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Kalakrishna goes down memory lane at Reva
- G. Ulaganathan

November 21, 2017

The brilliant dancer from Andhra Pradesh, Kalakrishna, the sole torch-bearer of Andhra Natyam revived by the great guru Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna, was at the Department of Performing Arts in the Reva University, Bangalore, on November 9 and gave a captivating lecture-demonstration to the post graduate students of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi as well as a few scholars who have registered for PhD in the university.

Organised by the Director, School of Performing Arts, Dr. Vasanth Kiran, as part of the Kalagnana Series (Guest Lecture Series) of the school, Kalakrishna shared his thoughts on the works of his guru, Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna, who worked seamlessly for the recognition and upliftment of the different dance traditions of the undivided Andhra Pradesh.

"He went from village to village, spoke to Devadasis in spite of stiff resistance and revived this great dance form," explained Kalakrishna. Speaking about his research on the various dance forms that existed in Andhra Pradesh and the rich devadasi traditions, he dwelt at length on his tough struggle to revive and preserve Andhra Natyam after his guru's death. The different dance forms that existed in the ancient and medieval Andhra Pradesh was well focused upon with reference to the temples that stood as the archeological evidences for the great heritage.

He also showed some of the rarest pictures of the devadasis who were the silent torch-bearers of the dance traditions in Andhra. Though there was no musical accompaniment, he demonstrated the subtle nuances of Nava Janardhana Parijatham as taught to him by his guru who had almost adopted him as his son. As a witness to the close bond that existed between them, I can confidently say that Kalakrishna is not only a chip off the old block but also the rare dancer who has excelled as a male dancer as well as a female impersonator par excellence.

Reva University students were no doubt thrilled by his explanation as well as informal exchange of views on the occasion.

G. Ulaganathan is a senior writer and journalist based in Bangalore.