SHRUTI NARAYANAN | CREATIVE DIRECTOR & HEAD INSTRUCTOR
Shruti Narayanan is the Director of Samai Oriental Dance Company and is an internationally-acclaimed performing artist, choreographer, certified Egyptian folklore teacher and instructor from Bengaluru, India. She has been performing and teaching bellydance for over a decade and began her dance journey at the tender age of 4 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. For the first 16 years of her life, Shruti was raised in the Middle East and was exposed to a host of Indian performing arts by her parents, as a means of keeping her connected to her culture and roots in a foreign country. While in Jeddah, Shruti was rigorously trained in Bharatnatyam (Kalakshetra) under her Guru, Pushpa Suresh for over a decade and completed her Arangetram (Graduation and/Or Professional Debut) at the age of 15. It is this structured practice and disciplined outlook from her classes as a Bharatnatyam disciple, that have now seeped into her personal bellydance practices and is central to her ideology of Oriental dance education at her school, Samai Oriental Dance Company, founded in 2019.
Shruti has a keen interest in the socio-political, cultural and historical aspects of Oriental, North African and Middle Eastern dances and spends a great deal of time working on historical reconstructions of dances from the early 1900s. She is also known for her choreographies and dances inspired by the Golden and Transition Eras in Egypt and her dances inspired by Reda technique. She is currently the only certified practitioner for Muwashahat in India and holds an IDTA associate title for Reda technique, certifications in Egyptian folklore, the Drumzy Foundation Programme Level 1 by Hossam and Serena Ramzy and the prestigious Journey Through Egypt certifications, 1 to 3 by Sahra C. Kent.
Shruti is actively committed to imparting a well-rounded education in bellydance, going beyond the technicalities of the dance style. She has a number of dance productions to her credit. From charting the evolution of Bellydance to representing the dances and music that emerged from the Golden Era, to infusing Bellydance vocabulary with universal themes such as the Tarot and weaving socially-relevant stories of women through the protagonists of the the Indian Epic, Mahabharat with contemporary bellydance vocabulary - she has done it all. Her projects and productions are a reflection of her desire to preserve the essence of the dance form through various mediums, while engaging the audience in the diversity of bellydance and its deep historical legacy. You will find that her body of work is largely informative, socially-relevant and elegantly designed. She has presented performances at various international festivals and platforms across India, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Italy and has taught at prestigious online platforms and events such as Bwitchs International Festival, Kan Zaman Golden Era Music and Dance Festival and has also been the Jury for the first ever, International Raqs Film Festival.
Apart from being a dancer, Shruti is a classically-trained singer, professional Tarot Reader, a certified Reiki practitioner and holds degrees in Business Management, Arts Management and Egyptology.
MEGHANA B. SURESH | SENIOR INSTRUCTOR & OPERATIONS MANAGER
Like most South Indian girls in the 90s, Meghana forayed into dancing at the age of 4 through Bharatanatyam classes and has since then ventured into other forms such as Contemporary and Bollywood styles of dance. However, she found her true calling with Bellydance in 2010 with Payal’s Dance Academy and has since dedicatedly pursued this beautiful artform that is steeped in culture and history. She was also a senior instructor and member of the professional dance troupe - Isadora’s Muse under the mentorship of Payal Gupta until 2019.
Meghana has been trained in various styles under Bellydance such as Vintage/Golden era, Classic Oriental/Raqs Sharqi, and the Reda Style/Repertoire.
With a teaching experience of 5 years under her belt, Meghana is currently the Operations Manager and Senior Instructor at Samai Oriental Dance Company and will train aspiring ‘Foundation Level’ students. A staunch believer in having a research-based approach to understanding the mostly misunderstood dance form that is Raqs Sharqi, Meghana also loves working with props such as Fan Veils (one of her specialties), Veils, Sword, and incorporating movements from varied dance repertoire into her choreographies.
Recently, her dance film ‘Chrysalis’ was also one of the top 5 nominees under the ‘Best Fusion’ and ‘Best Artistic Production’ at the 1st International Raqs Film Festival organized by the iconic dancer Kamala Almanazar and Dance Garden LA, U.S.A in June 2021.
When she is not dancing, Meghana is either working as a content writer for a Finance Company, painting, reading, watching the latest K-drama on Netflix, or dreaming about dumplings.