I am a professional Andhra Natyam dancer. Ever since the begining, I have been practising Andhra Natyam and Kuchipudi under the tutelage of the legendary gurus Late Padmasri Dr Nataraja Ramakrishna and Acharya Shri Kala Krishna. Over-time, dance to me is more like meditation and meeting with the inner-me. I completed my diploma in Andhra Natyam from Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad (India) with distinction results in the year 1997. I have performed over 400 shows all over India and world and have been a face of Andhra Natyam.
I wish to continue to be the face for Andhra Natyam globally and through my non-for-profit dance banner “Nartanasala” and would like to continue my humble contributions to field of dance. I have been a teacher for almost 5 years and then turned a performing artist with more focus on choreograhy.
About Andhra Natyam
Andhra Natyam is a classical dance form the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a style that became extinct but was revived in the 20th century. It is derived from the general soup of south Indian dance forms. Therefore, it shows strong similarities to such forms as Kuchipudi, and Bharat Natyam, as well as the older forms of Dasi Attam, Kacheri Attam, Chinna Melam, and a host of others. This was a spiritual dance form. The dances performed in royal courts to the accompaniment of classical music were called Carnatakam. This was an intellectual art form. The other kind of dance form Darbari Aatam, appealed more to the commoners and educated them about their religion, culture and social life. These dances were performed outside the temple precincts in the courtyards. Each group had a coterie of dancers and those who resided in the temple premises did not go to the court of kings or zamindars to dance. The dance form of Andhra Natyam was initially known by different names – Kacheri Aatam, Kelika, Daasi Aatam, Chinna Melam, Nattuva Melam, Carnatakam and so on. Originally it was a temple dance performed by devadasis as a form of worship. In the days of yore, wherever there was a temple, there was some form of dance associated with the region. These dance forms were categorised into three kinds – Agama Nartanam, Carnatakam and Darbari Aatam.
Padmashri Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna
Padmasri Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna was born in Bali in 1923 to a migrant couple Damayanti Devi and Ramamohan Rao from Andhra, but the family soon returned to India. His first dance teacher was Sukhdev Kartak in Nagpur. At age 18, he received the title ‘Nataraja’ in Nagpur for his exceptional dancing skills by scholars in performing arts and this was added to his name.
Responsible for reviving long forgotten art forms like Perini Sivatandavam and ancient spiritual dances Agama Nartanams and Navajanardana Parijatam, he is one of those few artistes who dedicated his life to dance. Perini, a dance performed in Prerna to evoke Shiva, flourished during the reign of the Kakatiya rulers of the Telugu country in the 10th to13th centuries. Performed by the warrior worshippers of Shiva, this dance belongs to the Tandava tradition – quick in tempo and depicting Veera Rasa. He revived Perini from its description in the Nritta Ratnavalli written (in 1253-54) by Jayapa Senapati, the 12th century commander-in-chief of the Kakatiya armies, and its depiction in the sculptures of the famous Ramappa temple near Warangal. Ramakrishna’s artistic inclination motivated him to assimilate the toughest abhinaya and reproduce it with precise emotions. For that, he mastered padams. He tried every aspect of dance on himself. He did deep research on Vaishnavite and Shaivite temple dances and their particular peculiarities.
Acharya Shri Kala Krishna
Sri Kalakrishna is a leading exponent of Andhra Natyam. He is one of the senior most disciples of Guru Nataraja Ramakrishna under who he specialised in Kuchipudi dance, Andhra Natyam, Navajanardana Parijatam and other Temple dance traditions of Andhra in Guru Shishya Parampara. (Nava Janaardana Parijatam is an episode from the divine life of Lord Krishna, the Blue God and his spouse Satyabhama.) He has travelled extensively to perform at major National and International Dance Festivals, Conferences and Seminars. He has performed for Sabhas, Festivals of State Government Departments, Sangeet Natak Akademi and ICCR.
Kalakrishna has established his own school Hari Hara Nrithya Niketan in Hyderabad, where he trains young dancers in Andhra Natyam. He is presently serving as a visiting lecturer at the University of Hyderabad and Telugu University and teaches Andhra Natyam in the Dance Department to the students of Masters Degree in Dance. He has been teaching Andhra Natyam and carrying on the Guru Shishya Parampara for over 30 years.
Kalakrishna has received several honours and awards including the felicitation from Andhra Pradesh Telugu University and Gold Medal from Kuchipudi Art Academy, Hyderabad. A documentary on his “Navajanardhana Parijatam” has received the “Nidhi” Award by Andhra Pradesh Government. NCPA recorded his dance performances for pursuing archeological interests. Apart from performing, Kalakrishna gives frequent lectures and demonstrations about the art forms on behalf of Spicmacay.
Nartanasala is a not-for-profit dance banner where I perform unique choreographies from great masters and gurus and collaborate with dance enthusiasts . As a performing artist I know the struggle that traditional Indian classical dancers face today and my aim is to facilitate an easily accessible platform both to spread awareness and self expression.