We have seen and read about dancers and singers but to learn about the emienent Dr. Ambika Kameshwar, is interesting. She is all rolled in one- a dancer, teacher, choreographer, singer, music composer and an educationist, She is a danseuse and vocalist of international fame. Ambika choreographed several solo dances and dance dramas on various themes.
She is a Ph.D. in Natyabhinaya (Indian Theatre) which covers in its scope, dance, music and drama in their experiential and performance aspects. Her post doctorate fellowship is on the application of Theatre Arts as a Holistic tool of Development with special emphasis on children and people with disabilities.
Dr. Ambika, proudly says that, she is “fortunate and blessed to have imbibed and experienced the richness of spirituality, in joy and strength of which she expresses continually in all spheres of life”.
What makes Dr. Ambika Kameshwar unique is that she is the pioneer of Theatre for Holistic Development. She is also the founder of the RASA organization with means Ramana Sunritya Aalaya Trust, which is for disabled children and for needy. Under this organization she had formulated the unique methodology and has been pioneering the teaching, and use of Theatre for Holistic Development which involves Dance, Music, and Indian Theatre as a medium of self expression. She has specialized in reaching out in all these methodology to children with physical, mental and socio economic handicaps.
In 1989 she started the organization called RASA (Ramana Sunritya Aalaya), to be able to reach out many more children with disabilities. She had an opportunity of working with Ms. Diana Cooper who is a Movement Educator, London school of Speech and Drama, UK and with Ms. Barbara Cortez Greig who is a Dance therapist.
Her research work in the field has been documented as a booklet “My thoughts on Movement Therapy”, her Ph.D. in “ Natyabhinaya”- Indian Theatre, and her post doctoral thesis presented as a fellowship for the Govt. Of. India on “The use of theatre arts as a holistic development tool”. She has been the guide for several research scholars in the field of Dance, Music and Theatre with special emphasis on children with special needs, and has spearheaded intensive project work in this new methodology.
She conducts workshop and gives lecture demonstration and lectures on the innovative methodology, in order to reach out to many more.
Dr. Ambika Kameshwar, has had intensive training in Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and creative dance under Guru Kumari Meenakshi (from Bangalore) and Dr. Narendra Sharma and several other Dancers and Choreographers in New Delhi. She started giving public performance at the age of seven, and now she is recognized as a leading Indian Classical Dancer. As a danseuse of international acclaim, she has travelled widely and has given concerts all over the world. The countries were all she performed are Holland, Switzerland, UK, USA, Canada, South East Asia, Mauritius etc.
RASA – The Arts Centre is the school she has been running for the past 20 years. Under her training and guidance there are a number of students blossoming into sprightly young dancers in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. She has choreographed and presented several special dance numbers and more than 20 solo and group dance dramas on various themes.
As a musician, Dr. Ambika Kameshwar started learning music from the age of five, under the guidance of her mother Smt. Sulochana Natarajan, and developed into a talented musician and singer. She had the opportunity of learning for short spells under Dr. Ramanathan and Smt. Rukmani Rajagopalan. For eight years, she received advanced training in music from ‘Sangeetha Kalanidhi’ Smt. D.K. Pattammal. She proudly says that she has an great opportunity of working under great music directors like Rajeswara Rao, S.V. Venkatraman, Illayaraja, Vijay Bhaskar, L. Krishnan, V.S. Narasimhan, Rajkumar Bharathi, H.K. Narayana, Siddharta, S. Vijai Shankar and with other singers of devotional group. As a composer she has composed music for many devotional songs and music of popular children’s albums. It very evident by her voice itself that one can expect classical tradition combined with melody and in- depth feeling in her music.
She is an experienced concert singer, having had several years of experience of singing solo concerts- both devotional and Karnatic classical. She had performed in various countries like USA, UK, Switzerland, Holland, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. She has recorded hundred cassettes of ‘Ramananjali’ in her core singing.
She has been recognized by many people and by many awards in the fields of Dance, Music and Indian Theatre. The recognition are of unique contribution by her to the respected fields. Dr. Ambika Kameshwar has been the recipient of several awards including several citations from the Lioness Clubs and tha Narada Gana Sabha Trust among others, for her excellence in and contribution to the field of dance and dance movement therapy. She has been given the award for the best lecture demonstration during the Natya Kala conference conducted by the Krishna Gana Sabha in December 1997. In march 1998, on the occasion of International Women’s Day and celebration of the golden jubilee of India’s independence, Dr. Ambika Kameshwar was awarded the Stree Ratna for her outstanding and constructive contribution to the feid of social service by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and K. Subrahmanyam Memorial Trust.
She was also the recipient of several other awards like, Bharatha Kala Ratna, Perumaikkuriya penman, The Pancharatna Award, The Kalavedi Award and the title of Sevakala Bharathi. She has received The Vocational Excellence Award from the Rotary Club of Madras Metro, Kumararaja AM Muthiah Chetti Memorial Award, Samskara Ratna from Bharat Vikas Parishad and Bharathi Puraskar by Bharati Yuva Kendra, Madurai.
She has been acclaimed by the press , an excerpt from The Hindu “ When drawn into the conversation about disabled children, Dr. Ambika Kameshwar transforms into a battery of energy. Her innate sense of rhythm and movement punctuate her words even as she draws images in thin air.”
C. Arokia Mary Ramya