Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna

Nataraja RamakrishnaPadmasri - Bharatakalaprapoorna Dr Nataraja Ramakrishna is a most respected Natyacharya of Andhra Pradesh. A former chairman of Andhra Pradesh Sangeeta Nataka Academy, he is a dance artist, guru, scholar, and musicologist who has been propagating classical dance in Andhra Pradesh for the past 60 years.

He is the architect of the Andhra Natyam dance form, a devotional temple dance tradition performed in Andhra Pradesh for over 400 years until virtually extinct. Conceived as a fusion of the spiritual and intellectual, incorporating lucid expressions, sculpturesque postures and brisk foot-work, Andhra Natyam highlights the lasya aspect of classical dance.

He single-handedly reconstructed the Perini Sivatandavam, a powerful and vigorous masculine pure dance style that was performed to inspire and invigorate warriors (Prerana) before going to the battle field. Evidence of its existence reaches back to the 10th century AD. It is due to the diligent scholarly efforts of Dr Nataraja Ramakrishna that this dance has been revived. Dr Nataraja Ramakrishna is an absolute authority on Satwikaabhinaya, which is a speciality of Andhra temple dance artists.

Over his long career he has trained many dancers and has written and choreographed highly acclaimed dance dramas. As a research scholar sponsored by the Government of India, he worked in the then USSR (Russia) and France to propagate Indian dance art, making a comparative study of Indian and western Classical and folk dances.

He has written more than 40 books, many of them highly awarded, and his contribution to the art of dance is widely recognized. With his innumerable performances, lecture demonstrations and through his extensive travels he has created an awareness not only of Kuchipudi dance, but also revived the lost and forgotten dance forms of Andhra Pradesh.

Were it not for Dr Nataraja Ramakrishna’s dedication and devotion, Andhra Natyam and Perini Sivatandavam, the spiritual dance art of Andhra Pradesh would have been a dead art buried deep in the pages of history.