Bharatheeya Natya Dinam: A day for classical arts
June 25, 2014
A day long event was organised by Sree Sankara School of Dance (SSD) at Kalady, the birth place of Adi Sankaracharya, on 23rd May 2014 to mark the 21st Annual Day of SSD, on the lines of International Dance Day. The objective of the Bharatheeya Natya Dinam is to devote a day for Indian classical arts.
The festivities were inaugurated in the morning by Guru Kalamandalam Gopinath, Guru Kalamandalam Prabhakaran (Ottantullal artiste), Dr. CP Unnikrishnan (Kathakali artiste and an authority on Natya Shastra), Sudha Peethambaran (Mohiniattam dancer), Dr. Edanad Rajan Nambiar (Chakyarkoothu artiste), MS Unnikrishnan (music director) and KN Raveendran Nair (First PTA President, SSD) by lighting the traditional lamp. Prof. PV Peethambaran, promoter of Sree Sankara School of Dance who mooted the idea delivered the introductory speech emphasizing the need for Bharatheeya Natya Dinam. A message from gurus VP Dhananjayan and Shantha Dhananjayan was released on the occasion.
Prof. CP Unnikrishnan presented a 2 hour power point presentation highlighting the contribution of SSD to the cause of classical arts. From a humble beginning of 20 students, the school has at present a strength of nearly 1000 students. The highlights were: The beginning of Sree Sankara School of Dance at NAS Auditorium, Kalady; The first Natya Shastra Sibiram, subsequent seminars, workshops, lec-dems; The National Sree Sankara Dance and Music Festival; The social productions highlighting social issues through classical arts; The mega productions ‘Sankaram Loka Sankaram – Natyabhashyam’ and ‘Gurudeva Charitham – A Natyabhashyam’ highlighting the message of peace, brotherhood and national integration; Accreditation to younger artistes; Short gurukula camp called Sankara Gurukulam highlighting the significance of Gurukula system.
The power point presentation also threw light on: Awards instituted by SSD – Sree Sankaracharya Lifetime Achievement Award, Gurushreshta Award, Agamananda Award for the best PhD thesis in classical arts, Sree Sankaracharya Award for Young Artistes, awards to the best schools promoting classical arts; Publications of SSD – introductory books for beginners of classical dance and music; Teachers training programs; Sree Sankara Natyamandapam and its activities; Cultural bodies of Sree Sankara School of Dance – Sree Sankara Music Academy, Sree Sankara Natyasabha, Sree Sankara Cultural Foundation, Sree Narayana Cultural Foundation; Choreofest – a festival of new productions and so on. Interaction of eminent artistes, spiritual leaders and senior gurus with students, Kathakali appreciation classes to popularize Kathakali and other classical arts, training centres of SSD in rural areas to popularize classical arts in villages, were also highlighted.
This was followed by talks by Kalamandalam Gopinath, Kalamandalam Prabhakaran, Dr. Edanad Rajan Nambiar and MS Unnikrishnan. Members from various organizations offered felicitation. It was followed by a discussion on the contribution of SSD to natya. PTA members since 1996, former teachers and representatives of various organizations took part in the celebrations.
K.T. Salim, President SSD, presided over the function. The inaugural session was followed by a Sangamam of artistes, teachers, connoisseurs of arts and former PTA members of SSD. Post lunch, classical music programs of the Sree Sankara Music Academy lasted up to 5.30pm. A Mohiniattam performance by Sudha Peethambaran (Director, SSD), teachers and students of SSD followed. Solo programs and group items (Ganesha Kautvam, Alarippu, Jathiswaram, Sabdam, Keerthanam (Jaganmohanane Krishna), Natesa Kautvam, Keerthanam (Chidambaranadha), Cholkettu (Mohiniattam), Krishna Kautvam, Thillana etc were staged. Sudha Peethambaran performed a specially choreographed item ‘Sakthithrayeeswari’ dealing with goddess Devi. CP Unnikrishnan (script, direction), MS Unnikrishnan (music direction), Sreekumar Urakam (vocal), RLV Venu Kurumassery (mridangam), Edappally Anil (violin), Unnikrishnan Perumbavoor (flute), Resmi Narayanan (nattuvangam), Babu Manickamangalam, Mani Master, Babu Irinjalakuda, Joy Potta, Nisha Babu (makeup) supported the event. 45 senior and junior dancers performed classical dance. Mangalam concluded the day’s proceedings.