Song of Surrender

Monday, 2 January 2012

Guru K.J. Sarasa passes away

By S. Janaki
Well known Bharatanatyam Guru K.J. Sarasa died in the morning of 2nd January 2012 in Chennai. She was ailing for some time. The 77-year old veteran  had the distinction of being one of the first and most successful women nattuvanar-s of the traditional community in modern times. This famous natyacharya who initially sang for dance and soon took to nattuvangam,  carried aloft the flag of the Vazhuvoor tradition of Bharatanatyam most impressively for more than five decades. She has a host of talented and well known disciples who are continuing the tradition in different parts of India and abroad.

Karaikal  Jagadeesan Sarasa's style was marked by grace, ornamentation, sculpturesque poses, sparkling glances, and the charm of the Vazhuvoor style. Her emphasis was on encouraging individuality and creativity within the confines of tradition, and not on imparting an assembly-line uniformity and rigidity in her disciples.

It is quite amazing how Sarasa -- a single young woman established a name for herself in Madras in the 1960s and emerged as a highly respected natyacharya on the strength of her art. (See cover story in Sruti 247, April 2005)

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