Team2017-09-04T13:48:21+00:00

Meet our artists

40 artists from around the globe, united in their passion to share the love of India’s Culture all over the world.

Ethan Smith
Ethan Smith
The tone of Ethan Smith’s saxophone represents the eloquent sound of true Afro Jazz. Currently based in Poland, but born and raised in Cape Town South Africa, Smith has become a great ambassador for the world music scene. Versatile and fluent in multiple wind instruments he always memorizes his audiences with his soulful sounds. Smith has been involved with Viva kultura since 2012 and has gradually become an integral part of their music productions. He is formerly trained at the university of Cape Town in Jazz performance but has spent many years travelling to India where he has assimilated the traditional sounds and rhythms of the native music. Whether it be through his saxophone or flutes or simply his exotic appearance his contribution to the Festival of India is priceless and no musical act is complete without him.
Rasarani Harrison
Rasarani Harrison
Born in the UK, but brought up in cosmopolitan West Bengal, India, Rasarani Harrison has a flare for theatre. She has spent most of her life touring with the Festival of India. She has completed 15 annual tours and is involved with many different productions such as the puppet shows, contemporary theatre to Indian folkdance. Rasarani draws on the vibrancy of her childhood surroundings and continues to allure the audience into the mesmerizing world of Festival of India.
Mariia Ragozina
Mariia Ragozina
At 23 Mariia Ragozina already has a decade of professional dancing and traveling experience behind her. Between 1998 and 2008 she toured with ‘Improvisation’, a group specializing in Jazz-modern and contemporary dancing performing both at regional and national level in Russia. She has received training at various studios in India like the Delhi Dance Academy, NSDA in Mumbai as well as Kannon Dance in St Petersburg. She has been with the Festival of India for the past five years where she has immersed herself in the theatrical productions including contemporary yoga demonstrations. Ragozina’s versatility as a performer makes her one of the most valuable members of the Festival of India cast. Her dedication and iridescent spirit on stage leaves audiences inspired and intrigued.
Pavel Zaykov
Pavel Zaykov
The son of a Belarusian bass player and pianist, Pavel Zyakov had little chance of escaping the creative power pulsing through his blood. Painting since childhood, he has now etched an identity for himself as a professional tattoo artist. Pavel’s musician’s genes were kindled when he first heard the sounds of heavy rock music and he has consequently travelled in Belarus for many years as a freelance drummer and percussionist. In 2006 he joined the stages of Festival of India. Not only a musician and artist, but also now a budding actor, he leaves audiences with tears of laughter.
Padma Locana Heidemann
Padma Locana Heidemann
Born in a lineage of great Martial Art Masters, Padma Locan, 20 years old has been doing Vedic Martial Arts since he was at the age of seven. Trained up by his father from his childhood, now an international touring martial Arts entertainer. Padma has developed a very artistic way of introducing the classic weapons of India’s ancient times. He performs the martial art act on stage with a vibrant music backing track and exhibits the different dynamics of the weapons. Today, with more than 13 years of training he practices Karate, Muay Thai, Manipuri Thang-Ta, and other various weapon arts. He joined the Festival India in 2014 and has had audience across the world on the edges of their seats ever since.
Venera Gumerova
Venera Gumerova
Venera Gumerova’s explorative and artistic spirit has lead her from her Russian roots into the emotion-filled landscape of Indian Kathak dancing. With an honors in art she has transformed her life into a kaleidoscope of different colours, moving between different mediums of expression such as fire dancing, street theatre and the stage. She has graced the stages of Festival of India since 2013 and channels her experience and energy into each of her vivid performances.
Stephen Bell
Stephen Bell
Stephen Bell has his origins as a professional Jazz musician but since his graduation from the South African College of Music, Bell’s artistic horizons have found new heights. Having majored in piano, clarinet, accordion and trumpet performance, Bell has multi instrumental musical skills. However, his real contribution does not lie in performance alone, but allowing the artists around him to reach their full potential. Bell joined the Festival of India in 2012 as a stage musician and actor and has gradually become more involved in the entire artistic direction of the festival. He is now the stage manager and ensures that the performers and acts are at optimal level. Having extensive experience in stage production and musical accompaniment, Bell has the sensitivities and finesse to accommodate, inspire and motivate his fellow artists.
