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Padmasri Dance Academy

 

Padmasri Dance Academy was established by Sangeetha Sridhar, a senior disciple of the legendary dancer Dr.Padma Subrahmanyam to train aspiring dancers in the unique style of Bharatanrityam.

Yad Yad Karma Karomi Tat Tat Akhilam Shambo Tava Aaradhanam:

“O! Lord, Whatever activities I do, all of them in entirety constitute your worship.”

The Vedic culture with its emphasis on Sanskrit, bound the whole of India with a common religion philosophic ethos which particularly influenced the aesthetic approach in the art forms. Literature, painting, sculpture, dance and music as well as theatre all strived to move on the same spiritual path. In this integrated approach, each discipline gave unto others and also drew from them. What was expressed with words in poetry or literature acquired a visual dimension in the dance and what the dance did inspired the sculptor who immortalized the movement from dance on stone. The poetic word wrapped in the harmony of melody has always provided the textual format for the dance compositions. All art forms were part of one canvas. The total theatre of India was discussed in a treatise on dramaturgy called the Natya Sastra.

In her research, Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam found movements frozen in sculptures and looked for the dynamism of those movements. Soon she was practicing those movements in her dance and proved that Karanas as commonly believed then were not static poses in dance but unit movements. She began to use the Karanas she was studying in her dance. In her study of Natya Sastra, Dr. Padma found that among the three kinds of expression of body language of dance as described in it, Nritta (body language), Nritya (expression combining body and facial expressions) and Natya (drama), the term Nritya applied the best to the practiced dance form now called Bharatha Natyam and called her dance Bharatha Nrityam.

Padma Subrahmanyam is credited with recreating a tradition called Margi. Margi as sighted in the Natya Sastra is the classical tradition and Desi is the regional style that is practiced in the different regions. Margi was a classical style that united the entire Indian sub continent panning from Afghanistan to the Indonesian islands. In medieval times the classical style common to all these regions, got lost and regional varieties of dance now known as the seven classical dance styles of Kathak, Manipuri, Odissi, Kuchipuri, Bharathanatyam, Kathakali and Mohiniattam gained the classical status.

Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam influenced a whole generation of young educated dancers into going deeply into the literary tradition of dance.  My guru and the institution where I learnt dance stands out for its quality in ‘creating’ good dancers and not merely ‘producing’ them like factory goods.  As a disciple of Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, I have been greatly influenced by my Guru’s style of dancing and I have modeled my teaching methods on the principles of my Guru.  This method of teaching based on the Natya sastra, strictly adheres to tradition and excellence, gives the students a holistic learning experience of the ancient dance form.