and experimental presentations with the group. Since 2007, Apsaras Arts has emerged as a premier professional performing company, focusing on creating new works at international and national festivals, corporate events and during its seasonal performances.
Through creative innovations and bold collaborations, Apsaras Arts aspires to instill awareness of Indian dance forms in Singapore, maintain the best standards of performance and cultivate an interest in the rich heritage and traditions of Indian Arts throughout Asia.