dancer Shanta Rao passed away on December 28, 2007 at Bangalore. She was
81. An exponent of the Pandanallur style, she was a disciple of guru Meenakshisundaram
Pillai. At Kerala Kalamandalam, she was the first female student to learn
Kathakali from P Ramunni Menon, and Mohiniattam from Krishnan Panikkar.
She was the first Indian to study Kandyan dancing in Sri Lanka. She worked
with Kuchipudi gurus Vempati Peda Satyam, Vedantam Reghavaiyya and Vempati
Chinna Satyam. To create her own style Bhama Nrityam, she learnt the principles
of Bhama Sutram rituals from Venkata Chelapati Sastri.
her exhaustive study of comparative dance forms into documented resources
without any external assistance. A very private person, the only one allowed
to document Shanta Rao's performances for her biographical Dances of The
Golden Hall, published by the ICCR, was renowned photographer Sunil Janah.
was honored with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1970), Padma Shri (1971),
Kalidasa and Shantala awards.
guru Kavungal Chathunni Panicker (1923-2007) passed away on November 29,
2007 at the age of 84 at a private hospital at Erumappetty near Thrissur.
The last patriarch of the Kavungal Kalari, known for its methodical training,
he was famous for his portrayal of Hanuman in 'Kalyana Saugandhikam' and
'Thoranayudham,' Raudrabhima in 'Duryodhana Vadhom,' the hunter in 'Nalacharitham'
and 'Kiratham.' From 1947-1985, he taught at Darpana Academy in Ahmedabad.
He returned to his native place in the 1990s and tried to revive the Kavungal
Kalari. Among the awards he received were Gujarat Sangeet Natak Akademi
Award, Kendra Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Kerala Kalamandalam fellowship,
Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi fellowship and the State Kathakali Award
(2003). He was honored with the Padma Shree in 2006.
Takami (April 19, 1960- November 3, 2007) was born in Nigata, Japan.
When she saw
her first Odissi dance performance in Tokyo, it captured her heart and
Asako was inspired to learn this beautiful art form. Asako started her
training in Odissi in 1983 under Kumkum Lal. She later studied under guru
fighting cancer for the last four years, Asako passed away on Saturday,
November 3, 2007. She leaves behind her parents and her partner Ralph Lemon,
and a community of dancers and dance lovers who will deeply feel her absence.
guru Surendranath Jena passed away in New Delhi on October 8, 2007. He
was 83. He was the Odissi guru at Delhi based Triveni Kala Sangam and won
the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in March 2007. Dr. Kapila Vatsayan, Yamini
Krishnamurti, Rekha Tandon, Ranjana Gauhar are some of his noted disciples.
project funded by the British Academy, Alessandra Lopez Royo made a documentary
film 'Performing Konarak, Performing Hirapur' on him last year. Surendranath
Jena was greatly inspired by the sculptures of Konark temple and Chausat
Yogini temple in Hirapur. His dance style differs from those of other gurus
in that he introduced elements of folk forms with various sculpturesque
He is survived
by his wife, three daughters and son Nirmal who runs a dance school in
Sydney, Australia. His eldest daughter Pratibha Jena propagates his style.
eminent arts patron of Chennai, popularly referred to as Mrs. B.V.S.S.
Mani, passed away on August 27, 2007. She was the sponsor of the prestigious
Natya Kala Conference of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai and was the Co-Founder
of Lalitha Kala Vedika, a premier self-financing cultural institution of
guru SK Kameshwaran passed away at 8.10am on July 20, 2007 at Chennai.
awardee, he was aged 79.
guru Medha Yodh, passed away in Los Angeles on July 11, 2007 at the age
of 79. Yodh joined the UCLA as faculty member in the Department of
Dance in 1976 and remained until her retirement in 1994. She continued
to teach privately till 2002. She was born on July 31, 1927 in Ahmedabad
and trained in Manipuri under Nabhakumar Singh. In 1962 when Balasaraswati
visited Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut for a residency,
Yodh came under her spell and became her student. Yodh worked with numerous
dance companies and dance organizations in Los Angeles during her career.
Her documentary film 'Garba-Ras: A glimpse into Gujarati culture' (1987)
was funded by the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department as part
of its folk arts program.
(husband of Bharatanatyam dancer Chitra Visweswaran) passed away on June
28, 2007 a little before midnight in Chennai. He was a composer for dance,
a vocalist and an acclaimed santoor player.
Ramachandran (born on January 1, 1924), founder-secretary of the organization
Hamsadwani, popularly known as 'Hamsadhwani' Ramachandran, passed away
in Chennai on May 24, 2007 at the age of 83. At Hamsadhwani's popular NRI
music festival in December, dancers and musicians from abroad perform
Koothu exponent K K Rajan (father of Bangalore based Bharatanatyam dancer
Padmaja Suresh) passed away on April 6, 2007. K K Rajendran, popularly
known as Chakyar Rajan received the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi award
in 1994. Though Chakyar Rajan had not got any formal training in the traditional
art, Painkulam Rama Chakyar, Sengalipuram Anantharama Diskshithar, Anjam
Madhavan Namboodiri and Maani Madhavan Chakyar were sources of guidance
and strength to him.
