Bharatanatyam guru Ananda Shankar Jayant launches dance practice app 'Natyarambha'

January 28, 2017

‘Natyarambha’ is a subscription-based digital app that brings dance to one’s doorstep. Inspired by the Prime Minister’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, acclaimed dancer, scholar, speaker, writer and guru Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant  has come up with a  unique digital application ‘Natyarambha’, which aims to enable Bharatanatyam enthusiasts to continue their practice beyond the classroom,  besides transforming the way dance is currently taught.

Ananda Shankar Jayant  & Sneha Magapu

Sneha, Dr BVR Mohan Reddy, Ananda, Sonal Mansingh

Available across various devices, the subscription based first-of-a-kind dance practice app,  ‘Natyarambha’ was launched in Hyderabad on January 22, 2017 evening at a glittering function, which saw a scintillating piano recital by Chennai based musician Anil Srinivasan and a crisp Bharatanatyam presentation by the Shankarananda Kalakshetra ensemble in line with the idea of the app.

Anil Srinivasan

“Practice has been a constant companion for all artists, for the young student in training and mastery of the style. Bharatanatyam as well as other performing art forms demand dedication and motivation besides regular and immersive practice.  Yet in today’s fast paced lifestyles formal training is only feasible for a few hours per week, making home practice an imperative essential but many students find it difficult to practice at home leading to delayed learning and loss of interest,” says Ananda.

Aimed at inspiring dance students to practice at home, to hone talent into training and perfect the basic grammar of the dance style, Ananda with the help of her student, Bharatanatyam dancer and teacher Sneha Magapu who is also a senior software professional, developed ‘Natyarambha’.  The app contains guided lessons, mnemonics, music and visuals, replicating the format of a Bharatanatyam class, and a range of practice options to enable practice at home easy.

“Natyaramba is conceived as an easy practice tool for learners even as it has powerful practice aids for professionals with a wide range of practice routines that can also be personalized and shared. It is a boon for young teachers like me, stimulating for students even as it will be a ready reference for a lot of parents out there. The online app comes with pre-recorded high quality lessons capturing the nuances of the dance form that we hope will transform the teaching, learning and practicing of dance,” says Sneha.

Natyarambha, besides helping students hone talent, and provide teachers with a ready reference tool, will also make practice easy for many to revisit their childhood passion for dance, and come back to it after a break. Present at the launch was renowned dancer Dr. Sonal Mansingh, who congratulated Ananda for the new digital learning tool and urged her to extend the app to other dance forms too. “What Ananda has done is extraordinary and something that has not been thought of so far. She deserves praise for pouring her knowledge, expertise and experience in this project so lovingly developed over years of hard work. I have seen that technology can have a snowballing effect in our lives and society and unless you embrace it you are left behind. I would urge her to extend it to Odissi, Kathak, Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi and other styles too,” complimented Sonal Mansingh.

BVR Reddy, Ex-President, Nasscom who was a guest at the launch congratulated the initiative. “What Ananda and Sneha have done is amazing to intersect technology with tradition and bring dance to our doorstep and make it possible to learn anywhere and everywhere.”

High praise for this new initiative has come from dance maestros across the field. “I recommend every Bharatanatyam artiste to subscribe to this new innovative and meticulously crafted web system by a stalwart,” says Guru V.P. Dhananjayan. “Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant has shown farsightedness in developing this app,” adds dancer Chitra Visweswaran, even as cultural activist Anita Ratnam says, “Natyarambha creates the platform to synergise practice, knowledge, rehearsal and a sense of community on a global cyber dance class.”

Natyarambha ( bridges the gap between class room training and home practice. Natyarambha has been produced and created by Shankarananda Kalakshetra, the Hyderabad based not-for-profit institution set up by Ananda.