Renowned Kuchipudi exponent Vempati Chinna Satyam, who passed away in Chennai on Sunday, is credited with not only popularising this intricate dance form across the world but also refining it.
Among the personalities who learnt the nuances of the dance form from him are Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, film actors Hema Malini and Prabha, dancers Shobha Naidu and Manju Bhargavi and Union Minister D. Purandeswari.
Born into a family of dancers at Kuchipudi village in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh on October 25, 1929, Chinna Satyam learnt the dance at an early age from Vedantam Lakshminarayana Sastry. Subsequently, Tadepally Perayya Sastry, his cousin Vempati Pedda Satyam and other teachers taught him various nuances and styles.
At the age of 18, Chinna Satyam left his village and reportedly went by foot to Madras. He established the Kuchipudi Art Academy in Chennai in 1963, where he composed and choreographed more than 180 solo items and 15 dance dramas. He also choreographed Telugu superstar N.T. Rama Rao in the film, ‘Narthanasala.’
Chinna Satyam travelled to many countries and staged performances. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1956. He was also made a Fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademy.
Chinna Satyam ensured that Kuchipudi was not confined only to men and introduced new trends.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu and YSR Congress honorary president Y.S. Vijayamma expressed their grief over Chinna Satyam’s demise.
Mr. Reddy said Chinna Satyam was a great dance exponent and was guru to many of the top dancers.