Bharati Shivaji

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Bharati Shivaji
Born1948
OccupationClassical dancer
Known for Mohiniyattom
Awards Padma Shri
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
Lasya Lakshmi
Sahitya Kala Parishad Samman
Nritya Choodamani

Bharati Shivaji is an Indian classical dancer of Mohiniyattom, [1] choreographer and author, known for her contributions to the art form by way of performance, research and propagation. [2] She is the founder of Center for Mohiniyattam, a dance academy promoting Mohiniyattom [3] and the co-author of two books, Art of Mohiniyattom [4] and Mohiniyattom. [5] She is a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award [6] and Sahitya Kala Parishad Samman. [7] The Government of India awarded her the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri, in 2004, for her contributions to Indian classical dance. [8]

Contents

Biography

Mohiniyattam is one of the eight Indian classical dance forms recognized by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. The term Mohiniyattam comes from the words "Mohini" (meaning a woman who enchants onlookers) and "attam" (meaning graceful and sensuous body movements). The word "Mohiniyattam" literally means "dance of the enchantress". [9]

Bharati Shivaji was born in 1948 in the temple town of Kumbakonam, in Tanjavur district of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, [10] and had her early training in Bharatnatyam under Lalita Shastri [11] and Odissi under Kelucharan Mohapatra. [12] Later, on advice from Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, renowned social reformer, she took up research on Mohiniyattom, the traditional dance form of Kerala. [7] After obtaining a research fellowship from Sangeet Natak Akademi, she traveled to Kerala and pursued research under Kavalam Narayana Panicker, a scholar of the Temple Arts of Kerala and former vice-chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi. [13] Shifting her focus from Bharatnatyam and Odissi, [11] she started training Mohiniyattom under Radha Marar and, later, under Kalamandalam Satyabhama, and also had a training stint under Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma, [3] considered by many as the Mother of Mohiniyattom. [14]

Legacy

Moving to New Delhi, Shivaji founded the dance academy, Center for Mohiniyattom, a dedicated facility for promoting the dance form. She is known to have contributed to the evolution of the dance tradition, [7] by adding more languor to the already languorous discipline, [11] and by adapting it to other dance forms such as ballet; her Mohiniyattom adaptation of the Swan Lake of Tchaikovsky, choreographed along with her daughter, Vijayalakshmi, is one such effort. [15] Her productions include adaptations of Bhanusinger Padavali of Rabindranath Tagore, [16] Chandrotsavam of the Manipravalam, Somastuthi from the Rig Veda, and the Devagita, from Ashtapadi. [3] She is known to have incorporated postures, movements and music from other Traditional art forms of Kerala such as Ottamthullal, Kaikottikali, Thayambaka and Krishnanattam into Mohiniyattom, a legacy from her tutelage under Kavalam Narayana Panicker. [17]

In 1986, Shivaji published his first book, Art of Mohiniyattam, co-authored by Avinash Pasricha. [4] The book documents her researches under Sangeet Natak Akademi fellowship and a subsequent senior fellowship from the Department of Culture under the Ministry of Human Resource Development and is a reference book on the subject. [7] She published another book, Mohiniyattam, co-written by her daughter, Vijayalakshmi, herself a noted Mohiniyattom performer, in 2003. [5] The book deals with the history and evolution of the art form and comments about the styles and techniques, repertoire, music, costumes and jewellery associated with it. [2] She has performed on several stages in India [18] [19] and abroad [20] and has taught many Indian and foreign students. [21] She also continues her research by visiting temples and gives lecture-demonstrations on the dance form at conferences and seminars. [16]

Awards and honours

Shivaji was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1999-2000. [6] Four years later, the Government of India included her in the 2004 Republic Day Honours list for the fourth highest civilian award of the Padma Shri. [8] She is a recipient of the Sahitya Kala Parishad Samman, Lasya Lakshmi title from Kunchan Nambiar Memorial Trust, Kerala and Nritya Choodamani title from the Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai. [22] She won the Nishagandhi Puraskaram of the Government of Kerala in 2017. [23]

Sara and Urs Baur, two American filmmakers, have made a documentary, Beyond Grace, on Mohiniyattom and the art of Shivaji which features her daughter, Vijayalakshmi, too. [24] The 78-minute film, which details the work of the mother-daughter combination, [25] was premiered on 9 July 2011 at the Raleigh Theatre, Hollywood, Los Angeles. [24]

Bibliography

See also

Related Research Articles

Mohiniyattam One of the classical dances of India

Mohiniyattam,, is one of the famous classical dances of India that developed and remained popular in the state of Kerala. Kathakali is another classical dance form of Kerala. Mohiniyattam dance gets its name from the word Mohini – a historical enchantress avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, who helps the good prevail over evil by developing her feminine powers.