Tatiana Bogdanova
Tatiana Bogdanova
Tatiana Bogdanova has thrived on cultural diversity from the age of 5 when she joined the famous Rodnitchok dance studio. Over a span of ten years she learned the art of classical dance as well as traditional folk dances from many different countries. Imbibing the enthusiasm and creativity of her fellow stage performers she has also deepened her art and techniques. She has worked with established directors from Russia, South Africa, Canada and India. In 2006 she joined the bustling tour group of the Festival of India and expanded her skills to that of puppeteering and acrobatics. Bogdanova is a core member of the festival of India cast and her experience and maturity provides great support for new cast members. She is a master at translating the ancient Indian mysticism into something relatable to everyone in the audience.
Diana Volokhova
Diana Volokhova
Diana Volokhova’s life has followed the rhythms of a great many different dances. From ballet to Indian Kathak, from modern to Odissi. She graduated with a diploma in choreography and has opened her own dance school, Rasa dance. For the past two years, she has been living in India where she still studies Indian Kathak and has performed with her team in Agra and Dehli. Diana’s expertise does not only end on the dance floor, but extends to the backstage arena where she also designs costumes for various dancers. For the past 5 years, she has given further depth to her skills while travelling with the Festival of India. With her multifaceted talents and artist’s eye she brings beauty to all audiences.
Popava Aleksandra Yuryevna
Popava Aleksandra Yuryevna
Popava Aleksandra Yuryevna is the lady with the soul-stirring voice. She is a professional singer with 14 years performing experience having lead vocal groups that are based across France, Spain and Russia. She has won several competitions in Russia like Ural Stars and the international Mix-Art in Ekaterinburg as well as the Berlin Perl and Badener Schneeflocke. Popava’s talent does not end with singing as she had the main role in the musical of Cinderella in her home town. In her Festival of India performances she combines vocal pop prowess with ancient mantra jazz fusion and has the audiences spell bounded upon hearing.
Ihor Panchenko
Ihor Panchenko
Ukraine-born Ihor Panchenko is one of the long-standing members of the Festival of India. He joined in 2005 and has been involved with performances in Poland, India, Ukraine, Moldava as well as Belarus. He plays a foundational role in the set-up and backstage-coordination, but Ihor is also a seasoned body-builder as well as actor.
Polina Shnyptieva
Polina Shnyptieva
Polina Shnyptieva is at home in the air as others are on earth and performs heart-stopping feats in her aerial rope act. Graduating with her honors in choreography at the National Circus Studio in Ukraine, Polina Shnyptieva is making a name for herself in acrobatics. She is a laureate of all Ukrainian as well as international competitions held across Europe. Currently she is exploring modern choreography and improving her skills in all its facets. She has been a part of Festival of India since 2013 combing her acrobatic skills with dramatic theatre.
Mukhtar Mussinov
Mukhtar Mussinov
As part of the lineage who founded the Kazakhstan National Drama Theatre, Mukhtar Mussinov has been brought up in a home filled with music and arts. He graduated as a violinist from the Kazakh State College for gifted children as well as studied Jazz violin at the Moscow Studio for Musical Improvisation. Between 1995 and 2005 he toured as a band member for Russian songstress, Linda, under the famous producer singer-songwriter Maxim Fadeev. Mukhtar’s talent extends to even South Korea and India where he has worked as a violinist and teacher. He has played with the Symphony Orchestra of India, Seoul National Symphony Orchestra as well as the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. One of Mukhtar’s crowning achievements has been to play during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, where he was joined by one of Russia’s top DJ’s. This performance later received the ‘Lion of Kannes’ award, which is the highest international advertising award, comparable to the Oscars Academy Award in cinematography. Since 1996 he has travelled with the Festival of India not only as a gifted violinist, but also an actor. His depth of experience has made him a core member of the Festival and has awed all who hears him.
Lili Alexandrova Ivanova
Lili Alexandrova Ivanova
Formerly a trained psychologist, Lili Ivanova found her meaning in the arts. Music, fine art, photography and theatre, Lili has the heart of an artist. Combining her artistic sense with her professional background in therapy, yoga and martial arts, she has combined her physical abilities and creativity to help and heal through entertainment. After assisting to establish the educational and cultural centre, the ‘Gauranga Yoga Institute’ in Bulgaria, Lili fulfilled her dream of becoming an actor in the Festival of India in 2015. She is casted in unique roles that allow her to exhibit her physical prowess.
