The Early Years

Shane Shambhu initially trained in bharatanatyam with Pushkala Gopal and Unnikrishnan in East London. Pushkala Gopal and Unnikrishnan both trained with The Dhananjayans in Chennai, India.  In addition to their bharatanatyam training, Pushkala trained as a Carnatic singer and still continues to sing, Unnikrishnan also trained in Kathakali from Kalamandalam. Pushkala and Unnikrishnan arrived in the UK in 1986 to perform in the production of Adventures Of Mowgli produced by Akademi.  They remained in the country to promote and present Indian Classical dance due to strong demand for their work at the time.  They launched a company, Akshaya Dance Theatre and set up a bharatanatyam class to train a new generation of bharatnatyam dancers in the UK.

Pushkala Gopal & Unnikrishnan

nine modes of expression

bharatanatyam and kathakali

Shane trained with Pushkala and Unnikrishnan for seven years before performing his Arangetram (Graduation Ceremony) in 1994. Following this, he continued teaching and performing for his teachers in their annual showcases and their company, Akshaya Dance Theatre.  

Shane wanted to pursue dance in his formal education.  However, coming from a then strict Indian upbringing, there was strong resistance from his family to follow that course. Not having discovered a passion for academic study in engineering, applied mathematics, business information systems and marketing management over three years, he left University without graduating.


During this time, he continued performing bharatanatyam repertoire at various community events and festivals both nationally and internationally including:


          Double-bill with Akram Khan (1999)

          Shaw Foundation Theatre, Singapore (2000)

          Annapurna Dance Company (2001)

          Pradosham a solo performance evening (2001)

          Nattuvanar for Mavin Khoo, Taiwan, Taipei (2001)

          Nattuvanar, Thirupathy Performance, India (2002)


Whilst Shane was performing and teaching, he furthered his training and knowledge with

           Mavin Khoo 

          Prof. C. V. Chandrasekar 

          Leela Samson 

          Adayar K. Lakshmanan