Sumati Nagpal – Artistic Director, Swastik Institute of Dance
Sumati Nagpal is an award-winning Kathak dancer and choreographer, and the most accomplished Indian classical dance exponent in Australia.
Born and raised in India, Sumati is a protege of Dr Jaswinder Kaur and Guru Rajendra Gangani Ji – the latter is the recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the highest award given for performing arts in India. Guru Rajendra Gangani Ji is also most eminent figure in Jaipur Gharana (school) of Kathak. Sumati has learnt the timeless art of Kathak from the most exceptional gurus in India and is now sharing the knowledge with Sydney-based subjects.
Sumati gained a masters degree in dance from Punjab University in Chandigarh, India, and went on to become the head of dance faculty at Delhi Public School, Ludhiana. She has won several awards and scholarships; choreographed shows for companies such as Red Cross, Bharat Vikas Parishad and Intel, and contributed to events like SPIC MACAY.
She moved to Australia in 2007 and founded Swastik Institute of Dance in 2008. A highly accomplished Kathak dancer and choreographer, Sumati is also adept at teaching Bollywood and other Indian-folk dance styles, such as Bhangra and Garbha.
Sumati works with a large group of dance teachers at Swastik and oversees the progress of each and every class and student, and personally conducts a number of intermediate and advanced dance classes each week.
As the artistic director of Swastik, Sumati choreographs dance shows for live Bollywood show of some of India’s biggest stars visiting Australia for concerts – from Shankar Mahadevan and Mika to Sukhvinder Singh.
Sumati’s dance shows have been featured on Channel 7 and Channel 9, and her theatre productions such as A Magical Journey with Krishna (2016) and Kathak Darpan (2017) have enjoyed sell-out success at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatre.
Michele started her Kathak journey at the age of eight in Suva, Fiji. She was introduced to Kathak by her guru, Shakti Roberts, and instantly fell in love with the classical dance form. While learning in Fiji, Michele also participated in dance ballets and travelled around Fiji to perform at various festivals. At the age of nine, she was the youngest dancer in her troupe and performed solo at a Diwali mela held at stadium in Churchill Park, Lautoka.
After moving to New Zealand, Michele continued to learn Kathak under the guidance of her guru, Leena Chhaganlal. From her guru Michele got the opportunity and inspiration to play one of the leading roles in the dance ballet based on the story of Prahalad, wherein she played the role of Prahlad’s father, the king known as Hiranyakashipu.
Michele, together with her guru and team members, won the second place for a Kathak-Flamenco Fusion dance in Auckland. Through Leena, Michele also got to meet leading Bollywood actress and classical dancer, Hema Malini, who came to the dance school to give an inspirational talk.
Aside from Kathak, Michele also learnt Bharatnatyam for a few years from her guru, Archana Koorthy, and got many opportunities to perform at various functions.
In 2000, Michele cofounded a dance school called Indian Cultural School of Dance, with Komal Patel, where they taught Kathak and choreographed many semi-classical dances, folk dances and Bollywood dances. Michele and Komal ran the school for three years and with their students performed for their communities at various cultural festivals.
Moving to Sydney, Michele was fortunate to meet Sumati Nagpal, who has further inspired and motivated her to not just to continue learn Kathak but also to teach again. From her guru, Sumati, Michele has enjoyed furthering her journey in learning Kathak and recently realised one of her dreams of being part of the workshops conducted by Pandit Rajendra Gangani Ji.
Michele has been teaching at Swastik Institute of Dance since 2016, and is thoroughly enjoying the challenge of teaching the classical dance form and also choreographing dance items for her students.
Kristy is a dental professional with a passion for dance, which began at a very young age. She has had a traditional upbringing, which has always kept her attached to her ethnic roots. Kristy joined Swastik Institute of Dance to pursue formal Kathak training in 2010. In October 2017, she attended an advanced intensive Kathak workshop conducted by renowned Guruji Pandit Rajendra Gangani.
Kristy started teaching under the guidance of her Guru, Sumati Nagpal; initially assisting, then taking group and private classes independently. Throughout the years as a teacher and choreographer, she has continued to inspire students of all ages and levels. Apart from teaching, she has been actively involved in performing live with various acclaimed Bollywood artists. Over the years, Kristy has evolved into a talented project manager, organising and coordinating several shows.
Born in Nepal and raised in Australia, Sifa appreciates the significance of embracing different art forms and the importance of sharing them with the wider public. Her interest in dance started in her early teens where she would choreograph and perform with friends for Nepalese and Indian community organisations and in high school. It wasn’t until she started university that she decided to challenge and motivate herself to learn a classical form of dance – Kathak at Swastik Institute of Dance.
Since then, she has learnt and gained vital knowledge and skills of rhythm, movement and delicate techniques. She has showcased and performed the art of Kathak and Bollywood at various cultural events and theatres. Outside her professional career as a town planner, she continues to spare time to get involved in teaching and coordinating dance for not-for-profit organisations within the Nepalese community and helps organise events within the Indian community.
In addition, Sifa teaches and choreographs at Swastik on a regular basis as a senior teacher and enjoys every class of hers to the fullest. She is currently teaching a wide range of dance forms, which include Bollywood, Kathak, Bhangra and Garbha. She believes, there is no age or level for anyone to dance. Everyone is capable of dancing at their own level and she gives her patience, energy and technical ability to help each student grow to love the art form of dance.
Mishty realised she wanted to channel her creativity and explore her love of the performing arts when she finished high school. From here she found Swastik Institute of Dance and has never been happier.
She has always admired and been inspired by theatre and cinema while growing up. She found Kathak to be a perfect way to amalgamate her love for the traditions of India and the joy of dance movement.
Under the guidance of her Guru Sumati Nagpal, she is grateful to not only learn Kathak and Bollywood but also be able to share the gift of dancing to many like her by becoming a teacher.
In 2016 she played the role of Radha in the school’s annual production, A Magical Journey with Krishna, and during her years has had many opportunities to share the stage with international renowned artists. She has also gained many skills under the guidance of Sumati while being assistant choreographer for the 2016 Miss India Australia Pageant.
Mishty has also had the chance to teach refugee students as she feels there is no greater way to come together than with the power of dance and music.
Shurobhi was introduced to the world of dance at the age of four in India. She learnt Bharatnatyam until the age of 20 before she moved to Australia. She trained mainly under the guidance of her guru Shri Unni Krishnan and performed her Arengetram at the age of 13. She has performed at multiple cultural festivals and has won various awards in competitions.
She was an active participant throughout her school and university life and has also choreographed dances for school and university events. She won the best dancer award by the Governor of Madhya Pradesh in India.
Shurobhi is also a self-taught Bollywood and Bengali Rabindrik dancer. She has taken part in various plays and dance dramas in India.
After moving to Australia she switched dance forms to learn Kathak with Swastik Institute of Dance. She has been with Swastik since 2015 and continues to grow. She got introduced to rigorous Bollywood dancing through Swastik. She is not just a student and a performer at Swastik but also a teacher. She teaches Kathak and does choreography for various age groups that learn at Swastik.
She enjoys interacting with children a lot. She has completed her certificate 3 in early childhood education and is currently pursuing her Masters of Teaching as a high school Science Teacher. She has worked at various child-care centres and has taught science at a High School.