Saturday, September 26, 2015

Kalamandalam Sathyabhama

Kalamandalam V.Sathyabhama was a well known doyen of classical dance varieties and she was especially  an exponent of 'Mohiniyattam' which is a classical dance form originated in Kerala.Kalamandalam Sathyabhama was the first woman Principal of the prestigious 'Kerala Kalamandalam', the famous Institution that gives training to aspirant students in classical art forms like 'Kathakali,Koodiyattam,Mohiniyattam,Ottan Thullal' etc.Sathyabhama was a classical danseuse,teacher and choreographer who was mainly responsible for the revival of Mohiniyattam  dance.
V.Sathyabhama was born at Shornur in Palakkad District of Kerala in the year 1937 to parents Krishnan Nair and Ammini Amma.After finishing 8th standard at school, she joined Kerala Kalamandalam as a full time student and got rigorous training in all types of Classical dance varieties as well as Kathakali.She was one among the first five students for 'Mohiniyattam' and got trained from experts like Chinnammu Amma and Kalyanikutty Amma.
She had her debut major  public performance at the silver Jubilee celebration of Kalamandalam for which the Chief guest was the then Prime Minister of India, Shri.Jawaharlal Nehru.While as a student of this Institute she had the privilege to perform Kathakali,Bharatanatyam,Mohiniyattam etc at Singapore and Malaysia along with the Kalamandalam troupe.
After completing the course she joined Kerala Kalamandalam as a teacher in the year 1957 with the blessings from the Poet Mahakavi Vallathol Narayana Menon who wanted her to revive Mohiniyattam dance.Even though 'Mohiniyattam Kalari' was introduced at Kalamandalam in 1932  itself, this variety of Classical dance was not in a reputed form nor in an attractive style   during the 50's also and was in need of over all major transformations.
Kalamandalam Sathyabhama made several modifications for re-vitalizing this art form in all aspects.She modified the costumes and hairstyle also for this classical dance to give it an attractive, traditional and unique appearance.She made changes and modifications in its performance also.She innovated 35 'adavus' and choreographed new items which resulted in the expansion of this classical dance variety.Poems and songs written by Swathi Thirunal Maharajah,Irrayimman Thampi,Vallathol etc were all selected and choreographed by her.Four 'Varnams',11 padams,1 thillana etc are also the effect of her efforts in this respect.
She served as a teacher at the Kalamandalam till her retirement in 1992.  She was  the first woman  Principal of that Institute.
She married Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair who was a Prominent Kathakali artist and a teacher of that art form at Kalamandlam Institute.
Kalamandalam Sathyabhama's famous disciples include 'Kshemavathy,Sugandhi,Kanak Rele and Bharati Shivaji'. 
Sathyabhama teacher wrote and published a book about Mohiniyattam in Malayalam regarding the 'History,Techniques and Performance' of this art form with the Malayalam  title 'Mohiniyattam-Charithram,Sidhantham,Prayogam'.
She was recipient of several awards such as 'Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademy Award,Kendra Sangeet Natak Academy Award,Nruthya Natya Puraskaram from Government of Kerala,Kalamandalam Award,Swathi Thirunal Puraskaram,Shadkala Govinda Marar Award and also the Prestigious 'Padma Shree Award' from Government of India.
Kalamandalam V.Sathyabhama passed away on September 13, 2015 at the age of 77. 

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