Mazina Ekaterina Andreevna
Mazina Ekaterina Andreevna
Mazina Ekaterina Andreevna was born in Russia, in the city of Saratov. Since she was a mere 4 years old she studied dance, after which she graduated from the professional College of Arts, as well as the Art Institute with a specialization in “teacher-choreographer”. Her performances span genres, including Indian, folk and various modern styles. She has been travelling with the Festival of India since 2016 as a dancer. Mazina brings with her a wealth of teaching experience together with a true passion for her field.
Maksym Ielfimov
Maksym Ielfimov
Maksym Ielfimov was born in Ukraine in 1989. Since he was 7 years old his family were frequent travelers, and this allowed him to take part in many cultural and educational programs across the country, giving him a wide range of experience. When he was 18 he got involved with the ‘Jagannath Tour of Indian Culture’, which travelled throughout Crimea and consisted of theatre, dance and music. In 2011, he joined the Festival of India, and was immediately charmed. Having found his home, he has stayed with the festival ever since, doing puppet shows, dance and acrobatics.
Iuliia Bocharova
Iuliia Bocharova
Iuliia Bocharova is a dancer, Irish dance teacher and choreographer. Iuliia’s love affair with the stage started in early childhood, when she was drawing, acting and dancing multiple styles (Russian, folk and contemporary). Later in her life she developed a passion for ancient traditional dances from different countries, ranging from the 12th to the 20th centuries. In 2008, in her native Siberia, the famous Irish ‘Riverdance’ show became exceedingly popular, and Iulia became the official trainer of the ‘World Irish Dance Association’. Since 2010 she has been an active participant in Irish dance master classes and competitions, and she started presenting her students publicly, organizing different events to popularize Irish dance in Siberia. Iuliia and her students have received national acclaim and won national and regional competitions. It was 2016 that she first joined the Festival of India, using her wide array of skills in drawing, animation and dance to bring this beautiful culture to the world.
Iulia Volkova
Iulia Volkova
Iulia Volkova has been honing her dancing skills since she was 5 years old. Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, this dancer and choreographer has explored the worlds of hip hop, breakdancing, whacking, dancehall and contemporary movement through her work. Using her international prize-winning talent to help others, Yulia has also been teaching since 2003, and has been involved with Festival of India since 2016.
Liudmila Volkova
Liudmila Volkova
Liudmila Volkova is a woman of many talents. A choreographer, dancer, stylist and make-up artist, she approaches the performing arts from many directions. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Liudmila has been dancing from the age of 5. Infused into her style of choreography are elements of hip hop, break dance and dancehall, and she has taken this unique talent to competitions and festivals around the world. Not content with simply performing, Liudmila has also been teaching others since 2009.
Uliana Hrachova
Uliana Hrachova
Ukranian-born Uliana Hrachova has had a proclivity for artistic movement from a very young age. Her childhood was dedicated to training in acrobatics. Currently she is a professional ballroom dancer having won many national competitions. Uliana has also developed her acrobatic skills by studying the aerial hoop. She has been involved with the Festival of India since 2014 and she is a bright rising star.
Aleksandr Ivaschenko
Aleksandr Ivaschenko
Aleksandr Ivashenko has been on the move since childhood, both rhythmically and geographically. As a child he was attracted to singing and dancing and during his school years he formed part of a dance team called ‘Jam’. They performed on many stages in the Ural region where he was born. He not only sang, but also composed reggae and electronic dance music expressing his alternative world views. He has brought his wide range of skills to the stage of Festival of India since 2014. His contribution spans from music to drama and even the backstage co ordinations.
Evgenii Belyatckii
Evgenii Belyatckii
Since his childhood Evgenii has been successfully participating and winning prizes in regional and national ballroom dance competitions. Later in his school years he started going into sport. His speciality was boxing and team sports. All these didn’t become an obstacle for him to become a graduated history teacher and build a successful career in that field.
In 2013 he joined Festival of India in Poland helping in different departments – from loading crew to the theatre crew. Besides this he became a member and moreover one of the leading actors of a worldwide famous theatre “Cloud of Nectar” that’s travelling all around India, Nepal, Bangladesh and other nearby countries.
