Early Life of Nataraja Ramakrishna
Nataraja Ramakrishna was born on 31st March 1923, to the parents Ramamohan Rao and Damayanti Devi, in Bali, Indonesia. His mother expired when he was only 3 years old, after which his family moved back to India. Ramakrishna was interested in classical dance forms from an early age. He spent most of his child hood in Ramakrishna Math, Chennai and in Mahatma Gandhi's ashram. Sukhdev Kartak initially trained him, but he later learnt from his brother Shyama Sundar. He also took tutelage from various renowned Gurus such as Pendyala Satyabhama, Vedantam Laxminarayana Sastry, Naidupeta Rajamma and Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai. He also practiced Bharatnatyamand temple-dance traditions.
Career of Nataraja Ramakrishna
The performance of Nataraja Ramakrishna for the royal assembly, in Nagpur, brought him adequate admiration and recognition. He received the prestigious title of Nataraja, by the Maratha ruler in Nagpur, when he was only 18 years old. He revived the ancient dance form of Andhra Natyam. He also modified and developed the Perini Shivatandavamand and presented it in the international stage. He was also a practitioner of Kuchipudi and Satvikabhinaya. Nataraja Ramakrishna composed the life of Lord Venkateshwara in a Nrutya Nataka or ballet.
Ramakrishna also worked as a research scholar, for the Government of India, in France and Russia to promote Indian dance art. He aimed to develop it as a comparative study of classical and folk dances of India and the western countries. He has also written around 40 books in Telugu and English on the dances of Andhra and most of them have been much appreciated. He also prepared the Kuchipudi syllabus for the University of Hyderabad.
With the support of Neelam Sanjiv Reddy, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, he founded a dance school at Hyderabad, named Nritya Niketan. Through his performances, demonstrations and lectures, Nataraja Ramakrishna has propagated Kuchipudi and other forgotten dance forms of Andhra Pradesh.
Awards of Nataraja Ramakrishna
Nataraja Ramakrishna has been honoured with various awards through out his career, such as -
* Padma Shri Awardin 1992
* Raja Lakshmi Award in 1991
* Kala Prapoorna, a doctorate from the Andhra University
* Bharata Kala Prapoorna, by Andhra Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi
* NTR State Award by Andhra Pradesh State government
* Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (Academi Ratna) in 2011
Death of Nataraja Ramakrishna
Nataraja Ramakrishna died on 7th June 2011 at the age of 88. He was suffering form Pneumonia and died at the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad.