Homage to dancing legends

Centenary celebrations

The Government of Karnataka, Karnataka Sangeeta Nrithya Academy and Karnataka Nrithyakala Parishat are organising the birth centenary celebrations of bharatanatyam guru Prof U S Krishna Rao in the City.

The three-day dance festival Maha-Maya will be held on January 4, 5 and 6 at Ravindra Kalakshetra and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

Professor U S Krishna Rao and wife U K Chandrabhaga Devi dedicated their lives to the propagation of bharatanatyam and gave innumerable performances, lecture-demonstrations, taught hundreds of students and wrote books to popularise the art form across the globe.

Krishna Rao was born on December 31, 1912. He secured first rank in MSc (Chemistry) in 1934 from Mysore University and took to dance in 1939 — a scientist-turned-dancer at a time when dance was looked down upon by society, specially for men. Dance was the forte of devdasis at that time.

After marriage to Chandrabhaga Devi on February 19, 1941, they began performing together becoming the first bharatanatyam dancing couple of India.
Their struggle was between art and education and they sacrificed everything for the sake of art.

The dancers of today are paying homage to them for bringing respectability to the art form.

Maha-Maya will be inaugurated on January 4, 6 pm at Ravindra Kalashetra. The performances of the day include bharatanatyam recitals by Sonal Mansingh and Harish Raman, Sri Raja Rajeshwari Nritya Kala Mandir Trust, Tumkur. Prateeksha Kashi will present a kuchipudi recital and kathak by Nadam Ensemble, led by Nandini K Mehta and K Murali Mohan.    

The events on January 5 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan will begin at 10.30 am with a seminar that will have participants like Sunil Kothari, dance scholar and critic; Leela Venkataraman, dance critic; Mysore V Subramanya, art critic, Sonal Mansingh and D S Kamath, Department of Performing Arts, Bangalore University.

Also, Lalitha Srinivasan, Shantala Awardee 2012 will be felicitated. There will also a recognition of dance couples Sridhar and Anuradha Shridhar; Kiran Subramanyam and Sandhya Kiran; T D Rajendra and Nirupama Rajendra; Uday Kumar Shetty and Soumya Uday Kumar. Rangaswamy and Chennakeshavaiah, musicians associated with U S Krishna Rao, will also be felicitated.

A documentary film ‘Smt and Prof U S Krishna Rao’ by H N Suresh will be screened.
On January 5, cultural programmes include bharatanatyam by the students of Department of Performing Arts, Bangalore University conducted by D S
Kamath, Prabal Gupta’s kathakali recital, bharatanatyam by Hema Panchamukhi and group and Sukruthi Natyalalaya.

The last event of the day will be a kathak recital by Nirupama and Rajendra,
Abhinava Dance Company.

On January 6, 10.30 am, at Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan, there will be the screening of the last documentation done on U S Krishna Rao by Ashish Mohan Khokar, who will introduce the film. This will be followed by felicitations to art critic S N Chandrashekhar. On the same evening, bharatanatyam will be presented by the disciples of Radha Sridhar, Venkatesha Natya Mandir.

Prathibha Prahalad, Asha Gopal and Revathi Satyu will present bharatanatyam recitals while Sharmila Mukherjee and team, Sanjali Centre for Odissi Dance will showcase odissi.

The programme is conceptualised and coordinated by Sharada Rudra and Mythrai Brahman.

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