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Apsaras Arts Canberra

Bharata Natyam

Apsaras Arts Canberra was established in 1990 by Mrs Nandana Chellappah to propagate the Indian classical dance form, Bharatha Natyam, in its true traditional techniques. Over the last 30 years, the school has built up a noteworthy profile of artistic productions that showcased the talents of its students. Such successful productions include Secrets, New Directions, Secret Garden, The Prince and the Garland, Maha Shakti, Kaanikkai and Aandal. The school has also conducted numerous Arangetrams (dance debuts) and is known for its highly acclaimed dance-drama productions.

Mrs Nandana Chellappah began her training as a Bharatha Natyam dancer at the tender age of 5 under the tutelage of Rukmini Devi at the Kalakshetra School of Dance in India, and received her Diploma in Dance from Kalakshetra in 1975. She has since participated in many dance competitions in India and abroad, won several awards and accolades, and played key roles in major dance productions.

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Ira Patkar

Ira Patkar is an accomplished Indian Dancer and choreographer in the Kathak Tradition. Mumbai – born girl, Ira, was attracted to the Bollywood dance from an early age. Spotted her passion, parents decided to send her for proper education in Indian Classical Dance and Ira started to learn kathak from age 6 with her Guru Dr. Rajkumar ketkar. Ira studied dance through the tertiary level and was awarded her Degree (Kathak Visharad) from Gandharva University, India. Ira has a direct lineage to kathak Guru Padmashree Gopikrishna Ji who was one of the finest Kathak Dancer and Bollywood choreographer. Ira is experienced in commercial and parallel theater and acted in Indian play.  Ira has won many accolades including the Mumbai University Best Actor medal in 2001 and Maharashtra state level award in 1997 for her acting. Ira has done her education in Arts, holds a Masters Degree in Literature and got a Diploma in Journalism. Ira is working with ACT Education. In India, Ira worked as a television news reader for regional TV network and also played hosts on dancing/ singing based annual shows. Nowadays Ira often works as a Radio broadcaster on 91.1 FM Radio Manpasand, Canberra. As a dancer, Ira performed at an awards function including the prestigious Indian national television. Ira now lives in Canberra and has performed in various shows in Australia and India. Her passion for theater and dance led Ira to start Mudrakar Kathak Dance School in 2015 to educate students in Kathak. Ira is very passionate about her dance and choreography which gives her energy.

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Sadhanalaya School of Arts 


Vanaja Dasika is a highly trained professional performer, choreographer and musician now living and teaching in Canberra. Vanaja comes from a famous kuchipudi dance and music family which includes her teacher, the renowned Dr Vempati Chinna Satyam.  


Vanaja has been teaching kuchipudi dance and karnatic singing since she arrived here in September 2010. She is keen to meet new students and has already established a school in which she is teaching both the art forms

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Debora di Centa 

Debora Di Centa is a Canberra based independent dance artist and choreographer. Debora grew up in Italy and started dancing at a young age. She has extensive training in ballet, jazz, contemporary dance and she is an expert in Laban Movement Analysis . Debora studied and collaborated in dance works, research, and performances with various artists  and dance specialists around Europe, US and Asia.

Debora is currently pursuing her professional development around Australia, New Zealand and internationally. She teaches, performs, choreographs, and directs dance events working for professionals and in community settings. Since 2016 Debora is leading the Canberra Contact Improvisation community and is team memberof the Dance For Well Being program at Belconnen Arts Centre. She trains pre-professional Contemporary dancers at Dance Development Center Canberra and collaborates with Independent Artist Liz Lea, Canberra Dance Theatre, Praksis Canberra and Ausdance ACT. As independent  she works through her label ISEMS PROJECTS. 

Her motto is: “Dance for All!”

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Rainbow is an international award-winning burlesque performer, teacher and producer. She is the reigning Miss Burlesque ACT and was the winner of Burlesque Idol Australia 2017 Grand Final . This powerhouse of a performer is a regular fixture on the Australian burlesque scene, renowned for her fancy footwork, face and fan ability.


Since thrusting herself on the stage in 2015, Rainbow has danced on bars from Melbourne to Mackay, Townsville to Toowoomba and the Blue Mountains to Belconnen, performing in Adelaide Fringe, Sydney Fringe, World Fringe, the Australian Burlesque Festival, the BOLD Festival and Floriade among others. Prior to COVID 19, her choose-your-own burlesque adventure saw Rainbow travel to Georgia and Florida in the USA performing in the inaugural Savannah Burlesque Festival and the Golden Legend’s Champion Challenge where she was awarded the “So Clean So Fresh” (most polished act) and the “Golden Edge” (best neo burlesque) awards respectively.


In 2020 she embarked on new endeavours successfully producing the Burlesque Idol Canberra and Newcastle heats, and launching her new monthly dance-play experience, @brunchercize

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Liz Lea


Liz Lea is a performer, choreographer and producer based in Australia with 30 years experience working internationally. She worked for the Royal Opera House, Ranjabati Sircar, Imlata, Sankalpam, English National Opera and English Bach Festival. She has been commissioned in India, UK, Australia, South Africa, Singapore and USA. 

Liz was named as the 2017 ACT Artist of the Year and was awarded a 2017 Australian Dance Award.

She directs two Festivals - DANscienCE where dance and science meet and BOLD, celebrating the legacy of dance across all identities. Liz has extensive experience working with people with intellectual disabilities and has presented two TEDx performance talks (2014 and 2018). She has been an Asialink Resident, Artistic Director of Canberra Dance Theatre (2010-16), Creative Director of Ausdance ACT (2019) and is represented by Karen Gallagher and Associates. Liz sits on the ACT Arts Minister's Creative Council and the Access Advisory Group of the National Portrait Gallery.


In 2020 toured her solo show RED to the UK and acted as Movement Director for the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre, Kuwait. Then touring stopped and so did she for a while. She is currently working on a series of new projects for her community based organisation Australian Talented Youth Project, presenting a mini film Festival for I Day on the 3rd December and a film titled And... Breathe with producer Tamzin Nugent with support from the Zero Emissions fund.

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Andrea McCuaig 

Film Maker

ndrea McCuaig is a graduate in Fine Art Painting and Graphic Design and a current candidate for Doctor of Philosophy at ANU School of Art. Currently working from her studio at M16 Art Space in Griffith ACT. Andrea has exhibited in Australia for the past 16 years and holds collections in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.

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