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Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant, is celebrated as one of India’s leading classical dancers, choreographers and dance scholars. Ananda was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2008.She underwent surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and Herceptin therapies for 2 years. Through it all she continued to dance, teach, choreograph , travel and perform on tour .
Ananda has been decorated with two national awards : "Padma Shri" in 2007 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar for Bharatanatyam in 2009. She has also been honoured by the Govt. of Tamil Nadu with the "Kalaimamani", and with the "Kala Ratna" by the former Govt. of Andhra Pradesh.
A TED speaker in 2009, Ananda’s TED talk is now much viewed and highly ranked as one of 12 Incredible TED talks on cancer. In January 2015, the Huffington Post ranked Ananda’s TED talk as the 1st of 5 greatest TED talks by Indians. She believes that cancer is only one page in her life and that her focus on her art, and tuning into her dance, helped her tune out of cancer.
Ananda holds a Masters degree in Ancient Indian History, a M.Phil in Art History and a Ph.D in Tourism. She actively lectures on breast cancer support and advocacy issues, having successfully battled the illness herself.