Indologist, bharatanatyam dancer
Panni Somi was born and brought up in Budapest. She graduated from ELTE University (Budapest) as an M.A. degree holder of Indology (Sanskrit). She focused her interest mainly on Sanskrit drama, the history of theatrical arts and present day performing arts of India. She received a scholarship from Government of India in 1989 and started her Bharatanatyam studies at Kalakshetra, College of Fine Arts, Chennai. She became the first Hungarian to study Bharatanatyam in India.
At Kalakshetra her dance masters were Pushpa Shinde, Vasundhara Thomas, Jolsana Menon. Later, during her regular study trips to India, she also studied with K.P. Yasodha.
She has travelled to India several times. During these trips, apart from enlarging her bharatanatyam repertoire, she has travelled throughout the country collecting folk dances and conducting ethnological research.
She started performing and conducting dance classes in the beginning of the 90s. This was a pioneer work with lots of solo performances, lecture demonstrations, short performances and explanations and most of all with hundreds of students interested in Indian culture.
In 1997 Panni formed her dance company called Sivasakti Kalananda Dance Theatre. The members of the group all started their dance training in Budapest and most of them studied in India, too. Their repertoire consists of classical bharatanatyam pieces, new choreographies and contemporary dance theatre plays based on bharatanatyam technique. Panni Somi is the choreographer of several dance-theatre plays
Apart from her theatre work she teaches Bharatanatyam to Hungarian and Indian students of all age.