Lifestyle Books and Art 02 Sep 2017 Dancer takes inspira ...

Dancer takes inspiration from Tamil poetry

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | NARAYANA VISHWANATH
Published Sep 2, 2017, 6:44 am IST
Updated Sep 2, 2017, 6:44 am IST
He is none other than dancer V. Balagurunathan, who hails from the family of Sivacharyas of the holy shrine of Karaikal Ammaiyar temple. 
	V. Balagurunathan
  V. Balagurunathan

He is a postgraduate from Kalakshetra Foundation and a master’s degree holder from Madras University, currently pursuing the Ph.D. programme at the Tamil Nadu Music and Fine Arts University. He is none other than dancer V. Balagurunathan, who hails from the family of Sivacharyas of the holy shrine of Karaikal Ammaiyar temple. 

Kalakshetra inspired his passion and later he was under the tutelage of his mother-in-law andguru Krishnaveni Lakshmanan and started spreading her famous work along with his dancer wife. During his learning years at Kalakshetra, he played many roles in Rukmini Devi Arundale’s works as Rama in “Sita Swayamvaram,” Lakshmana in “Sabari Moksham,” “ChoodamaniPradhanam,” “Maha Pattabhishekam” to name a few.

 

After graduation, he started his journey as a student and teacher. Through his guru and mother-in-law Krishnaveni Lakshmanan he had the opportunity to play lead roles in many dramas at Theosophical Society, Adyar.

Balagurunathan is an ‘A’ grade artiste of Doordarshan Kendra, Chennai, and received many awards such as Nrithya Kala Nipuna, Sathya Narthaka Sundaram, Acharya Kala Vipanchee, Obul Reddy senior dancer award from Narada Gana Sabha and more. He is a regular performer at all major sabhas in Chennai. He has presented “Damayanti Swayamvaram,” a great work of Krishnaveni Lakshmanan at the Cleveland Thyagaraja festival in 2010 and 2012 and also toured countries like Malaysia, Canada, Thailand, Nepal, Mauritius, Japan and South Africa.

 

Balagurunathan joined Darpana Academy of Mrinalini Sarabhai, where he trained several students, staged arangetrams and also had the opportunity to perform in the presence of US ex-president Bill Clinton in 2000 at  Rashtrapathi Bhavan. He has worked as senior teacher at SIFAS (Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society) for about 9 years and staged many thematic dance performances there. It was during this time that he had the privilege to represent Singapore as a principal Indian classical dancer and perform in the presence of all Asian prime ministers and US ex-president Barack Obama in  2009 for APEC Singapore.

 

V.Balaguruathan is now working to produce dance dramas on the basis of the principal stories of the Nayanmars, Shiva devotees from Periya Puranam, this also being his Ph.D. thesis. Tamil being his greatest inspiration, he aims to create new dance dramas from Tamil poetry and the epics, highlighting the beauty in the language and the life history of great people.

Apart from professional dancing, Balagurunathan is also a reputed teacher and Nattuvanar. His dance school Krishnanjali Academy under the Krishnanjali Trust supports and conducts free classes for underprivileged children and also funds their Academy Day celebrations where each child gets to participate. Balagurunathan is associated with Natyarangam’s Jana Bharatam and presents lecture demonstrations in Corporation schools. He does voluntary services for many cancer affected children by presenting free performances.

 

(The writer is a well known music critic who has won awards both in India and abroad for propagation of classical arts and music) 

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