EPITAPH : NATARAJA RAMAKRISHNA

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Welcome to Epitaph for D’s Art Takes. Here we present the creative legacies of influential people, who are no longer among us. Today we invite you to take a look at the life of the Indian dance master, Nataraja Ramakrishna.

Nataraja Ramakrishna was born in Bali, Indonesia in 1923. Both his parents were Indian, from around Andhra Pradesh. Ramakrishnan’s mother, Damayani Devi, was highly talented at playing the veena. When she died, the family returned from Indonesia to India. Ramakrishnan was only 3 years old at the time.

In India, Ramakrishna was taken by the diverse styles of classical dance. However, his father, did not think it was appropriate for the young boy to take up dancing. Adamant to pursue his interests, the dance enthusiast therefore left home and moved to Madras (now Chennai).

Ramakrishna had several dance teachers. But, his older brother Shyama Sundar was his mentor. Apart from this, he also associated with Naidupeta Rajamma, Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai and Jampa Muthyam.

Ramakrishna first cemented his reputation as a great dancer in the Nagpur royal court. Here, he was given the title of Nataraja by the king himself.

Contributions to Dance : Nataraja Ramakrishna

The dance master is credited with reviving several traditional forms of movement. Including the Andhra Natyam, a form of devotional dance performed in temples. As well as Perini Shivatandavam. He also popularised Kuchipudi on an international platform.

Passionately keeping dance traditions alive, Ramakrishna also set up the Nritya Niketan in Hyderabad. In 1991, he received the prestigious Raja-Lakshmi award. And the next year, he was also awarded the Padma Shri. He also received several awards from institutions and the state govenement of Andhra Pradesh.

Ramakrishna died in 2011.


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