She is a rare find among Bharathanatyam artistes. With unrivalled gifts of mime and mathematics and an intense passion for dance, she is a leading exponent of Vazhuvoor style, having been trained under the legendary guru, Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai, for more than 30 years. She is none other than noted Bharathanatyam dancer Kanaka Srinivasan.
Kanaka founded Nrithya Ranjani, an academy of classical dance and music in 1990 at Delhi, and is spreading her wings with the mission of popularising Indian classical dance among young talent.
Today, her students display talent which show that they had been trained by her.
On account of her versatility, both as a dancer and communicator, she was invited twice by Russia, once for the festival of India, and also by countries like Bulgaria, Romania, France, USA and Canada.
Having received many awards and accolades including Padma Shri, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Sahitya Kala Parishad Award for her valuable contribution to dance, she reigns supreme in using Bharathanatyam, as means for propagating social change. She has done so by producing thematic ballets on socially relevant issues dealing with tolerance, child labour and women’s empowerment. Her contribution towards Indian tradition and culture, has won her laurels.
According to her, one of her important contributions is the presentation of Nalayira Divyaprabhandam, a compendium of 4,000 verses, sung by the Alwars, the great saint singers of the Vaishnavite tradition in Tamil Nadu, who have experienced the ultimate bliss after realising the presence of god.
This choreographer of merit, has to her credit dance dramas Malavikagnimitram and Kumarasambavam, and has received the coveted Swarna Kalasam Award twice at the Kalidas Samaroh at Ujjain.
Kanaka’s dance journey is indeed interesting, as she recalls with nostalgia her tryst with the cultural world through her revered guru Vazhuvoorar with his subtle Abhinaya and graceful Nrita. The exhilarating anecdotes like getting a pat from the Royal family of Thiruvananthapuram and her experience at the Krishna Gana Sabha in Chennai when she received a standing ovation for presenting ‘Ka – Vaa – Vaa’ in Varali of Papanasam Sivan, need mention.
On a concluding note, it can be said, Bharathanatyam and Kanaka are made for each other. As a distinguished artiste, she certainly breathes new life to this dance form.