Bharata Natyam is one of the oldest dance forms of India. It was nurtured in the temples and courts of southern India since ancient times. Later it was codified and documented as a performing art in the 19th century. The art was handed down as a living tradition from generation to generation and today Bharata Natyam is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is practiced by male and female dancers all over the world. Due to its wide range of movements and postures and the balanced melange of the rhythmic and mimetic aspects lends itself well to experimental and fusion choreography. Degree and Post Graduate courses covering the practice and theory of Bharata Natyam as well as the languages associated with its development are available at many institutes of around the world.
Here is a brief introduction about the Smt. Nirainjana Chantru and her Guru, ‘Kalapooshanam’ Smt. Thiripurasundari Yogananthan, where she learned bharata Natyam and Smt. Thirupurasundari Yogananthan’s Guru ‘Pathmasri’ Vazhavoor Ramaiahpillai.
‘Pathmasri’ Vazhavoor Ramaiahpillai
Guru Vazhuvur Ramiah Pillai was one of most renowned teachers ever remembered for his style in the field of Bharatnatyam hailing from this traditional family, whose lineage flourished, centuries ago, directly under the patronage of the Chola kings, “Padmasiri” Vazhavoor Ramaiah Pillai ‘s Natya parampara traces its origin dating back about 2,000 years ago at his village of Vazhuvoor. He developed a stream of well-known dancers and dance Gurus who reign as top performers and teachers in the present day. Popular stalwarts such as Kamala Narayanan, K.J. Sarasa, Dr.Padma Subramaniam, Chitra Viveswaran, Vyjayanthimala Bali, Leela Rammohan, “Kalapooshanam” Thiripurasundari Yoganantham and many more. Generally there is a popular belief that there are four different styles in Bharatha Natyam, among them Vazhuvoor style gained the worldwide recognition which was to Vazhuvoor’s lasting contribution to this great art. He founded Vazhuvoorar Classical Bharatha Natya Art Centre at Mylapore, and organized Vazhuvoorar Art Festival in Chennai during the December season. In the closing years of his life he wrote a book ‘Theiveka Aadal Kalai’ on dance.
‘Kalapooshanam’ Smt. Thiripurasundari Yoganantham
A dance Maestro was trained by the doyen Padmashri Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai. With over forty five years of service to the art of Bharatha Natyam, she was an acclaimed artist and the most sought after Guru in Sri-lanka. She had trained and produced many brilliant dancers all over the world. She had received numerous awards and titles including the” Kalapooshanam”, revealed her generosity and silently carried on her mission, which was to keep the Vazhuvur flag flying. She found Kalaimanram in Sri-Lanka in 1958 witnessed by her guru Padmashri Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai. Her exquisite choreography, outstanding singing ability with a gifted melodious voice and the unique Vazhuvoor style of rendering the Jathis was not only a delight to the senses but also fulfilled the critic and connoisseur with technical brilliance and traditional purity.
Smt. Nirainjana chantru
Smt. Nirainjana chantru Introduced Dance examination for bharatahanatyam for the first time in Canada. Nirainjana Provides traditional training in classical Indian dance and Yoga since 1985. Nira’s school has grown to become a major Canadian institution where students of diverse cultural backgrounds are trained in the classical and contemporary traditions of Indian dance. Nira has created a whole generation of rigorously trained Indian dancers all around the world. As a choreographer, Nirainjana spans wide range; from stunning solo numbers to elaborate productions of dance dramas, and from pure traditional dance to experimental works involving fusion of dance styles. Her choreography, whether in traditional or non- traditional idiom, is rich, textured, innovative and multi-layered in meaning and gradation. Few of her presented thematic dance features are “kuttrala Kuravanji”,” Bhama vijayam”, “Geetha upathesam’ . Nirainjana Served in many high schools as a dance Teacher and a dance examiner in many dance examinations. Conducted over 50 senior and Junior Arangetrams Nirainjana is the recipient of many prestigious awards such as Natya kalaimani, Bharathakala Vithahar and Manitha Mathangi. Every year Nirainjana continues the annual festival and Arangetrams, examinations. Her senior disciples are not only able performers but have also started up their own teaching institutions.
Ishwaria Chandru is a Toronto-based dancer and musician who has been performing since the age of three. She has been learning Carnatic Vocal and Violin from Sangeetha Vidwan Smt. Thanathevy Mithradeva and Bharatanatyam under the guidance of her mother, Guru Nirainjana Chandru. She has also continues to recieve advanced training from many leading exponents in the field. She is the title winner of Raaga Sangamam, and reality TV show by TVI Inc, and she holds many titles and gold medals to her name. Ishwaria has presented lecture demonstrations and workshops for the Ontario Art Gallery (AGO) and the Aga Khan Museum and has created a program with her mother for the Canadian Senior Tamil’s Association where she choreographs dance routines for the seniors. Moreover, Ishwaria has been performing with the Janak Khendry Dance company from 2012 and has taken part in his productions “Kaal-Time” (2012), “Paradise Lost” (2013), and “Women Liberated” (2015). She had also gone on a dance tour to the Middle East and India with the Janak Khendry Dance Company in 2013. Ishwaria also regularly presents dance recitals and music concerts in the U.K. and in India. She has also choreographed and produced her own dance dramas. Recently, she has sung a track for director Selva Raghavan’s movie, “Vanangaamudi”, under the musical direction of D. Imman and has acted in Director Lenin Sivam’s movie, Roobha. Presently, Ishwaria teaches dance and music at Kalaimanram Academy of Fine Arts and Yoga and is a final year student at York University pursuing a degree in World Dance Studies and Education.