The Artistic Director
With over four decades of a career in dance, Uma Suresh is the founder and the Artistic Director of Natya Priya Dance Academy, a San Diego based institution dedicated to the propagation of Indian Classical Dances. An acclaimed performer, innovative choreographer, respected instructor, and a consummate artist,
Uma has the unique distinction of excellence in two classical dance styles of India – Bharathanatyam and Kuchipudi. Imbibing the best from her illustrious mentors ‘Padmasri’ Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai, ‘Padmabhusan,’ Kamala (Bharathanatyam), Dr. Vempatti Chinna Sathyam (Kuchipudi) ‘Padmabhushan’, and Dr. T.N. Ramachandran (theoretical studies), Uma has evolved a distinct style that has been consistently described as the perfect fusion of music, mime and movement. Her dance is distinguished for its exquisite expression (abhinaya), flawless sense of rhythm, refined techniques and impeccable grace. Her performances are known for their spiritual depth, sensitivity and classical purity.
With over 500 performances and 2000 choreographed pieces to her credit, Uma has often been invited as the only Indian dancer to perform at events such as the “16th Annual Star Awards”, organized by the San Diego Performing Arts League, an umbrella organization serving more than 150 theatre, music, and dance companies throughout San Diego County. She has presented several full length and elaborate dance-drama presentations to sold out audiences across the United States and Asia including most recently, “Dance Unbound” a unique dance presentation exploring movements in nature performed by a company of 35 dancers. She has led her dance company at prestigious events including “Kaleidoscope” a celebration of the Orange County Centennial, “Nine Outstanding Performance Series” for the Michigan Department of Cultural and Public Affairs, “Imagination Celebration” of Orange County, “Celebration of Dance” at the Annual Conference of California Council for Social Studies, “Arts on Parade” of Orange County “Festival of Ramayana” and “Cavemen to Constantine” at the Pacific Asia Museum, the “Third Annual National Dance Celebration Week” of San Diego “Celebrate Dance Festival” of San Diego, and “Nations of San Diego International Dance Festival” to name a few. Uma has also collaborated with Javier Velasco, the Artistic Director of the San Diego Ballet to create intercultural segments that showcases Indian classical dance to the accompaniment of modern dance and music in presentations including “Eternally Bad” that explored the theme of goddesses of the world, “Sonnets of Shakespeare” and “Carnival of Animals.”
Uma not only performs and choreographs but also conducts workshops, presents lecture demonstrations and master classes for academic institutions throughout Southern California, has formulated unique dance curriculums for amputees and children with special needs for the regional center in San Bernardino and has co-directed and starred in “Magic Movements” a dance documentary.