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Kalasagara Academy of Performing Arts celebrated 50 years with an eclectic mix of music and dance

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Veena and thematic dance performances by students marked Kalasagara’s golden jubilee celebration

Veena and thematic dance performances by students marked Kalasagara’s golden jubilee celebration

When a programme offers a mix of classical music and dance, it caters to a wider audience. One such was on the evening of July 9, when Kalasagara Academy of Performing Arts celebrated its golden jubilee.

The evening began with seven students (five were older students of Kalasagara) sitting in a row with veena in their hands and playing in synchrony. Accompanying them was a young boy on the mridangam. The hour-long recital set the tone for the evening. Beginning with Valachi, a Navaragamalika varnam by Patnam Subramania Iyer, it also included compositions by Muthuswami Dikshitar, and Tygaraja, and concluded with a Thiruppugazh.

Veena performance by the students of Guru Malathy Thothadri of Kalasagara Academy of Performing Arts on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the institution at Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram on Saturday.
| Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

A recording of Carnatic songs performed by three young girls ( Kalasagara, USA) was also screened on the occasion.

Ramakrishna Upasmahe, a Bharatanatyam thematic recital by the students of Malathy Thothadri and Usha Raghavan, founders of Kalasagara Academy of Performing Arts, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the institution at Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram on Saturday.

Ramakrishna Upasmahe, a Bharatanatyam thematic recital by the students of Malathy Thothadri and Usha Raghavan, founders of Kalasagara Academy of Performing Arts, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the institution at Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram on Saturday.
| Photo Credit: M. VEDHAN

The much-awaited event of the evening was the thematic Bharatanatyam production, ‘Ramakrishna Upasmahe’, choreographed by Malathy Thothadri and Prassana Thothadri. It began with pushpanjali, depicting the birth of Bhudevi, followed by a piece that portrayed Garuda. Among the students who performed the piece were also those from Kalasagara’s branches in the U.S. and Canada.

Ramakrishna Upasmahe, a Bharatanatyam thematic recital by students of Malathy Thothadri and Usha Raghavan, founders of Kalasagara Academy of Performing Arts, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the institution at Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram on Saturday.

Ramakrishna Upasmahe, a Bharatanatyam thematic recital by students of Malathy Thothadri and Usha Raghavan, founders of Kalasagara Academy of Performing Arts, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the institution at Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram on Saturday.
| Photo Credit: M. VEDHAN

Keeping with the theme, the next piece was on Rama. Suitable backdrops such as of a forest and royal court, and cut-outs of boats and ocean were used to depict scenes from the Ramayana. The production also scored with its perfect lighting.

Ramakrishna Upasmahe, a Bharatanatyam thematic recital by students of Malathy Thothadri and Usha Raghavan, founders of Kalasagara Academy of Performing Arts, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the institution at Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram on Saturday.

Ramakrishna Upasmahe, a Bharatanatyam thematic recital by students of Malathy Thothadri and Usha Raghavan, founders of Kalasagara Academy of Performing Arts, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the institution at Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram on Saturday.
| Photo Credit: M. VEDHAN

The first part concluded with Rama’s victory over Ravana. The second part began with a jathi, followed by the birth of Krishna and various episodes from his life. This part too stood out for the use of appropriate props, lighting, and background music.

Ramakrishna Upasmahe, a Bharatanatyam thematic recital by the students of Malathy Thothadri and Usha Raghavan, founders of Kalasagara Academy of Performing Arts, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the institution at Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram on Saturday.

Ramakrishna Upasmahe, a Bharatanatyam thematic recital by the students of Malathy Thothadri and Usha Raghavan, founders of Kalasagara Academy of Performing Arts, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the institution at Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram on Saturday.
| Photo Credit: M. VEDHAN

One of the students, dressed as a saint, danced to one of Tulsidas’ bhajans. The evening concluded with a Dasavatara mangalam.

Kalasagara was established on October 2, 1972 by Ramaswamy and Radhamani, the parents of Malathy Thothadri and her sister, Usha Raghavan. Apart from training in veena and Bharatanatyam, the institution also teaches Carnatic music (instrumental and vocal).



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