What do Bala Murali Krishna, Vempati China Satyam, Yamini Krishnamurthy and Kalanidhi Narayanan have in common? They all taught this lady.
The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation Limited is organising a grand Music & Dance Festival, from 8th to 10th December, at the Taramati Baradari Culture Complex on Gandipet Road, Ibrahimbagh, where some highly talented and established musicians of India will be performing. The 3-day fest includes performances by Dr L Subramaniam & Kavita Subramaniam, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Deepika Reddy, Devayani, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Purbayan Chatterjee, Mohd Vakil and others.
Today, the 2nd day, Devayani will be presenting a Kuchipudi recital. Devayani is a French national born in Paris. In her formative years, she was nurtured in classical ballet at the Schola Cantorum in Paris. She holds a Master of Arts in French and English Literature from Sorbonne University. A Bharatanatyam dance sequence she witnessed in the film Phantom India, directed by Louis Malle, motivated her to learn this ancient Indian dance.
Subsequently, she was awarded a scholarship under the Indo-French Cultural Exchange Programme to learn Bharatanatyam in India. Devayani was placed under the tutelage of renowned gurus including Guru K G Ellapa Mudaliar and Kalaimamani V S Muthuswamy Pillai. Later on she trained under Guru V Sadasivam in the Tanjore style.
She was introduced to the world of Bharatanatyam by her guru Kalaimamani V S Muthuswamy Pillai, who had her perform Arangetram, which is the official debut, at Rasika Ranjani Sabha in Madras, to a packed audience of connoisseurs and dignitaries, who came to see the new star of Indian dance.
Today, Devayani is the foremost exponent of Bharatanatyam in India and internationally. In the initial stages of her training under eminent gurus, she grasped the beauty, rhythm and spiritual power of this nearly 3,000-year-old dance form, which was performed exclusively in South-Indian temples for invoking the blessings of the temple deity.
Her debut performance was also witnessed by a film director Srinivasan, who was engaged in the production of a film titled America Ammayi. Even though she did not know the indigenous language, Devayani was given the lead role, as the most important sequences of the film were focused on dances in the Chidambaram Temple, a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva who, according to Hindu mythology, is the god of Dance. The film went on to become a box-office hit.
Devyani has performed for various dance festivals of India at Mumbai, Kolkata, Bhopal, Allahabad, Nagpur, Chandigarh, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Mussoorie, Goa, Jaipur, New Delhi, Dehradun, Mamallapuram, Agra, Jhansi, Haridwar and Bhopal, and in concerts at Paris, Madrid, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Luxembourg,Sweden, UK, Estonia, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Korea.
To expand her expertise in music, she is still learning various arts of dance and music - Bharatanatyam under Amala Devi and Malavika, the art of Abhinaya under Kalanidhi Narayanan, Karanas (sculptural poses) under Kumari Swarnamukhi, Kuchipudi under Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam, Carnatic vocal music under Padma Vibushan Dr M Bala Murali Krishna, Kalyani Shekar in the Dandayuthapani Pillai style, and the refinements of Bharatanatyam under Dr. Yamini Krishnamurthi.
The entry to this festival is through daily tickets of Rs. 200 per head, or season passes of Rs. 500 per head for 3 days of the festival. For tickets and other details, please contact APTDC Ltd at 2329-8456/57 or 2345-3036/0165, or the venue at 2352-0172/1884.