Koodiyattam Traditional performing art form in Kerala, India

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Mani Madhava Chakyar

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Kavalam Narayana Panicker

Kavalam Narayana Panicker was an Indian dramatist, theatre director, and poet. He has written over 26 Malayalam plays, many adapted from classical Sanskrit drama and Shakespeare, notably Kalidasa's Vikramorvasiyam, Shakuntalam (1982), Bhasa's Madhyamavyayogam (1979), Karnabharam, Uru Bhangam (1988), Swapnavasavadattam, and Dootavakyam (1996). He was the founder – director of theatre troupe, Sopanam, which led to the foundation of Bhashabharati: Centre for Performing Arts, Training and Research, in Trivandrum.

Kanak Rele

Kanak Rele is an Indian dancer, choreographer and academic best known as an exponent of Mohiniyattom. She is the founder-director of the Nalanda Dance Research Centre and the founder-principal of the Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya in Mumbai.

Sunanda Nair

Dr Sunanda Nair is the first student in India to have a master's degree in Mohiniattam from Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya affiliated to the University of Mumbai. She has cleared the necessary net exams demanded by the University. She has completed her PhD from University of Mumbai for her thesis "Intrinsic Lyrical Feminism in Mohiniattam". She was born in Mumbai, India.

Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair was one of the most renowned Kathakali artists of any time, and arguably the greatest in the history of the four-century-old classical dance-drama from Kerala in southern India. He had fleshy, flexible and clean-cut facial features that were powerful to launch any emotion with amazing power and ease, and was intelligent enough to acquire and exhibit varied styles of Kathakali that were in vogue across Kerala during his lifetime.

Kalamandalam Kallyanikutty Amma was an epoch-making Mohiniyattam danseuse from Kerala in southern India. A native of Thirunavaya in Malappuram district of the state, she was instrumental in resurrecting Mohiniyattam from a dismal, near-extinct state into a mainstream Indian classical dance, rendering it formal structure and ornamentation.

Smitha Rajan

Smitha Rajan is an Indian Mohiniyattam performer from Kerala and granddaughter of the legendary Indian classical dancer couple of Padma Shri Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair and Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma. Her mother Sreedevi Rajan is a noted Mohiniyattam Guru and Smitha's teacher. Her father was the late T. R. Rajappan.

Kalamandalam Leelamma was a leading Mohiniyattom dancer from Kerala, India.

Guru Mampuzha Madhava Panicker (1900–1973) was a traditional Kathakali dancer and instructor. He was the former principal of the Kerala Kalamandalam University of Art and Culture in Cheruthuruthi in Kerala State in India. Panicker was of the Kalluvazhi (midland) school of Kathakali. He received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1972.

Vimala Menon, known popularly as Kalamandalam Vimala Menon is an Indian dance teacher and Mohiniyattam exponent from Kerala. She is the founder and Director of Kerala Natya Academy in Thiruvananthapuram.

Deepti Omchery Bhalla is an artist from India who is versatile in singing and dancing. She was trained in these skills by her mother Leela Omchery, a well-known carnatic singer. She is a leading exponent of Mohiniyattam, a classical dance form from Kerala, India. She learnt Mohiniattam, the female classical solo dance from the great exponent Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma. She is Professor in Carnatic Music at the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, University of Delhi. She received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2007.

Kalamandalam Kshemavathy

Kalamandalam Kshemavathy is a Mohiniyattam dancer from Thrissur, Kerala. She is an alumna of the reputed Kerala Kalamandalam. She joined the institute when she was ten. After completion of the course, she undertook advanced training in Bharata Natyam under Muthuswamy Pillai and Chitra Visweswaran, and in Kuchipudi under Vempati Chinna Satyam, but chose to remain within the Mohiniyattam tradition. She has been in the field for 47 years.

Kalamandalam V. Satyabhama was an Indian classical dancer, teacher and choreographer, known for her performances and scholarship in mohiniyattam. She is regarded as a matriarch of the classical dance form. She was also well versed in other classical dances of Kerala. She was awarded the Padma Shri, in 2014, for her contributions to the art and culture, by the Government of India.

Kavungal Chathunni Panicker

Kavungal Chathunni Panicker was an Indian classical dancer, known for his proficiency in Kathakali, the traditional dance form of Kerala. He was an exponent of the Kavungal School of Kathakali, noted for its rigorous training methods and overt physical interpretation of abhinaya. He is known to have brought innovations to the dance form, especially in the decorative movements (kalasam) and his contributions are reported in the development of grammar and costumes for the Kavungal School. A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1973, Panicker was honored again by the Government of India, in 2006, with the fourth highest Indian civilian award of Padma Shri.

Kalamandalam Radhika

Dr. Kalamandalam Radhika is an Indian classical dancer, choreographer, research scholar, teacher, writer and philanthropist. She was the first non-resident Keralite to win the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi award for Mohiniyattom. She learnt Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam, Kathakali and other dance forms.

Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair

Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair, also known as Guru Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair is an Indian Kathakali actor. He has spent over eighty years learning and teaching and performing Kathakali, a major form of classical Indian dance The Government of India awarded him the fourth highest civilian honor, Padma Shri in 2017.

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Further reading