Who we are

Management

Chief Executive Officer         Ananda Mohan Bhaskar

Artistic Director                       Santha Bhaskar

Co-Artistic Director                Meenakshy Bhaskar

 

Mission

To create, produce, present and promote Indian (South Asian) dance, music and theatre performances
• that are ingrained in our uniquely evolving style of art-making that is reflective of the Singapore spirit and its multiculturalism
• while being rooted in traditional techniques and philosophy
• to domestic and international audiences

History & Timeline

Bhaskar’s Arts Academy Ltd is an Indian performing arts group based in Singapore. Established in 1952, when the late Mr KP Bhaskar first stepped foot in Singapore, the Academy remains one of the longest standing providers of classical Indian performing arts in Singapore. Take a look at our timeline to get a glimpse of our vibrant past!

2010s

 

2016

BAA opens the year with Prahalada Charitam, a full-length Kathakali production featuring Priyadarshini Nagarajah, it’s first female artiste. Santha Bhaskar’s Na Mah celebrates a two-day sold-out run at the Esplanade. Vinayaka, BAA’s three-way collaboration with Sasana Budaya Art Troupe (Indonesia) and Singa Nglaras Gamelan Ensemble (Sinagpore) receives unreserved appreciation under Meenakshy Bhaskar’s creative direction.

Ramayana: Ashoka Vanam goes to Bangkok, Thailand as part of the ASEAN Plus Ramayana Festival.

President Tony Tan awards Santha Bhaskar the Bintang Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Star) in recognition of the decades of contributing to the cultural landscape of Singapore.

2015

BAA’s Orchestra is brought to the next level with the staging of Raga Sandhya, the inaugural music production featuring Swathi (BAA’s youth orchestra). It is also the year BAA is awarded double honours with the Singapore International Festival of Arts commissioning Returning under the artistic direction of Madam Goh Lay Kuan, as well as Smriti Padha, a collaboration with Kerala Kalamandalam under the artistic direction of Santha Bhaskar. BAA also showcased the talents of young choreographers Dhana Bharathi, Usha Anbalagan, Shangari Sadheesh and Hemalatha Sathasivam with their “Tales from the Panchatantra” in Puraskara.

Ramayana goes on tour to New Delhi, Patna and Kolkatta as part of the Ramayana Mela in India.

2014

BAA’s Kathakali Troupe gets the honour to present Kiratham together with maestro Kalanilayam Kochu Narayana Pillai. Performed by six 3rd generation dancers, Bhairavi marks the coming-of-age of choreographer Ambujah Thiru, who is a student of Santha Bhaskar.  Through choreographer Meenakshy Bhaskar’s Yaatra IV, BAA forays into creating awareness of social issues such as the plight of domestic violence victims through dance.

 2013

April 17, 2013

With the heaviest heart, students, teachers, staff, parents and well-wishers of BAA and NAS bid farewell to our Founder and CEO Mr KP Bhaskar. In his passing, Singapore loses a pioneering force and visionary in the field of arts.

XPressions is presented to music composition of renowned flautist and international musician BV Balasai. In collaboration with inDANCE (Canada), the Academy presents I, Cyclops at the CanAsian International Dance Festival in Toronto and restages it in Singapore with the full international cast.

The epic Ramayana is re-choreographed by Young Artiste Award recipient Meenakshy Bhaskar to a mix of fusion and traditional music and is presented at the launch of the Wellington Diwali Festival and the Diwali Festival of Lights Mela 2013 in Wellington, New Zealand.

2012

Santha Bhaskar choreographs for local comedian Kumar’s Amazing Race.

2011

A rich year of productions, starting with Santha Bhaskar’s collaboration with the Biological Arts Theatre’s Dr S Chandrasekaran, which results in Infinite Saree. With guest choreography by Canada-based Hari Krishnan, Purnima/Full Moon is presented. Under the invitation of S-VYASA, the Academy performs CHAKRA – the Philosophies of Vivekananda in Bangalore, India and under the invitation of the Thai government the Academy represents Singapore at the International Ramayana Festival in Bangkok, Thailand.

2010

Under guest choreographer PT Narendran of Kalakshetra, Thandava is produced. Meenakshy Bhaskar presents Yaatra III in collaboration with Flamenco guitarist Roberto Corrias. The Academy represents Singapore at the Bali Arts Festival in Bali, Indonesia.

2000s

2009

Incorporating Yoga and its concepts, Santha Bhaskar choreographs CHAKRA. Representing Singapore, the Academy performs at the Children’s Festival in Shanghai, China.

2008

Senior dancer and choreographer Ambujah Thiru choreographs her first full-length dance drama Thirukutrala Kuravanji. Bhaskar’s Recording House opens its doors. The Academy represents Singapore at the World Folk Music Festival in Beijing, China.

2007

Bhed, a contrasting performance is brought to stage, featuring script and choreography by senior students of the Academy as well as dance styles such as Bollywood, Kollywood and Hiphop.

