Shoba Sharma
Artistic Director

Shoba was born in Madras, India and began her exceptional Bharatha Natyam dance career at the age of seven. Her dance gurus are the world-renowned Dhananjayans, who themselves were trained by the legendary Rukmini Devi Arundale, founder of Kalakshetra in India. Shoba was regarded as one of the foremost upcoming dancers while in India and performed at prestigious centers, including Krishna Gana Sabha, Music Academy and Narada Gana Sabha in Madras and the National Center for Performing Arts in Bombay.

After arriving in the United States in 1986, Shoba quickly established herself as one of the top performers of Bharata Natyam in North America. She is well known for her beautiful artistic interpretations of India’s timeless stories as well as for her vibrant technical skills. She has performed at several prestigious venues, including the Kimmel Center, the Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In 1991 Shoba established Naatya in Philadelphia. Naatya has distinguished itself by its strong adherence to the tradition and excellence of the dance form. Shoba has contributed to cross-cultural awareness in the Delaware Valley by presenting workshops at local schools, colleges, and universities. Her work has been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Main Line Today magazine. In August 2004, she was awarded the Rocky Award by the Philadelphia dance community. In October 2004, the City of Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations awarded her the 2004 Human Rights for Arts & Culture Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the Philadelphia community. Shoba performed to enthusiastic sold-out audiences at the Wilma Theater as part of Dance Boom 2003. She also performed at the celebrated Kimmel Center in Philadelphia to help raise funds for an orphanage in India. Shoba curated a day-long celebration “Remembering Rukmini Devi” attended by over 600 people at Haverford College, which included workshops, lectures and performances by experts in the field. Shoba and the Naatya dancers performance of “Pancha Maha Bhootham” at the Painted Bride in Spring 2004 won much acclaim. Shoba’s work has been recognized by numerous honors and awards, including the Fellowship and Apprenticeship Awards from the Pennsylvania Council in the Arts and a Dance Advance grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Shoba has also contributed to cross cultural awareness programs by organizing and presenting workshops and lecture demonstrations at local schools, colleges and universities.

Shoba has recently relocated to San Diego (Southern California) and continues to explore new avenues to present her traditional work and to create inter-cultural artistic conversations.