Vladyslava Yermolenko
Vladyslava Yermolenko
Vladyslava’s range of artistic endeavours is as colourful as her imagination. The vibrant hours spent learning circus choreography and step dancing as a child have traced their way into her adult life where she is now a graphic artist and illustrator. She has been involved with the Festival of India since 2014 and has fearlessly been developing her skills in the realm of theatre and prop design.
Vaibhav Arekar
Vaibhav Arekar
Vaibhav Arekar, one of leading male Bharatanatyam soloist of India, is trained under virtuoso teachers -Smt. Saroja Srinath and Smt. Tangamani Nagarajan and his mentor Dr. Smt. Kanak Rele. Vaibhav has done his B.F.A. and M.F.A. from Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya. Impressions and experiences from dance performances, in India and abroad, along with his creative impulse have influenced Vaibhav’s performance and choreography.
His collaborative work in the genre of theatre-dance along with Chetan datar and Rajashree Shirke has been created some milestone productions like “Haravalel Pratibimba”, “Mata Hidimba”, “Dwandwa” etc. His latest presentation “Naama mhane- an awakening” premiered in 2016 and “Trayaanta” premiered in Aug 2014 have received high critical acclaim and regarded as model thematic works in Bharatanatyam. Vaibhav’s solo works “Debotar Grash”- a work based on Tagore’s poem (2012) and todays Narmade Har Har”- in praise of river Narmada (2009) have over 25 performances to its credit.
An intense, calm and strong masculine approach is Vaibhav’s signature style. As a soloist he has performed at prestigious dance festivals like the Khajuraho, Music academy, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Modhera etc…
Sankhya Dance Company, founded by Vaibhav Arekar- its artistic director, energized and inspired by young dancers. is the only professional dance company of western India. Apart from extensive Indian tour Vaibhav, as a soloist and, with his dance company have been invited to perform in Japan, Brazil, Canada, USA, Poland, Russia,Germany, France, Australia.
Mrinal Madhura
Mrinal Madhura
A young promising dancer Mrinal has perceived her initial training under Smt. Smita Soman and then received extensive training from the teacher scholars of Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya . A dedicated full time professional dancer, mrinal has been receiving advance training under mentor Sri. Vaibhav Arekar , a multifaceted artist of international reput . She has been integral part of some of the Sankhya’s major productions .
Mrinal has been a part of some of the major productions of Nalanda. She has performed in festivals like Powai Fine Arts, P.L.Maharashtra Yuva Ranga Mahotsav, Mulund Mahotsav, Dhauli Festival, Festival Indii of Poland and many other both nationally and internationally. Empanelled as grade B artist by Doordarshan.
She, Completed bachelor’s degree in performing arts from Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai.
Currently perceiving post graduation from Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth,Pune.
Sachhidanand Narayankar
Sachhidanand Narayankar
A Doordarshan graded artist and qualified by U.G.C NET, Sachhidanand Narayankar is a young and vibrant performing artist, a dedicated teacher, a creative choreoghrapher and an administrator, his vision and interest flourished during Bachelors & Masters performing arts in Bharatanatyam from Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya established by Padmabhushan Dr. Smt. Kanak Rele. He has performed major roles like Siddhartha, Angulimal, Vishnu and Ram in ballets of Nalanda Dance Research Centre. He is an active member of Sankhya Dance Company and has performed lead roles of Aniruddha and Banasura in its productions. He successfully runs his dance institution Nrityarangam Kala Mandir at Solapur and Mumbai. He has got “SPICMACAY scholarship” for learning Kathakali. He is also an avid learner of Kalari Payattu and Mridangam. He has performed extensively in India and abroad in festivals like Doha Tribecca Film Festival, Kalaghoda Festival – Mumbai, Dadasaheb Phalke Award ceremony, Olympic games, Festival Indii – Poland and Moldova, Natya Darshan Conference – Chennai, Pandit Durgalal Festival – Thane, Purush Festival – Pune, Dvandva Festival – Mumbai, Upvan Festival – Thane, Natyarangam’s Thyaga Bharatam Mahotsava – Chennai to name a few.
Poorva Saraswat
Poorva Saraswat
A professional Bharatnatyam dancer at Sankhya Dance Company of Shri Vaibhav Arekar since 2012. Having nurtured & consolidated her primary education under Guru Pradnya Agasti in Pune, now receiving advance training under mentor Shri Vaibhav Arekar, a multifaceted artiste of International repute.
