In 1987 Anandavalli started the Lingalayam Dance Academy, a school of classical Indian dancing. As the years progressed the Academy produced a highly talented and disciplined group of artists within the school. ‘The Lingalayam Dancers,’ as they came to be known, performed regularly to sell-out audiences in Sydney.
In 1996 the Lingalayam Dance Company was founded. This provided further artistic development and regular professional performing opportunities for those graduates of the academy whose aim was to become proficient and professional in this ancient art form.
Lingalayam is unique as an Australian Indian Dance Company - being one of the few companies of its kind in Australia - and has contributed immensely to the continuing survival and evolution of an ancient art form. Lingalayam has established itself as a professional Indian dance company, producing an annual season, in addition to smaller works which are developed or commissioned, and performed at various times throughout the year.
Lingalayam specialises in the Indian classical dance forms of Bharatha Natyam and Kuchipudi. Over the years Lingalayam has demonstrated its proficiency in the articulation of both these dance vocabularies.With each production, Lingalayam has challenged the boundaries of the classical Indian dance tradition, creating innovative work that is unique both in Australia, and internationally.
Lingalayam has not only entertained Australian audiences, with their flare for costume and design, and the ever popular live musical accompaniment, they have maintained their integrity and credibility and demonstrated their commitment to providing productions rich in content and profound in substance.
Lingalayam Dance Company’s first performance seasons were at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), in Sydney, with productions of Shiva Sthuti (1996), The Divine Flautist (1997) and Shakti (1998 – which was also re-staged for the Studio at the Sydney Opera House in 2004).
In 1999 Lingalayam moved to the Newtown Theatre, in Sydney’s
inner west with its premiere season of The Temple Dancer, followed by Serpent Woman in 2000. With an audience growing in number and diversity, Lingalayam then took its productions to the larger Seymour Theatre Centre and enjoyed four successful seasons there, with The Courtesan’s Daughter (2001), Sthree (2002), Earth and Fire (2003) and Tempest (2004). The re-staging of Serpent Woman in 2005 at the National Multicultural Festival, and the presentation of Kuruntokai – The Interior Landscapes (2006) (which was premiered at the Asian Music and Dance Festival in 2001) saw Lingalayam shift its annual season to the Riverside Theatres in Parramatta, as a part of its Arts NSW audience development strategy in Western Sydney.
Since 1999, Lingalayam hasbeen has been proudly supported by ArtsNSW, and in 2002 Anandavalli, founder, choreographer and artistic director of Lingalayam was the recipient of a prestigious Australia Council for the Arts -Dance Board Fellowship.
Lingalayam has in many cases developed its repertoire through international and national collaborations with artists in both dance and music, involving artists like Astad Deboo (India), Albert David (Torres Straight) and Veshnu (Singapore).
In 2005 Lingalayam brought together its own NSW based orchestra, completing the artistic operational structure – a permanent company of dancers and musicians. This is particularly significant in reflecting Lingalayam’s commitment to support and invest in young Australian dancers and musicians and to continually evolve and explore the confluence of Eastern and Western cultural influences.