Smt.P.Rama Devi, a well known Kuchipudi Dance Exponent, hailing from a Malayalee Nair family from Calicut District and brought up in A.P. had a fascination towards the Kuchipudi dance form since her child hood and availed the opportunity to learn this noble art under the able guidance of Guru Sri. Mahankali Srimannarayana at the age of five.
Her enthusiasm and zeal to learn did not confine her to the dance field, but also in academics like B.Sc, B.Ed, Praveena Hindi Language, and Higher Diploma in Software Engineering, Diploma course in Domestic Science, thus drawing no horizons to her capabilities. She has been awarded the Gold Medal by the Governor of A. P., Dr. Ranga Rajan for her outstanding performance in M.A (Kuchipudi Dance) from P.S. Telugu University, Hyd. She established her own dance institution "Sri Sal Nataraja Academy of Kuchipudl Dance" in 1989 in Secunderabad and since then it has been a consistent effort to mould several young children in to dancers who are Professionals both in practical & theoretical knowledge. The academy also imparts training in carnatic vocal. She was awarded Senior Fellowship under Dept.Of.Culture, Govt.Of.lndia for the subject "Comparative study between Kuchipudi Yakshagana and Kathakali Dance". She wants to put this research in practicality by presenting a ballet blending Kuchipudi Yakshagana style and Kathakali Dance forms as media of dance. The Academy has already received production grants for two of their other ballets namely, - "Bhavayami Raghuramam" and "Sree Tulasi Mahatyam". She has been a member in the panel of judges for the scholarships for juniors given by H.R.D. Govt.Of.lndia.
The strong reason for this dancer to become an author was the dire need for a book that could be handy for the students appearing for the four years certificate course and two years Diploma and Degree courses conducted by the universities, colleges and other scholarship exams in Kuchipudi Dance. As a teacher she realized that there was no single book for Kuchipudi, which covered the syllabus prescribed by the University for the various courses. So she took up the assignment to write a book and that is how "KUCHIPUDI DANCE IN TEXTUAL FORM" came in to being. This book not only satisfies the need of students but also gives the common man a wide scope to understand this art form due to its simple and lucid language. This book has been selected by "Raja Rammohan Roy library" calcutta for distribution to 417 Central Libraries all over the country and 67 Public Libraries in A. P.
As an added qualification she has begun writing the script for her ballets. And also written classical songs, which are presented as solo items. She has already choreographed nearly 50 solo items of different Poets and Vaggeyakarakas.
She strongly believes that it is impossible to master any subject without a Teacher/Guru. Showing her gratitude, she has felicitated many eminent gurus in the field of Music, Dance and Makeup on every annual celebration of her Academy. She has given performances at various prestigious platforms in and around the country.
She has choreographed 15 Ballets in Kuchipudi Dance style and her ballets have won laurels from critics too. Her ballets include 1.Veekshe Deva Devam.(Based on Sri Krishna Leela Tarangini), 2.Bhavayami Raghuramam, 3. Rutu-Ravali (A complete instrumental musical oriented Ballet depicting the Six seasons and their effect on Nature and Living things.), 4.Asta Lakshmi Vaibhavam, 5.Budham Saranam Gatchami, 6.Amarajeevi(story of Potti SriRamulu), 7.Sree Tulasi Mahatyam, 8.Sabari Gireesa Saranam(Story on Lord Ayyappa), 9.Chaitanya Murthy Vivekananda, 10.Vache Vache Samkranthi, 11.AndaIa Tarana (OnUgadi - Script by Smt.P.Rama Devi), 12.Raghukula Tilakam Ramam (Ramayana based on Tyagaraja Keertanas), 13. Naree Manasam (Based on the Nayikas and Astavidha avastha), 14.Satyam Sivam Sundaram, 15.Siddhartha.
"Kuchipudi Kalapas - an odyssey rediscovered" is her second book which covers the detailed development of dance in A.P., This book covers the history of Yakshagans, Kuchipudi Yakshagans and detailed description of both Bhama Kalapam and Golla Kalapam.
The primary aim of this book is to place before the students/readers, the fundamental theme of the subject with clarity, simplicity, deeper insight to understand main aspect of the performance of the kalapas and yakshaganas of the Kuchipudi dance.
"KUCHIPUDI KALAPAS - An Odyssey Rediscovered" is a simple book, which gives you a brief knowledge about the Yakshaganas, Kalapam and Kuchipudi Yakshagana.
