Among the reputed and well-known dance institutes in Chennai is the Kalasamarpana Foundation, founded by the Narasimhacharis – Late Narasimhachari and Vasanthalakshmi Narasimhachari – in 1969. Swarnaanjali, the celebration of their golden jubilee, will feature a 90-minute dance tribute to guru Narasimhachari performed by over 100 artists on Sunday. The event will be held at Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai on August 4.
This 90-minute presentation has excerpts from a selection of their thirty-two dance dramas and thematic presentations created over the years. Vasanthalakshmi Narasimhachari explains, “Each of our 34 dance dramas is special because they are well researched and based on literature, mythology, history, biographies and themes of social and contemporary relevance.”
The Voice of Ganga – Gangaiyin Kural, a piece written by Puttaneri Subramaniam upon request, was performed for the Clean Ganga Project in Varnasi when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister. “Would you believe it if I told you that the stage was a rocking boat! This dance production required research on mythology as well as the current issues and both had to be incorporated in the lyrics and highlighted in the presentation,” she adds. A portion from this will be a part of the Sunday’s performance.
Kalingathupparani, the 12th-century war epic by Jeyamkondar is another creation by the foundation.”This epic brings on stage extraordinary images of human bravery and sacrifice. The unique challenge of choreographing this piece was recreating the movements of war through dance with the minimal use of props and depicting the various elements of war, such as the cavalry, elephantry, archers and swordsman with distinct dance steps,” says Vasanthalakshmi.
The Narasimhacharis as Shiva and Parvathi
As cultural ambassadors of India to Burma in 1985
In Perfect Unison
The Narasimhacharis as Mohini and Bhasmasura
with daughters Lavanya and Lasya
Kalasamarpana Foundation caters to a wide range of students and believes in rigorous training. Over the years, they’ve maintained that there is no shortcut to knowledge. On the topic, Vasanthalakshmi says, “The times have certainly changed. When the school was started in 1969, the pace of life was leisurely, and the students had a lot more time to spend on dancing. Today is a time of quick results. The child performing the Arangetram is one more achievement ticked off their bucket list! But at the Kalasamarpana Foundation there is no shortcut to knowledge or success. Our students go through rigorous training in Natyam and its allied fields and blossom into full fledged artistes. The Arangetram in that sense marks the beginning and not the end of the journey.”
While the Narasimhacharis are adept most classic dance forms – Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathak, Mohiniyattam and Kathakali – the foundation strives to maintain an inclusive art space, one that nurtures talent. “Art is for everyone! We have a student base that comes from a wide range of backgrounds. It is the love for Natyam and their innate talent that brings them to the KSF. My husband and I feel that it is art that chooses the artiste and not the other way around. On our part, no student has been turned away for lack of resources. As long as a person is willing to invest time and energy into learning, they are welcome to the Kalasamarpana Foundation,” says Vasanthalakshmi.
Blending indigenous folk elements seamlessly into the classical idiom
Creating Visual Wonders on Stage
Old World Charm
At the venue, a walk-through gallery showcasing rare photographs of the Charis will also be kept. The event is open for all and begins at 5 pm.
Source: The News Minute