APPEX Fellows from India


Tashi Dhondup, 1999, 2000
was born and raised in India and began dancing at the age of eight. At age 12 he became the youngest member to join TIPA (Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts) where he performed in operas and had the opportunity to tour to Northern India for three months. He went on to further his training in Tibetan dance, music and opera, and in 1989 became a Junior Artist at TIPA and went on his first tour abroad to Scandinavia. He has performed in Europe and the United States and was featured in Martin Scorsese's film, "Kundun". He is a virtuoso performer of the six-stringed darnyn and is also developing his skills as a playwright and filmmaker.


Tsering Dorjee (Bawa), 2000
was born in Shimla, India, and is a distinguished Senior Artist at TIPA (Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts). He has been active as a performing artist, specializing in Tibetan Folk and Monastic dance. Dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan arts in exile, he is also a research scholar at TIPA. He has been on numerous cultural exchange programs, including performances in the Netherlands and a World tour as a dancer and musician. In addition, he has been featured in Eric Villi's film "Caravan" as well as Martin Scorsese's "Kundun".





Keremane Shivanand Hegde, 1996
is from Karnataka, where he is the fourth generation of his family to perform the Uttar Kannada style of Yakshagana, a traditional South Indian theatre form. He is adept at performing both male and female characters, which is a rare skill in this art form. In 1985 Shivanand left Karnataka to enter the Natya Institute of Choreography in New Delhi, studying choreography and Kathak under the direction of Maya Rao. This program gave him a foundation in various folk and classical performance traditions from other parts of India. Between 1990 and 1992 he was supported by an Indian government scholarship for cultural workers. After achieving distinction in the art circles of Delhi, he returned to his home in Karnataka and became one of the leaders of the renowned company, Sri. Idagunji Mahaganapaati Yakshagana Mandali, Keremane. He has toured with the company internationally.


Ettumanoor Parameswaran Kannan, 2000
is a performer of traditional Kathakali from Kerala, India. He began studying this remarkable theatre form in 1976 under the late Kalanilayam Mohankumar. In 1989 he studied facial expression under Padmasree Mani Madhavachakyar and continued into higher level training in Kathakali under Kalamandam Vasu Pisharody from 1990 to 1993. He has won numerous awards for his Kathakali performance and has performed in the United States as well as many other areas both inside and outside of Kerala. He has also been engaged in the development of new creative works that incorporate Kathakali techniques and is currently a researcher in the International Centre for Kerala Studies at the University of Kerala.



"The cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approach has opened my mind and settled in my subconscious in such a way that I find myself looking at life and art in a more conscious and fresher way." Vinay Kumar

Vinay Kumar, 1996, 1997
Born in South India, Mr. Kumar is a dancer, actor and director who studied theater at the School of Drama in Calicut University in Kerala. He won a first prize for his direction of the play ‘Stree’ performed by the Women’s Polytechnic Campus Theatre. In 1992, he joined the Ankanam Theater Company where he studied several different traditional Indian performance genres including Kalaripayattu, Kathakali and Kootiyattam. He has given theatre workshops in voice and movement training and acted in a short film on environmental preservation. As an independent artist, he is working to create a new contemporary Indian theatre style.


Koyppa Sarada Narayanan, 1997
Known professionally as Painkulam Narayanan Chakyar, Mr. Narayanan was born in Kerala to the distinguished Chakyar family of traditional storytellers and actors of Sanskrit drama tradition of Kootiyattam. Having studied from the age of ten under the late guru Painkulam Rama Chakyar, who is credited for the revival of the art form, Mr. Narayanan has participated in several key cultural events, including the prestigious Kootiyattam Festival held in New Delhi. He has traveled internationally, conducting several workshops, as well as co-directing the experimental production of Bhasa's Swapnavasavadatham (produced by Darpana Academy, 1992). As his family holds the rights to conduct Kootiyattam performances at various temples, he perpetuates the tradition by teaching the younger generations that will follow.


Sonam Phuntsok, 1999
was born in Gangtok, North Sikkim. He has studied at TIPA since 1976 and has a Masters degree in Tibetan music and religious/monastic dance. He has toured Europe, Asia and the United States since 1986, and every year since 1991 he has performed leading roles in the Opera (Shoton) Festival. With Hubert von Goisern, he produced a CD as well as an audio record (a blend of western and Tibetan folk songs) and played a leading role in Martin Scorsese's film "Kundun" as Reting Rinpoche. Sonam has taught Tibetan folk music and monastic dance at the Middlebury College in Vermont and has been an opera (Lhamo) teacher at TIPA since 1995.


Tombisana Rajkumar, 1999
is a Manipuri martial artist and theatre director from Imphal, India. Over his professional career, he has used the traditional martial arts of Manipur known as Huyen Lallong (or popular term Thang Ta, the art of the sword and the spear) to enhance the performance of his actors in an effort to create a new contemporary Manipur style of theatre. Tombisana is an actor and theatre director with the Forum for Laboratory Theatres of Manipur, and has studied under the guidance of G. Gourakishore Sharma, Thang Ta with Guru S. Devabrata, and ritual in martial arts with Guru M. Ebotombi Singh. He received a B. Sc. from Gauhati University and has taught at the National School of Drama in New Delhi. His international experience includes workshops for British actors on martial energy and trance and a 1997 intercultural production of "MacBeth" in London, England. He has toured Japan, and has presented programs, demonstrations and workshops in Manipuri martial arts for international festivals in Calcutta, London and Dusseldorf.


S. S. Kalai RaniS.S. Kalai Rani, 1997
An actress trained at the Chennai Film Institute as well as at the Tamil Nadu Government Music College, Kalai Rani applies her performing arts experience to her work as the resource person at the Children’s Theatre Workshop/Koothu-p-pattarai Theatre Group in Tamil Nadu. Though her formal training focuses on the traditional Indian disciplines such as Kootiyattam, Karnatik music and Thala, Ms. Rani has also worked extensively in Western theater productions, thus expanding her range of cross-cultural performance forms.




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