The main purpose behind writing this book is to bring the vast topics of Yakshagana and Kalapa under one single cover in a simple way. The content of the book also very precise and will be handy for the dance students of different levels and art lovers too. Nowadays the fame of Kuchipudi dance has spread far and wide through out the country. This art form has also drawn the attention of not just the Indians but also found place in the hearts of various foreigners who ,are showing a great interest in learning this beautiful art form. It is pathetic to say that the true essence of the art form being Kalapas and Yakshaganas is only known to a limited number.
This book is intended to serve as an introduction to vast study of Yakshaganas and Kalapas, where the dance form bears its root. Special emphasis is given to the "Golla Kalapam" which consists of religious and philosophical discussion making it slightly difficult to understand. One needs to appreciate the greatness of the Kuchipudi Bhagavatulu who though not highly educated, were well versed with the Sastras. Through the character called "Gollabhama" they educated people about issues like the fertilization and development of an embryo, and at the same time they threw light on social evils prevailing in the ancient society, i.e. casteism.
Kuchipudi Kalapas-an odyssey rediscovered is my sincere effort to bring out the essence of Gollakalapam, which is almost disappearing today. Gollakalapam is a vast philosophical ocean and I have just surfed through its waves. This is my contribution in a little way, to all the Kuchipudi art lovers, who are ignorant of these splendid pieces of art. I shall remain grateful to my guru Sri.Bhagavatula Sethuram and Sri. Bhagavatula Lakshrni Narasirnham for guiding me by giving the essential materials and information, thus making this noble idea possible. I thank all the Scholars whose works have helped me understand and reconstruct this subject.
I have gone through your book line by line and felt happy to read. As if we sat at one place for the discussion of various topics written by you, I felt happy to read the contents. what you have written are all up to the mark and I also have written my own points of thought for your analytical consideration. Treat me as your elder brother and give a thought over it.
You have written the book not only with your theoretical knowledge but have blended with your most useful experienced Practical knowledge. This book is of great use to the students of M.A Which suits to the Syllabus prescribed by Telugu University .It shows really the great extension of your earlier book in some topics. This book is also most useful to the students of other languages and foreign nation students for their academic use. This gives lots of happiness to art lovers. I feel that your earlier birth was only from the Natya kshetra "Kuchipudi" undoubtedly and you are doing the left over work in this birth by taking the knowledge of other classical forms of India also .I have created my own thought about your Nattvangam work & choreography part when you gave performance in Kuchipudi Art Academy .Hyderabad.In future, I'm definite that you can create lots of ballets & can fulfill our long cherished desires. Your book is the main inspiration for the upcoming & budding artists and you are providing lots of information to the field of Art in the Kuchipudi Style.
You have gone deep in to the things and could attain lot of information for which I feel happy and that you have presented different versions in an order in Andhra Pradesh. You must have struggled both mentally and physically in addition to your family responsibilities to gather the technical information. Your editing part of the book is both Theoretical and practical(Lakshya lakshana samanvitam).In future, I'm definite that you can develop your thoughts in the root of Yoga sastra,1yotis sastra along with your knowledge of Natya sastra to give wider information in various aspects to the artists . My best wishes for your for the success of your programme.
The cultural scenario of our country would have been a different one, if Natya Shastra had not been preserved and passed on through generations. In any field, the written records stand as the primary source of information.
One such attempt of Smt.P.Rama Devi, on Yakshaganams and Kalapams, is undoubtedly, a well organised one. The main focus of her work 'on Yakshaganam, the uniqueness of the technique of Kalapam and various components related to it.
The origin and evolution of Yaks hag ana m has been analysed in detail. The structure of an Yakshaganam with daruvus, dwipadas, padyas, gadyas, kandarthams is well depicted with examples. She did compare and correlated all these aspects of Yakshaganam with those of contemporary dance-dramas as they add on beauty to the lyrical structure of a composition.
It will be an uphill task for anyone to extract from the treasure of compositions of the great saint composers. One needs a lot of skill and creativity for this. One such worthy extraction has been made by Smt.P.Rama Devi.
Bhama Kalapam, a jewel in the crown of Kuchipudi Dance is a favourite of every dancer. Smt.P.Rama Devi has been able to capture the wide scope of dipiction of Astavidha Nayika Avasthas found in Bhamakalapam. The various related aspects like aaharyam, role of Mad ha vi, Jada charitra, regional variations in the presentation of Bhamakalapam have been skilfully handled all through her work. A detailed mention about "Golla Kalapam" composed by Bhagavatula Ramayya, brings out Smt.Rama Devi's unique style of expression.
On this occasion, I take a chance to bless Smt.Rama Devi and wish that she makes valuable contributions to the dance literature through her research. 'May Lord Nataraja bestow his blessings on her'.
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