Subathra Subramaniam is a choreographer, dancer and educator. She is the artistic director of Sadhana Dance. Suba’s work is unique. Her choreography navigates the confluence of arts and science drawing from her belief that dance, can play a part in the public understanding and engagement with scientific concepts. Her work combines contemporary choreography and Bharata Natyam.
Suba started her Bharata Natyam training in Malaysia and continued it in London under Prakash Yadagudde at the Bhavan Centre, Institute of Indian Fine Arts and Culture.
From 1997 till its closure in 2008, Suba was co-founder and artistic director of Angika with Mayuri Boonham. During that time she choreographed and performed in all the company’s duet and ensemble works which included Sudarsana, The-Triple-Hymn, Kala, Pulse of Tala, Bhakti, Ether, Urban Temple, Soul of Light and Cypher. The works toured both nationally and internationally at venues including: The Place, V&A, Royal Festival Hall, Tanzhaus in Germany, Festivals in Spain, Sziget Festival, Hungary and Kampnagel in Hamburg Germany.
During that time Suba was co-artist in residence (2004–2006) and associate artist (1998–1999) at The Place in London. Angika collaborated with world renowned artists such as Talvin Singh and Midival Punditz and Jonathan Burrrows and Matteo Fargion.
Suba’s dance works are a result of cross art collaborations and extended periods of research undertaken with scientists or in scientific and academic institutions. Her touring works for Sadhana include The Shiver, Elixir, Under My Skin, which was shortlisted for the Medicine Unboxed Creative Prize 2015, and Unkindest Cut a multi-disciplinary work, which takes place in two shipping containers. Suba was the artist in residence at the child and adolescent mental health unit at The Maudsley hospital in London as part of the research for this work. The work will continue touring in the 2018 and 2019.
One of Suba’s many education and community projects included being artistic director of Returning to Dance Nepal, a cultural exchange project between the Gurkha community of the Blandford Army Camp and the local community of the town. As part of the project, she choreographed a dance piece for 13 Gurkha soldiers.
Suba is part of the education team of Cape Farewell, a project that brings together young people, artists, scientists, educators and journalists to raise awareness about climate change. She helped to organise two youth voyages to the High Arctic during her role as Co-Education Director of Cape Farewell. She was involved in writing resources for science and geography curricula in schools from the film footage, photography, art and science that was carried out during the voyages. She had to work closely with both artists and scientists to organise the voyages.
In recent years Suba has been an artist in residence at The Environment Institute at UCL, where she worked closely with climate scientists to look at how art can play a part in raising awareness about climate change. Her time at UCL inspired Suba’s dance work Elixir, a dance and sculpture installation exploring our cultural relationship with water. Suba has written articles in magazines in the UK about her work in arts and science. Suba has also been Associate Artist at South East Dance and choreographer in residence at Bucks New University.
Suba is regularly asked to speak at conferences and events including a TEDx and British Council International seminars in Thailand, Cuba Canada and Egypt. She recently led a movement workshop for artists, scientists and healthcare professional from all over the world at the International Public Engagement Workshop for the Wellcome Trust in Mumbai.
As a qualified Science teacher with a Masters Degree in Education and a PGCE is Science, for the past 19 years, Suba has presented science and dance programmes that are currently being used in schools in the UK. She was also involved in a recent 24 hour Hack at the Science Museum in London exploring how we can put the “A” into STEM to include the arts in STEM education. Suba is a part time science teacher at Princes Risborough School where she teaches students aged 11–18 and Advanced Level Biology. She is also a visiting lecturer for both the undergraduate and masters courses in the Performing Arts Department of Bucks New University. Suba is on the Board of Trustees of Akademi.