Neena Prasad have been trained in a widespread way in Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Kathakali at the feet of renowned masters such as Kalamandalam Sugandhi (for 8years), Padmashri Adyar Lakshmanan (for 11 years), Padmabhushan Vempatti Chinnasatyam (for 12 years) and Vembayam Appukkuttan Pillay (for 10 years). She was also under Kalamandalam Kshemavathy for 3 years.
Dr Neena Prasad has also a magnificent academic background. She with her skillful ability continues her research along with her performances and teaching responsibilities. A Rigidly accurate syllabus of dance education, which she has pursued, helped her in achieving the technique in Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam and Kathakali. She was awarded PhD from Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta, after completing her MA in English Literature. Her thesis was on "The concepts of Lasya and Tandava in the classical dances of South India- A detailed Study". Thus she became the first South Indian to receive a PhD in dance. From the AHRB Research Centre, she was also presented a postdoctoral Research Fellowship. This fellowship was conferred to her for Cross Cultural Music and Dance Performance, University of Surrey on the theme: Post Colonial Identity Construction. The research work done by her explores 'the evolution of the protagonist, or 'Nayika' from the colonial period, to its present form in the post colonial context'.
Neena Prasad after years of committed and toilsome study, returned to her first love, Mohiniyattam. Under Kalamandalam Kshemavathi and Kalamandalam Sugandhi, she went through another period of rigorous training in Mohiniyattam. She also carried on panoptic research in Mohiniyattam. Due to the fellowship, awarded by the Department of Culture, Government of India, she carried on the research. In the year 1995, "Bharatanjali", Neena Prasad set up a performing art centre and it still continues to attract distinguishing students. As she recalls that was a satisfying decade for her as a teacher. The main objective of this institution is 'to provide instruction in Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniyattam at the highest level for a limited number of talented and serious students'. Bharatanjali Academy for Indian Dances is regarded as the front most institute of its kind in Kerala. 'Bharatanjali' is situated in Thiruvananthapuram. She has established "Sougandhika", another performing art centre at Chennai in the year 2003. In the demanding artistic horizon of Chennai, the institution has already carved a recession for itself. The main aim of this institution is to 'interpret Mohiniyattam in all its purity and complexity'. 'Sougandhika', is an institution with a single objective. As the name indicates, its main objective is to promote and propagate the 'Mohiniyattam', which is considered to be the distinct classical dance style of Kerala.
Through her productions, she always aims to intensify the entire range of Mohiniyattam's skills. Group works produced by her were generally attempted to bring the life themes, which are contemporary and relevant. She made this possible by using the classical idiom. To name a few group choreography staged by her are: "Thouryathrikam" ('defined by the aesthetic balance of music, percussion and dance, which fulfil the concept of 'Sangeetham'); "Sitaayana" ('the journey of Sita, is a voyage through the tumultuous life of Sita Devi, consort of Lord Ramachandra'); "Pon Pulari" (in Malayalam it means 'brilliant dawn', Neena Prasad, with a classifiable approach, with a prosopopoeia of 'thamas' the dark force, and heady use of the 'chenda' introduces this theme); "Kani Kanum Neram" ('It explores Bhakti (devotion) to Krishna through lore and legend'); "Krishna Bhakti"('a portrayal of love towards Lord Krishna, in three different planes, depicted through Radha, Yasoda and Meera') ; "Kavyanarthaki" ('an adaptation of the works of Changampuzha, renowned poet of Kerala').
Dr Neena Prasad has always been at the forepart of creative choreography. She is endlessly contributing to the development of Mohiniyattam. Cholkettus, padams and thillanas are among her numerous works.
. Apart from producing and choreographing dance, Dr Neena Prasad has also served as the Member of the Governing Council of Kerala Kalamandalam (Apex Center of Kerala Dance and Theatre) (2005), Member of Jury, Appellate Committee, Kerala State Youth Festival, Nominated to the Senate, Kerala University, Member of Jury, Swaralaya Annual Award Committee, 2003. She has also ornamented the positions as the Member, Expert Committee and Governing Body that were constituted by Government of Kerala for converting Kerala Kalamandalam to a Deemed University, Expert in Jury Committee, for awarding research scholarships and fellowships (Department of Culture, Government of India), Member, Board of Visual Arts, University of Kerala, Chairperson, Board of Examination PG and Degree, Mohiniyattam, M.G.University, Guest Faculty for Art and Culture, Kerala Institute for Travel and Tourism Studies, Thiruvananthapuram , Faculty for Performing Arts, International Centre for Kerala Studies, University of Kerala.
(Last Updated on : 26-07-2014)
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