Shivani Thakkar


An internationally recognized artist, Shivani’s specialties include Bharata Natyam (Indian classical), Bollywood, Tap, Jazz, and Ballet. Balancing a commitment to artistry and commercial dance, Shivani choreographs with an eye to creating quality work that is constantly unique and at the forefront of the field. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of MKM Bollystars Dance Company and Academy.


Shivani has performed in India, Japan, USA, and Canada, including prestigious tours where she has performed as both lead and soloist. Credits include TV/Film work for Disney, CW, Fox, Nickelodeon, Omni Television (Canada), Intel, and UTV Motion Pictures (India). She has presented work at numerous dance festivals including IAAC’s Erasing Borders: Festival of Indian Dance(New York, NY), Battery Dance Company’s Downtown Dance Days (New York, NY), DC Dance Festival at Dance Place(Washington, DC), Indian Film Festival Los Angeles (IFFLA 2013, 2014, 2015), the SoCal Dance Invitational, San Pedro Dance Festival, Mix Match Dance Festival (Los Angeles, CA), Pasadena Dance Festival, Club Jete (Los Angeles, CA), Feats Festival of Dance (Edmonton, AB), multiple performances in the Chennai Dance Season (India), and at museums including Smithsonian, LACMA, Skirball Cultural Center, Glenbow Museum (Calgary, AB). Her tours have included lead performances with Bellydance Superstars, Bellytwins Dance Company, and the National Canada tour of her original work Dvaya: A Confluence of Male Female Spirits. She is also currently a principal dancer with Ovation Award Winning company Navarasa Dance Theatre. Shivani has been engaged on various choreography projects which have included work for Girish Karnad’s Naga Mandala(University of Southern California), Dance Montage (University of Calgary), and numerous dance companies across the US, Canada, and India. 


Shivani is a recognized artist in Canada has served as a Peer Assessor for national federal arts grants for Canada Council for the Arts, Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, and at a local level for Calgary Arts Development, and Los Angeles County Arts Commission. She has judged numerous dance competitions, both across the US and in India. In 2011, she was a panelist at the 2011 Hollywood Fringe Festivalfor the discussion Women in the Arts Breaking through the Glass Ceiling. She has had articles published in Dance Current Magazine (Canada) and Buzzine Magazine (On-line). Shivani has served as guest lecturer and artist at University of Southern California School of Theatre(annually), University of Southern California Kaufman School of Dance, University of Calgary, and Howard Community College(Maryland), and as faculty at American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) Los Angeles. 


As a teacher, Shivani has had the opportunity to work with studios and companies across the USA, Canada, New Zealand, and India. She enjoys working with all ages, and is currently obtaining her child development credentials through UCLA Extensions to further enhance her work with children. She is recognized artist listed on the roster of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for their Arts for All in school programming. Shivani has developed and successfully presented children’s shows for the Skirball center, LA Philharmonic’s Summer Sounds program at the Hollywood Bowl, and for 24thStreet Theatre. Shivani has also been engaged to choreograph the production Bucket for Blessings for the Theatre for the Very Young program at Alliance Theatre, Atlanta. 


In addition to dance, Shivani has trained extensively in theatre. She holds a BA cum laude in Theatre (minor tv/film production) from University of Southern California, has classical training from Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, Viewpoints/Scene Study/ Improv with Steppenwolf Theatre, and Foundational technique under the tutelage of Howard Fine. Shivani was most recently an assistant director on the production of Anna Christie, directed by Kim Rubenstein and starring Jeff Perry, Kevin McKidd, and Zoe Perry. 


She was Genesis Artist of the Year “Artistic Visionary” 2012at the South Asian Xcellence Awards, the 2008 Winner of Verizon Wireless and Saavn BollypopUS National Dance Competition, 2010 Nominee for the Enbridge Emerging Artist Award(Office of Calgary Mayor, Dave Bronconnier), and is a recipient of grants from Canada Council for the Arts,Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, Calgary 2012 - Cultural Capital of Canada,and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.


Degrees, Studies, and Affiliations:

BA Theatre, Minor Film/Television University of Southern California, Steppenwolf Classes West Intensive, Interrarium Contemporary Arts Intensive (Springboard Dance Company), TapMotif (Greece), Howard Fine Acting Studios, Manu Kala Mandir Dance Academy (Canada), Rajarajeswari Bharata Natya Kala Mandir (India), MKM Bollystars Dance Company, Navarasa Dance Theatre, SAG-AFTRA, AEA