Sheela Unnikrishnan is a renowned exponent of Bharatanatyam, one of the seven classical dance styles of India. She Combines tradition with innovation, classicism with creativity and the ethic with contemporary. She is extremely innovative, original, creative and a thoughtful Teacher. She has a special quality in shaping the subtle and psychological framework of a child as well.
Sheela Unnikrishnan was trained in Melathur style of Bharathanatyam under Late Guru Sri M. Sundaram (a prime Disciple of Masestro Mangudi Sri Dorairaja Iyer) and she has been able to imprint his legacy with her own dance persona. She is a popular teacher acclaimed by audiences and art critics alike in India.Sheela is the Founder-Director of SRIDEVI NRITHYALAYA. Students of her academy have participated Konark Dance Festival, Vysaki Nrithyotsav and Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Natyanjalis held inChidambaram,Tanjavur, Mayavaram,Perur,Tiruvaroor etc., and have become stars in popular TV shows like ‘Thaka Dhimi Tha’, ‘Konjum Salangai’ etc. Sheela’s Sridevi Nrithyalaya produced its first Balashree Awardee in 2009. She has choreographed more than 300 solo dance pieces, 8 thematic prestations and 7 dance dramas in Bharatanatyam. The dancers of Sridevi Nrithyalaya, trained under Sheela, have always outshone in their ability to be more creative, smart, sharp and more talented. Many of her disciples have won prestigious awards, scholarships and first prizes in various state level and National level competitions. Sheela has also conducted dance workshops and Lecture-Demonstrations in India and abroad.
Sheela Unnikrishnan has also endeavored to create new spaces for the classical dancers of today. With renewed fervor, she has attempted to push the frontiers of classical art and to reach out to new and especially young audiences. Sheela believes that dance must be linked to life and artistes must use their unique position in society to make a difference to life and living. A first class Post Graduate in Chemistry and a Graduate of Education, Sheela has also completed M.F.A., (Bharatanatyam) in first class and is currently working on completing Doctorate in Bharatanatyam. “Katradhu kai mann alavu; kallaadhadhu ulagalavu” – this is the mantra of Sheela Unnikrishnan. She continues her journey in this divine path of art, by keeping herself receptive for learning, and encourages her students too to be open for learning.