The Power of Passion

Parul Shah

You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.

— J. Krishnamurti




Prof. Dr. Smt Parul Shah is one of the rare combinations of Performing artiste, Cross-cultural Choreographer, Bharatanatyam Guru, Dance Educator, Scholar, Researcher, Arts Administrator and a highly motivated human being. She got appointed as the Professor in Dance in 1993, at the young age of 41 and became the Head of the Department of Dance and the Dean of the Faculty of Performing Arts at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India.  Prof Shah was selected by the Chairman UGC and awarded the prestigious MHRD project of creating E PG Content for the E PG PATHASHALA in Performing Arts (Dance/Drama/Theatre) in April 2014. She was the first Principal Investigator of all subjects to complete the project in record time in October 2016. In July 2016, she is invited by MHRD-UGC to create MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in Performing Arts.  

Since 2013, she is working on the Major Research Project of the UGC on “The changing dynamics of the Classical dance of India with respect to Bharatanatyam”.  Along with Laban Movement Analysis, she got trained in the application of the same as therapy. She is the recipient of Senior Artiste Fellowship of the Department of Culture Ministry of HRD for Movement Analysis of stylistic differences of the Four Schools of Bharatanatyam, 1994-96. The interest in research started in 1977-84, with Ph. D in “The Rasa Dance of Gujarat, a critical survey” with UGC Junior and Senior Fellowships. She is a member of the ICCR regional experts committee.

New interpretations to the myths, sensibility and imaginary to traditional lyrics, new choreography with regional languages and popular music goner are her forte along with the Adavus of Bharatanatyam.  She became very popular with the chorography of all dances of 1st Ramayana serial of Shri Ramanand Sagar which was specially telecasted on Doordarshan National  in March April 2020 with special suggestion from the honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendrabhai Modi. 

Prof Shah is equally versatile in the Classical, Folk, Contemporary and Creative dance.  Her disciples are not only in Baroda and India but also in USA, Italy, Singapore, Canada, etc.. She has chaired and is member of many academic and cultural committees on local, state and national and international level. 

Since 1979, she is an active member of International Organization of Folk Arts, a UNESCO recognized body, base at Andorf, Austria. Prof. Shah is part of various commissions of IOFA such as Festival, Promotional, Research and  Documentation, as well as Asia Vice-President for a number of years. And at present Heads the Special Projects Commission of IOV World wide.

The active dance career (Classical, Folk, Contemporary, Creative) of nearly 50 years, has taken her to near and far lands (USA, UK, Italy, Greece, France, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Denmark, Shri Lanka, Egypt etc.)  performing, teaching, lecturing, collaborating, learning, sharing in the top institutions and with most creative innovative individuals such as Phillip Zarrili, Pegy Mue Choy, Jin-wen Yu, Louise Tchabushnig, Janet Lilly, Buff Brennan and in India Prof Sitanshu Yasheshchandra, Padmashree Geeta Chandran, Prof Deepak Kannal, Prof Ranjana Harish,  Dr. Arshia Shethi, to name a few. 


  • Recipient of Senior Artiste Fellowship of the Department of Culture Ministry of HRD for Year 2019-20 for her work in the area of New Margams.
  • Was the first from India to receive the “Choreomundus Heritage Master Fellowship” as the visiting scholar of the Erasmus Mundus of the European Union International Master in Dance knowledge, Practice and Heritage, for Performing Arts   
  • Was awarded the Senior Fulbright Fellowship in 1992-93 for pioneering work in Movement Analysis-Notation in Indian classical dance.
  • Recipient of Mahakal Sangit Ratna, Gujarat Rajya Gaurav Purasker, Rotary International award and many grants and fellowships.
  • Was invited to lead the Gujarati Folk dance and music group at the exhibition for celebration of life “Aditi” at the Smithsonian, Washington D.C. in 1985. 
  • Invited as a judge for many competitions such as Gujarat State annual Rasa Garba CompetitionFOGANA Federation of Gujaratis in North America (Toranto, Dallas, Las-Vegas), Karnavati club, BOB 18 and is expert for empanelment at DD Gujarati and AIR.

  • During her Deanship in 1995, along with then University authorities and some like minded friends, started a special Garba Festival “Only Women” which shifted to Milankunj Club, Baroda in 1997 and is held at Alkapuri Club since a number of years. This unique Garba event has carved a special name for the preservation and assimilation of this rich cultural heritage. 

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