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The 53-year-old Padma Shri Award recipient, Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant, a leading bharatanatyam and kuchipudi dancer-choreographer, is one of 12 incredible TED talkers on cancer.
Dr 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. She is in remission now, and continues to be under maintenance therapy and regular surveillance.
Ananda has been honored with two national awards : "Padma Shri" in 2007 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar for Bharatanatyam in 2009. The Government of Tamil Nadu adorned her with the "Kalaimamani", and with the "Kala Ratna" by the former Governemnt 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 over the last two years.