Have Performed at various festivals like Kalidas Festival, Natyanjali festival, Kala Ghoda festival, Khajuraho festival, Dhauli Festival of Odisha, Festival of Indii Poland and many other both nationally & internationally. Empanalled as grade ‘B’ artist by Doordarshan.
Education : completed bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Fergusson College & masters in Gender, Culture & Development studies from Women Studies Centre, Savitribai Phule University of Pune.
Objective : ‘I aim to contribute at nourishing the cultural heritage of our country by globalizing the art form through innovation & tradition’.
Aditi Vinayak
Aditi Vinayak
Miss Aditi Vinayak paranjpe is a Professional Bharatanatyam dancer. She has undertaken initial training under Guru Mrs Surekha shetty and Guru Mrs Madhavi Gangal. Currently she is pursuing training under Guru Shri.Vaibhav Arekar and is a part of Sankhya Dance Company founded by Guru Shri.Vaibhav Arekar.
She holds Bachelor’s degree in bharatanatyam from Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, pune n currently pursuing Masters degree from the same. Aditi has performed in prestigious festivals like Sanskriti Arts Festival- thane, Mudra Dance Festival- NCPA Mumbai, Chaiti Festival – Madhya Pradesh . She has performed in Festival Indii of Poland consistently for 3 years along with Sankhya Dance Company of Guru . Vaibhav Arekar.
Eesha Pinglay
Eesha Pinglay
A young promising Bharatanatyam dancer Eesha Pinglay has received extensive training under Shri Vaibhav Arekar. Having done her graduation and post graduation in Bharatanatyam from Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune, Eesha has received her Diploma in German language from Max Mueller, Mumbai. With her petite frame, clean body lines and chaste style Eesha is one of the leading dancer and core member of Sankhya Dance Company. Having represented the Company at various prestigious Festivals in India Eesha has played the main female lead in their latest dance spectacle “Usha Aniruddha”. She has also travelled to Canada, Japan, Poland, Germany, Hungary with Sankhya Dance Company.
Ruta Gokhale
Ruta Gokhale
Ruta Gokhale has completed her Bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts from Nalanda Nrityakala Mahavidyalay, Mumbai. She further completed her Master’s in Performing Arts from Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune- under the able guidance of Shri Vaibhav Arekar.
She is a senior Artiste in Sankhya Dance Company- founded and Directed by Shri Vaibhav Arekar and has performed extensively in India and abroad in countries like Japan, USA, Poland, Russia, Canada as a part of the troupe as well as solo.
Ruta has been fortunate to be a part of some very prestigious dance festivals like Kala Ghoda, Dhauli Festival, Natyanjali Festival, Sanskriti Arts Festival, Thane Arts festival, Chaiti Festival, Mudra Dance festival, Natyarangam’s Thyaaga Bharatam Festival and Sankhya’s ‘Sindhu Mohotsav’.
Ruta currently also leads Sankhya’s unique co-curricular initiative for schools called ‘Samvad- Conversation through Arts’.
She is presently pursuing advanced training under Shri Vaibhav Arekar.
Braja Ratna Velez
Braja Ratna Velez
Braja Ratna Velez is one of the upcoming voices in the world music Kirtana scene. Music and dance has been a part of Braja since her early childhood. Consequently, she has been traveling the world and toured US, Cananda, Europe and Mexico with her multi faceted performances. Her current career path blends all her talents into one, as she finds herself starring in musicals. Braja has been a part of the Viva Kultura stage band for the past 3 years. Her unique contribution is her years of Indian classical dance now being infused into a more contemporary style of performance.
Isakov Aleksei
Isakov Aleksei
Since 2008 Isakov Aleksei has been regularly taking part in theatrical productions in Russia, as well as traveling with those productions to India and Nepal, absorbing the cultures and climates of those exotic lands. Aleksei, quickly becomes the backbone of any production he comes in contact with. He does this by his natural desire to take on responsibility. Apart from his performance onstage he doesn’t mind to get his hands dirty and spends his time maintaining and refining the different props and gadgets that form the skeleton of any theatre. His true performance is backstage, where he moves with the dexterity and efficiency of any five other artists. This one man holds the whole backstage together and manages to keep calm amongst the host of artists calling his name backstage, needing his assistance and guidance. When a prop is jammed, he is the man. When a costume is missing, Aleksei knows where to find it. And when there is an emergency be it an actor missing, or a colleague injured, Aleksei is the first one there with a plan.
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