Rich tributes were paid to Vazhuvoor B. Ramaiyah Pillai, renowned Bharatanatyam guru, on his centenary celebrations here on Sunday.

Speaking on the occasion, N. Murali, president, Music Academy, said the grace and subtlety of Ramaiyah Pillai set him apart as a ‘natyacharya.' He expanded the repertoire of Bharatanatyam by introducing many items from Tamil literature. He took the dance form to the big screen and popularised it.

Great influence

He not only imparted training to his disciples but, also trained several nattuvanars. His influence extended beyond what a single person could do.

He hailed from a family which taught Bharatanatyam to the family members of ancient Chola kings.

Ramaiyah Pillai not only created a name for himself but also brought fame to his hometown Vazhuvoor through the art form, said P.R. Gokulakrishnan, former Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court.

Recalling his association with Ramaiyah Pillai in the Tamil Nadu Iyal Isai Nataka Mandram, Mr. Gokulakrishnan said the dance guru was very proud of his vocation.

The art form would help in inculcating good habits among children, which elevated the body and soul of the learners.

Vazhuvoorar gave life to this art form, Mr. Gokulakrishnan added.

Bharatanatyam gurus V.P. Dhananjayan and Sudharani Raghupathy, film producer AVM Saravanan, lyricist Vaali were among those who spoke on the occasion.

Old Tamil film songs choreographed by Ramaiyah Pillai were screened at the venue on the occasion.