Yagnaraman, who served as secretary of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha from 1956,
passed away on April 3, 2007 in Chennai. He was 85. Born on July 1, 1922,
at Ranganathapuram in Thanjavur district, he had his schooling at Tirukattupalli
and later in Chennai. One of the longest serving secretaries of a city
sabha, he was instrumental in organizing landmark events such as the annual
Natya Kala Conference, the Gokulashtami festival, and the Pongal Nagaswara
festival. He promoted music, dance, theatre, harikatha, namasankeerthanam
and interesting lecture demonstrations apart from inviting artistes from
all over the country and abroad to perform at Krishna Gana Sabha. Under
his dynamic leadership, the sabha is now a well appointed a/c hall with
exponent and guru Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair passed away on April 3,
2007 at his residence in Shornur, Kerala. He was 79. The son of Kathakali
maestro Pattikkamthodi Ravunni Menon, he was one of the early students
at Kalamandalam where he later became a teacher and then principal. His
major contribution was 'Cholliyattam' a comprehensive performance manual
published by Kalamandalam. He will be always remembered as an outstanding
actor, teacher and writer. He is survived by his wife Kalamandalam Satyabhama,
two sons and two daughters.
guru Narmada, a disciple of Guru Kittappa Pillai, passed away at 9pm on
March 30, 2007 at Bangalore. She was 65. She recently received the Central
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her immense contribution to the field of
Bharatanatyam. She was director of Shakuntala Nrityalaya.
on 27 March 1917, veteran art critic P V Subramaniam, better known as Subbudu,
passed away on March 29, 2007. A fearless writer known for his frank criticisms
of even established artistes, Subbudu was the music and dance critic of
The Statesman for 60 years. He was also popular for his writings in Tamil
journals like Kalki. He lived the early part of his life in Burma. There
he took part in theatre activities and provided musical accompaniment to
drama companies. He returned to India during World War II. A proficient
player of the harmonium and keyboard, he was also a composer and accompanied
well-known musicians and dancers, including Yamini Krishnamurti.
'Beyond Destiny: The Life and Times of Subbudu' by Lada Guruden Singh,
is perhaps the first ever biography of an Indian critic from the world
of classical performing arts.
Durgadevi, founder / director of Nartana School of Kuchipudi Dance passed
away on March 6, 2007 at Chennai.
Raghu, 61, a noted singer, composer and dance accompanist based in Mumbai
passed away on February 7, 2007.
dancer/teacher Padmini Rao, passed away on January 27, aged 51. She was
a direct disciple of guru Kittappa Pillai and won the Rajyotsava Award
in 2006. She was the founder of Ponnaiah Lalithakala Academy, Bangalore.
guru Uma Sundaram passed away in Chennai on January 24, 2007. She was 62.
Balu, director of Natanamani Natya Niketan passed away on January 22, 2007
Jathar, husband of Kathak guru Rohini Bhate (who received Sangeet Natak
Akademi's Fellowship this year), passed away in Pune.
guru Kalamandalam Govindan Kutty, who was suffering from lung cancer, breathed
his last at the Thakurpukur Cancer Hospital on January 5, 2007 at Kolkata.
He was 79 and is survived by his dancer wife Thankamani Kutty and three
in Palghat district of Kerala on Nov 13, 1927, Kutty came to Kolkata in
1955 and popularized Kathakali in this region. Kalamandalam Calcutta was
founded in 1968 by Thankamani and Govindan Kutty as an institution to impart
training in South Indian classical dances to students of Kolkata and beyond.
When guru Govindan Kutty completed 50 years of his settlement in Kolkata,
it was commemorated in July 2005 with a photo exhibition on his life and
works followed by a felicitation by the Govt. of West Bengal. Recipient
of the Uday Shankar Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, he was the sole
promoter and guru of Kathakali in Kolkata for many years. His forte was
to create a fusion between Rabindra Nritya and Kathakali. Kutty has also
written various books on Kathakali in English as well as in Bengali.
sabha will be held on Jan 14 from 10am to 6pm at Kalamandalam Performing
Arts & Research Centre, 49/61, Prince Golam Md. Shah Road, Golf Gardens,
Ramdhan Park, Kolkata 700033
98312-86440, 98313-95136, 98318-33954, (033) – 24618454 / 24618338
dancer/guru Korada Narasimha Rao passed away in Hyderabad on January 4,
2007. He was 74.
fame as the guru and dance partner in Kuchipudi to Indrani Rahman in the
late fifties. He travelled and performed with Indrani across India, Europe,
North America, the Caribbean and Cuba in1960 and received widespread acclaim
for his dramatic and theatrical performances. They performed before many
heads of State including Jawaharlal Nehru, Queen Elizabeth and Fidel Castro.
At the International
Cultural Festival held at Paris during 1960 by Theatre-Des-Nations under
the sponsorship of the UNESCO, he was adjudged as the Best Male Dancer
of 1960. He was the first Indian, who had received that award so far. He
lived and taught at Elluru in Andhra Pradesh and his last rites were performed
there. He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 2006.
Bali Ram, Indrani Rehman, Korada Narasimha Rao
Photo courtesy: Ram Rahman