Bharatanatyam Exponent, musicologist, researcher, choreographer, orator, author — these are but a few attributes of the multi-faceted personality Vidya Bhavani Suresh. Vidya began her formal training in Bharatanatyam under the eminent guru, V.P. Dhananjayan. She continued and completed her tutelage under the renowned guru K.J. Sarasa. After a continuous and strenuous learning experience of 12 years, Vidya had her Arangetram (first formal performance), at the age of 16 years. From then on, Vidya has been an active and innovative performer and researcher. Her performances have always stood apart for their profound research-based content and uniqueness. It has always been Vidya's attempt to take Bharatanatyam very close to the common viewer. Being equally alert to social problems, Vidya has also presented full-length thought-provoking programmes highlighting child labour, unemployment, women's problems, etc.
Vidya is also an accomplished Carnatic music singer, having undergone systematic training in the form. She continues to enrich her repertoire by continuing her association and training with her guru, the reputed Vidushi, A.P. Komala. Vidya's deep knowledge of Carnatic music has enabled her to specialise as a musicologist. Vidya has written more than 14 small books and 4 large and detailed tomes on Carnatic music, which are widely respected as authentic and authoritative books on the subject.
Vidya also sets the musical score for all her dance productions. She has conceptualised, set to tune and choreographed a collection of 50 items for Bharatanatyam from ancient Tamizh literature titled, Tamizh Illakiyamum Bharatamum. This collection includes respected Tamizh works like, Tirukkural, Paripaadal, Tirumurugatrupadai, Tiruppugazh, Meenakshiammai Pillai Tamizh, Nalavenba etc. This, she considers one of her most important contributions to Bharatanatyam since it brings out the best thoughts of our poets of yore, through one of the most powerful media of visual presentation, namely, Bharatanatyam. These items, while staying well within the grammatical framework of Bharatanatyam, offer the viewer a different and novel viewing experience.
Being an excellent public speaker as well, Vidya comperes her programmes very effectively making the audience understand and appreciate every aspect of the performance. Vidya also conducts lecture demonstrations and workshops on Indian Dance and Music for schools, colleges and corporates.
Vidya holds an M.A. in Folklore, from St.Xavier's College, Palayamkottai (Tirunelveli), the only college in the country offering this rare course then. She is also the recipient of the Research Fellowship in this discipline from the Department of Culture, Government of India. Vidya is a qualified Company Secretary (A.C.S.) with a Degree in General Law.
A Bharatanatyam performance is a visual delight. It
is meant to be enjoyed for its musical effect, theatrical
effect and precision in body language. Many people are
fascinated by Bharatanatyam. But, they are some how put
off by the fact that, to enjoy it well, one needs to know the
nuances. Perhaps, it is not so much about the nuances as
much as it is about the format. If the viewer knows what to
expect and when, viewing a Bharatanatyam performance
will become a more comfortable experience.
Bharatanatyam appears complex because, its content is
presented in a certain format. And, naturally, one needs
familiarity with the format to get closer to the content
conveyed. Once that is achieved, a Bharatanatyam
performance can definitely be viewed and enjoyed as a
wholesome experience. That is what this book aims at.
This book takes the reader through a complete live
Bharatanyam performance. It is intended as a very useful
handbook which a viewer can take along to a performance
and refer even as the performance is progressing.
**Book's Contents and Sample Pages**
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