Shanti Pillai is an artist, scholar, and writer. She holds a BA in Anthropology and International Relations from Stanford University (1989), an MA in Asian Studies from the University of California at Berkeley (1990), and a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University (2005). She is currently Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at California State University at Long Beach. Her writing has appeared in The Drama Review, Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies, Women and Performance, the Dance Research Journal, Trialog, and the blog of the Michigan Quarterly. In 2017 she received a Fulbright Research Award for her project about women artists’ contributions to contemporary performance in India across the genres of theater, dance, digital media, and performance art.
Shanti is a bharatanatyam dancer trained by the great T. Balasaraswati’s two senior disciples, Nandini Ramani of Chennai and Priyamvada Sankar of Montreal. She has performed and given lecture demonstrations at various venues and universities. She has also worked in contemporary dance and theater. She has performed with the Frente de Danza Independiente in Ecuador, and worked for extensive periods in Cuba, collaborating with dancers and actors and creating and performing in original works, including a multicultural version of Shakuntala.
Shanti’s movement training for actors draws from traditional Indian dance and theatre to create a heightened control of rhythm and breath as well as coordinate the face, eyes, and hands. Other practices drawn from hatha yoga, Grotowski, butoh, and Schechner’s rasaboxes, as well as compositional exercises, aim to create circumstances for the actor to explore various relationships between text, space, emotional expressivity, and the body.
Marc Gomes is an actor, writer, and teacher. His work as an actor began in Canada with roles in notable productions of As You Like It, A Slow Dance On the Killing Ground, Edmond, A Taste of Honey, The Gayden Chronicles, Sweet like Suga and the North American premiere of Ryszard Kapuscinski’s The Emperor.
He has starred in several television series and films including: The Crow: Stairway to Heaven; Sue Thomas: FBeye; Dexter; Medium; Criminal Minds; Commander in Chief; Lightning Force, Divas; and Chasing Rainbows. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0326928/).
In 2009 Marc was awarded a UNIDO Cinematic & Entrepreneurial Motivation Award (CEMA) for his screenplay adaptation of the Caribbean novel, Corentyne Thunder by Edgar Mittelholzer.
The focus of Marc’s teaching aims to develop an actor’s “corporeal intelligence.” This work incorporates Grotowski plastiques exercises with voice and physical techniques to hone the performer’s multiple awarenesses: rhythmic, spatial and kinesthetic. The actor is able to expand their performance capabilities by creating a physical and vocal vocabulary to “make the whole body speak.” Marc holds an MFA in Acting Pedagogy from California State University at Long Beach (2017).