2006

Santha Bhaskar’s contemporary concept People Get Connected and India-based guest choreographer Jayashree Narayanan’s Vana Mahotsavam are staged.

2003

With music by BV Balasai, vocals by Dr Balamurali Krishna and guest choreography by Dr Saraswati Sundaresan, the mystical dance drama Quest is staged. Pushing boundaries, Santha Bhaskar choreographs Rasa & Dhwani, a production based on local poetries in the various languages.

2001

Bhaskar’s Arts Gallery opens and holds its first Contemporary Art Exhibition.

1990s

1999

Full-length dance drama Aum Muruga – Kandhan Kavadi is staged, entirely conceptualised and choreographed by eight of Santha Bhaskar’s graduate students. Under the invitation of the Indian Government, Parinaamam tours India for the Indian Ramayana Festival, and receives warm welcome everywhere including Ayodhya, the mythical birthplace of Lord Rama.

1998 – 2000

Meenakshy Bhaskar represents Singapore in the ASEAN tour of Realizing Rama.

1998

The Core Dancers’ Programme is established to groom talented students.

1996 Meenakshy Bhaskar, dancer and choreographer, is awarded the Young Artist Award for her contributions to Dance. Manohra, an original blend of Indian and Thai dance, music and costumes, premieres at the Singapore Festival of Arts, with Meenakshy playing the lead role of Manohra.

1995 Ghanavenothan Retnam, resident flautist, musician and composer, is awarded the Young Artist Award for his contributions to Music while Nirmala Seshadri, student of Santha Bhaskar, is awarded the Young Artist Award for her contributions to Dance. Bhaskar’s Arts Academy represents Singapore at the Angkor International Ramayana Festival, performing Parinaamam at the majestic Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Meenakshy Bhaskar, who was cast in the lead role of Sita, is deemed the Best Dancer of the festival by the Straits Times, Singapore.

1994

Ghanavenothan Retnam, resident flautist and flute instructor, conducts the first flute arangetram in Singapore.

1993

Bhaskar’s Arts Academy is registered as a non-profit company limited by guarantee with charity status and takes on the role of the performing wing of Nrityalaya. Parinaamam, a bold retelling of the Hindu epic Ramayana based on local poem “Sita’s Complaint”, premieres at the Festival of Asian Performing Arts.

1992

With music composed by Dr Padma Subramaniam and featuring a multi-national orchestra, Nrityalaya collaborates with the Singapore Indian Fine Arts and Apsaras Arts to stage Ritu Mahatmyam for the Singapore Arts Festival. Later that year, Nrityalaya performs at the ASEAN Festival of Arts in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

1991

In collaboration with Sopanam, an India-based Indian theatre group, Ottayan is staged. Santha Bhaskar’s choreography Devi Mahatmyam premieres at the Singapore Dance Festival and Nrityalaya performs at the World Folk Dance Festival in Chiba, Japan.

1990

Santha Bhaskar is awarded the prestigious Cultural Medallion by the government of Singapore for her contribution in dance.

1980s

1989

Santha Bhaskar’s Ardha Nareeswara is showcased at the 5th Singapore Festival of Dance. 1988

The Bhaskar’s set up Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society, a teaching institution dedicated to bringing the arts to the masses. They offer a full flight of classes in music, dance and art.

1970s

1977

Santha Bhaskar starts teaching at the National University of Singapore’s Centre for Musical Activities (now known as Centre for the Arts)

1972 – 1978

Bhaskar’s Dance Academy is invited to regularly perform at the Istana. Among the many dignitaries present was Queen Elizabeth II.

1960s

February 24, 1963

Meenakshy Bhaskar, their third child and only daughter is born.

1961 – 1965

Bhaskar’s Dance Academy actively participates in Aneka Ragam Rakyat, a multi-cultural performance series promoting Singapore arts in small remote villages in Singapore.

April 30, 1961

Their second child Ananda Ram is born.

1950s

1959

Santha Bhaskar choreographs her first full-length dance drama Kutrala Kuravanji. The cast includes Chinese students who not only were students of Bhaskar’s Dance Academy but also learnt dance from the Bhaskars in government schools.

1958 Santha Bhaskar conducts the first Bharatha Natyam Arangetram in Singapore.

1955 – 1958

Bhaskar’s Dance Academy expands its teaching and performance to Malaysia.

January 16, 1958 The Bhaskars welcome their first child, Ananda Mohan in India.

1955 Mr Bhaskar travels to India and marries 16-year-old Pankyamma Santhamma. The newly married couple arrive in Singapore, where they continue performing and teaching dance under the company Bhaskar’s Dance Academy.

1952

Mr KP Bhaskar transits in Singapore on his way to Australia, but serendipity keeps him in this multi-cultural island. 1952 – 1955 Mr Bhaskar establishes himself as the first classical Indian dance teacher in what will be the Republic of Singapore.