Sarma is Sydney's best known dance teacher and performer of the Kuchipudi
style of classical Indian dance, and her company, Nayika Indian Dance,
is located in inner city Sydney. Vimala has made regular visits to
Chennai over many years to pursue her passion for Kuchipudi. Vimala's
guru is Satyapriya Ramana, who was both a student of, and teacher at, guru
Vempati Chinna Satyam's Kuchipudi Art Academy for many years. She
has also taken short courses from Bala Kondala Rao and Kalpalathika Krishnan,
both students of Satyam. Vimala has also learnt Mohiniattam, a graceful
dance style from Kerala at the Vijnana Kala Vedi cultural centre in Kerala.
Her company has received grants from Australian Government organizations.
Nayika Indian Dance also conducts cultural tours to India.
the dance style of the Telugu speaking people of South India (both in Andhra
Pradesh and Tamilnadu) was originally performed as dance dramas depicting
stories of Krishna. The style differs from the more dominant southern
classical dance form, Bharatanaytam, by its torso movements and fluid gestures.
There is greater variation in the range of its footwork, and greater spatial
movement. Like other classical dance forms, Kuchipudi draws on the
original dance text, the Natya Shastra, for hand gestures, and upon the
rich material of Indian myths for its content. Mohiniattam (literally
the dance of the enchantress) is a feminine style from Kerala.
produces her own shows in Sydney including the recent shows Raga &
Rasa (2006), Lotus & Phoenix (2007) and Laya – Timeless
Rhythms (2007). In the production Lotus & Phoenix which
was part of the City of Sydney's Chinese New Year Festival of 2007, she
collaborated with Chinese musicians and choreographed an original
work in Mohiniattam style set to Chinese music composed for the show by
Tony Wheeler. In her other shows, the Kuchipudi dances she performs
are choreographed by Vempati Chinna Satyam. She performed with live
music at the Sydney Opera House in her production Silhouettes in
September 2004, which used a backdrop of silhouette images of dance poses
to enhance the production. Vimala has performed in the prestigious
annual Madras Festival of Music and Dance, and in other South Indian Festivals.
She was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for her performance in Chennai
in January 2006, which was also favorably reviewed in the Telugu newspaper,
and students in Sydney are largely non-Indian and Vimala's approach to
teaching and performing is non-traditional. She uses yoga and pilates
to warm up, and Western dance principles to enhance the Kuchipudi style.
She makes use of voice-overs which explain hand gestures in the dances
to Western audiences before performances.
was born in Malaysia, but has been living in Australia, after winning a
Colombo Plan scholarship, for most of her life. She has a PhD in
molecular biology from the University of Adelaide and worked for 15 years
in the Australian Public Service in Canberra, holding senior positions,
before moving to Sydney. In Sydney, she was a management consultant
with two private companies before starting her own research & development
management consultancy, Ashwyn Innovations Pty Ltd. She is currently learning
Sanskrit from the University of Sydney.
was invited to perform at the Andhra Arts Academy at Vijayawada on 16 December
2007 and was honoured by the President KV Subha Rao and Satyanarayana Sarma,
after a Kuchipudi recital. She performed Lakshmi Pravesham, two
Annamacharya pieces - Pallukuthenella and Muthugare - and Rukmini Pravesham,
all choreographed by guru Vempatti Chinna Satyam. The organizers
presented her with a shawl and a gilded statue of Sri Venkateshwara, the
deity at the temple of Tirupati. She was showered with flowers and
presented with a framed felicitation from the Academy. She
performed in the Chennai Dance and Music Festival for Gana Mukundhapriya
Sabha, on December 3, 2007 and the title Natyakala Sironmani was conferred
on her by the Sabha. The conductor of orchestra for these performances
was Vedantham Ramu from the Kuchipudi Arts Academy in Chennai.