Date: Sun, 2012/01/08 – 6:30pm
In our 15th Session, we present Ratna Papa Kumar in a focus on Changes in Kuchipudi. Ratna Papa Kumar remains a senior disciple of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam and has traversed this journey over 60 year period, in which the fortunes of the form, have undergone tremendous changes from village/mellamtraditions to new challenges posed by the proscenium stage.
Dance DISCourse (academic dance series at Alliance, curated and presented by Ahish Khokar) is entering its3rd year in 2012. This would not have been possible without active support of lovely B’lore audiences, the media and dance connoisseurs. That we have built a committed audience which includes the young city-professional, is in itself an achievement, since classical forms face lots of challenges.
About Ratna Papa Kumar:
Rathna Kumar is an internationally renowned dancer, teacher, choreographer and arts educator and the Founder-Director of first Indian dance school in Texas, USA – the Anjali Center for Performing Arts. An exponent of both Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, Rathna has the distinction of being the first student of Kalaimamani Smt. K. J. Sarasa, and one of the senior most disciples of Padma Bhushan Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam. In 1968 Rathna became the first student of the prestigious Kuchipudi Art Academy to receive a Sangeet Natak Akademi scholarship.
Rathna has been recognized as a true cultural ambassador of Indian performing arts in the US. She has numerous productions and world premiers to her credit, and has published two innovative illustrated books on the fundamental techniques of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. Rathna has received numerous titles and awards, both in India and the US, among them an Honorary Doctorate in Performing Arts from the Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad. She has also received a prestigious US Congressional Recognition and special Certificates of Appreciation from former US President George W. Bush and Texas Governor Rick Perry. As an arts educator, Rathna has been invited twice by the UNESCO to deliver keynote speeches, at the First World Conference in Arts Education in Lisbon, Portugal, and the First Creativity Summit in Hong Kong. Rathna is currently a Teaching Artist with the Young Audiences of Houston, and works with disadvantaged children and those with physical challenges, using the hand gestures and movements of Indian classical dance as a medium of alternative communication. She also teaches a credit course in Bharatanatyam at the prestigious Rice University in Houston.
Creativity is an asset that Rathna has in abundance. Her repertoire of dances is diverse, unusual and immense. From the compositions of the traditional old masters to the contemporary, Rathna has choreographed to a large selection of music that transcends linguistic barriers, while still maintaining the intrinsic purity of the dance style.
For her prodigious work in the field of Kuchipudi dance, Rathna was recently honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar for 2010.