Dancer Anuratha Swaminathan creates an Instagram sequence on hereditary nattuvanars and gurus
It’s an previous home in Mel Veedi, Thanjavur. An attractive pulli kolam is drawn on the steps on the entrance. Inside, a number of black and white and sepia-tinted pictures of legendary nattuvanars of Bharatanatyam grasp from the partitions. Korai mats have been laid out on the red-oxide flooring. On a picket bench within the slim passage alongside the muttram (central courtyard) sits Okay.P.Okay Chandrasekhar, son of the famed Kittappa Pillai.
“That is the sanctum of dance. This 200-year-old home is the place the Thanjavur Quartet brothers—Ponniah, Chinniah, Sivanandam and Vadivelu—lived and created the Bharatanatyam repertoire,” says Anuratha Swaminathan, starting to hint the historical past of the artwork type and the household’s lineage. Behind her is a portray of child Krishna gifted to the household by the Maratha king of Thanjavur.
This complete situation is an episode from an Instagram sequence, anchored and curated by Anuratha, a Bharatanatyam dancer, who educated within the Thanjavur sampradayam, below the Malaysia-based Indira Manickam. Daughter-in-law of the well-known natyacharya B. Herambanathan, Anuratha, alongside together with her mridangist husband Swaminathan, has provide you with an attention-grabbing and insightful sequence that takes viewers again in time to know how conventional practitioners taught the dance type and perfected its method. Within the course of, she has been reaching out to some veteran dancers and gifted disciples of the hereditary gurus, who recall the rigorous coaching and the way their ‘vadyar’ (nattuvanars) or ‘trainer amma’ (feminine gurus) have been unsparing of errors and mediocrity. It’s fascinating to find how in that period dancer-gurus from the Isaivellalar group used a sure extraordinary type to groom younger disciples on this demanding artwork type.
Mridangam exponent and nattuvanar T G Bavu Pillai
“My guru would guarantee we have been within the araimandi place all through the adavu (footwork) session. She would insist that we tie a fabric belt to scale back stress on the hip and backbone. And if we tousled an adavu, the subsequent second the thattukazhi (small picket stick used to maintain beat) would land close to our toes. We have been anticipated to take the artwork critically and intention for excellence,” says Usha Balachandran, a disciple of Thanjavur Lakshmikantham Ammal. “Moreover the various adavus, she taught us totally different hand gestures and eye actions to accompany numerous feelings. The intention was to make the complete physique as expressive as potential.”
Although these gurus have been strict disciplinarians, their disciples say they have been additionally caring and beneficiant. “They have been taskmasters solely within the class as a result of they taught with function — to cross on the wealthy treasure that they possessed. “The entire world would possibly have a good time Kittappa Pillai as a nattuvanar, however to us he was a loving patriarch,” says Malathi Dominic, certainly one of his earliest college students.
The coaching was systematic, relaxed and focussed on each side of natya. The scholars weren’t allowed to start out dancing from day one. They needed to first attentively take heed to jatis being uttered by their gurus, then be taught to maintain beat with their arms, subsequent can be footwork, adopted by abhinaya and on the finish of it, they might be launched to compositions of the margam.
“We continued doing the adavus until we might carry out them flawlessly, which might not be lower than two years. One might get to be taught the alarippu solely after a three-year coaching within the fundamental grammar. So sturdy was the inspiration,” says Nandini Ramani, a well known proponent of the Balasaraswati type. “Bala didn’t imagine in over-dramatising feelings or glamourising actions. She made a mark together with her sincere and easy portrayals.”
The gurus didn’t compromise even when it got here to household. Kuttalam M. Selvam says his father Muthuswamy Pillai (a recipient of the French honour, Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres) insisted on his rigorous coaching earlier than permitting him to choose up the cymbals to do nattuvangam. So it was with S. Palaniappan, grandson of Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai.
The conversations on the Insta presentation emphasise the timelessness of the standard patantaram. And create consciousness concerning the influential moments in dance historical past. In addition they make one realise how a dancer can develop a definite method and put together the physique for larger inventive challenges by gaining experience in adavus, theermanams, kalapramanam and hand gestures.
“If the sequence has managed to attract consideration, it reveals that custom nonetheless holds sway,” says Anuratha. “For me, it has been a satisfying expertise as an artiste. It felt like going by means of my coaching once more whereas chatting with the dancers, who dropped at gentle the works of some hereditary gurus about whom the world would not know. As an example, Thanjavur Lakshmikantham Ammal and Duraikannu Ammal of Pichaiya Pillai College of Bharatanatyam, the primary central authorities registered dance college in 1952. Veena Bashiniammal, Lakshmikantham’s grandmother, was identified for her riveting abhinaya lessons.”
Kalapramanam (tempo) is a major characteristic of the Thanjavur bani. “And a relaxed kalapramanam lets the dancer convey out the great thing about each adavu and bhava and the altering sensibilities too,” says Anuratha.
Streamed from October 7 to 10, it tracks the journey of B. Herambanathan, whose father was mridangam exponent and nattuvanar T.G. Bavu Pillai, who accompanied stalwart gurus akin to Chinniah Nattuvanar, Meenakshisundaram Pillai, Pichaiya Pillai, Chockalingam Pillai, Kuppiah Pillai, Ponnaiya Pillai, Kittappa Pillai, Kaamu Kannamal, Pandanallur Jayalakshmi, Rukmini Devi Arundale and Mrinalini Sarabhai. Herambanathan is well-versed in each mridangam and natyam. Moreover Bharatanatyam, he has been a musician of the Melattur Bhagavata Mela and was a part of the revival of Kaisika Natakam at Thirukurungudi. Alongside along with his two sons, Swaminathan and Hariharan, Herambanathan is constant the household custom of the Thanjavur bani. The sequence could be watched on thanjavurdhrsyakavyakoodam.