Monday, November 08, 2010

Dancing Divas

1. Rukmini Devi Arundale:

An Indian theosophist, dancer and choreographer of the Indian classical dance form of Bharatnatyam, and also an activist for animal rights and welfare.Rukmini Devi features in India Today's list of '100 People Who Shaped India'.[4] She was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956, and Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 1967.

Rukmini Devi was nominated as a member of the Indian Parliament's Council of States, the Rajya Sabha in April 1952 and re-nominated in 1956.[23] Keenly interested in animal welfare, she was associated with various humanitarian organisations, and as a member of the Rajya Sabha, was instrumental for the legislation for the 'Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960)', and for later setting up of the Animal Welfare Board of India, under her chairmanship in 1962, she remain on its board, until her demise in 1986.She was a strict vegetarian and did much work to promote vegetarianism in the country. She was Vice President of International Vegetarian Union for 31 years from 1955, until her death in 1986.[24]In 1977, Morarji Desai offered to nominate her for the post of President of India, which she turned down.

2. Yamini Krishnamurthy:
Mungara Yamini Krishnamurthy (b. 20 December 1940) is an eminent Indian dancer of Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi[1] styles of dancing.She imparts dance lessons to younger dancers at her institute, Yamini School of Dance, Hauz Khas, New Delhi. She released her autobiography, “A Passion For Dance”, a book well received by the readers.
Yamini Krishnamurthy didn't marry.Her dancing career brought her many awards, including the Padma Shree (1968)[4] and the Padma Bhushan (2001), which are among the highest civilian awards of the Republic of India.[5]
Her initial training in Bharata Natyam took place at Rukmini Devi Arundale's Kalakshetra, at that time India's premier institution for training in this art. After acquiring an impeccable structural base at Kalakshetra, she went on to higher studies under renowned masters such as Kanchipuram Ellappa Pillai, Thanjavur Kittapa Pillai, Dhandayudhapani Pillai and Mylapore Gouri Amma.

3. Sitara Devi:
Sitara Devi (born early 1920s on a Diwali day) is an eminent Indian dancer of the classicalKathak style of dancing. When she was in her teens, Rabindranath Tagore, after watching a performance by her described her as Nritya Samragini, meaning, the empress of dance. The epithet continues, and she is still described as the Kathak queen.She has been honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1969) and the Padma Shri.

She learned to write English to sign on the autograph books of her fans.In Mother India, she performed a holi dance dressed as a boy, and this was her last dance in any movies. She stopped performing dances in movies, as the same were adversely affecting her passion for excelling in the classical dance, kathak.

4. Darshana Jhaveri:
Darshana Jhaveri (Gujaratiદર્શના ઝવેરી) (born 1940), the youngest of the four Jhaveri sisters, is a leading Indian exponent of Manipuri dance, an Indian classical dance form.[1] She is a disciple of Guru Bipin Singh, and started performing on stage in 1958 along with her sisters[2]. She is one of the founder of the Manipuri Nartanalaya in 1972, which popularized Manipuri dance in India, and is currently headed by her, with centres at MumbaiKolkata and Imphal [3][4].

At the age of six she saw her elder sisters, Nayana and Ranjana, learn Manipuri dance from Guru Bipin Singh at their home, soon she too started learning the dance form, along with her sister Suverna.Darshana Jhaveri received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1996 by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Dance, Music and Drama [11] . She was honored with the Padma Shri in 2002.

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