Rare dance compositions essentially rendered in Bharatanatyam by the Thanjavur Quartet - Ponniah, Chinniah, Sivanandam and Vadivelu

Natyalaya, Academy of Classical Music and Dance, headed by Vyjayantimala Bali is bringing out ‘Tanjai Nalvarin Adi Sangita Bharata Kala Manjari’ that has musical dance compositions that have not been accessible to the general public so far.

The veteran has delved into a treasure-house of rare dance compositions essentially rendered in Bharatanatyam by the Thanjavur Quartet - Ponniah, Chinniah, Sivanandam and Vadivelu, who were the disciples of Muthuswami Dikshitar.

Sangita Vidwan Thanajvur K.P. Kittappa, Vyjayantimala’s mentor, and his brother K.P. Sivanandam, direct descendants of the Thanjavur Quartet, are the sons of Ponnaiah Pillai, a great scholar in music and dance. Credit goes to them for reviving rare dance forms that used to be performed as part of temple rituals and worship.

Says Vyjayantimala: “As their disciple, I am keenly interested in maintaining the pure and pristine form of Bharatanatyam and strictly adhering to the Thanjavur Bani. It has always given me immense joy and I feel privileged to be closely associated with my gurus. My grandmother the late Yadugiri Devi was instrumental in getting the book Adi Bharata Kala Manjari published by my dance academy in 1964.

“Some of the ancient musical dance compositions such as Nava Sandhi Kavuthuvams, Panchi Murthy Kavuthuvams, Prabandhams, Gitam, Tayam and Sooladi found place in the book, edited by Kittappa Pillai and K.P. Sivanandam. Their family had carefully preserved the texts with sahitya, swara and tala and also maintained the musical traditions.

“Now some of the beautiful pieces have been revived and compiled by Chinniah Sivakumar, son of Sivanandam. The new publication contains some valuable and rare compositions including jatiswarams, tana varnams, pada varnams and thillana. This will be an invaluable work of art, which brings alive the rich and glorious traditional compositions of ancient times.”

Release on Wednesday

‘Tanjai Nalvarin Adi Sangita Bhartakala Manjari’ will be released at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, on June 26, 6.30 p.m., by Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Chairman, Kalakshetra Foundation, who will hand over copies to R. Vedavalli, Nalli Kuppuswamy Chetty, V.R. Lakshminarayanan, Padmalochani and Dr. B.M. Sundaram.

The ceremony will be followed by the Bharatanatyam recital of Niveda, granddaughter of K.P. Sivanandam and Sarada Sivanandam, and a student of Tapasya Kala Sampradaya.