CV Chandrasekhar is a legendary dance exponent, who is fondly known as Chandru Anna and "Chandrasekhar Sir," is specialized in Kalakshetra style of Bharatanatyam under the able guidance of Rukmini Devi Arundale, the founder and director of Kalakshetra. He has imbibed from his mentor the best of Indian art, culture and aesthetics. He served the Banaras Hindu University and M S University of Baroda and retired as the Head and Dean of the Faculty of Performing Arts of M S University of Baroda.
A much revered dancer in his seventies, his presentation of Bharatanatyam technique is at its finest and continues to be an inspiration for all dancers. He and his wife Jaya Chandrasekhar run their dance school Nrityashree in Chennai.
C. V. Chandrasekhar was born on May 22, 1935. One of India's first male dancers, whose performance career began in 1947; he has received numerous awards including the Nritya Choodamani, the Kalaimamani of the Tamil Nadu government and most recently the prestigious Sangitha Kala Acharya of The Music Academy, Madras. But the journey has been arduous. He may have been a star pupil at Kalakshetra, training under Rukmini Devi Arundale, Karaikkal Saradambal, K.N. Dandaydhapani Pillai and others, but, he says, his school friends all made fun of him for attending dance class. But when Chandrasekhar says he has observed male dancers are better received when they partner women, he is not belittling the contribution of his own wife and dancing partner, Jaya Chandrasekhar. True, he always maintained his solo work as well, but the Chandrasekhars were a force to reckon with. One plus one made four, and during the 1970s and '80s, they performed with their daughters Chitra and Manjari.
Contribution of C. V. Chandrasekhar
Shri C. V. Chandrasekhar has carved a special niche for himself in the dance scene in India. He is a multi-faceted personality: a Bharatanatyam dancer, dance teacher, choreographer, musician, music composer, scholar, academician and administrator. He recently retired as the Head of the Department of Music and Dance at the Faculty of Performing Arts of the M.S.University of Baroda, India. He is one of the many illustrious products of Kalakshetra - the internationally renowned academy of Fine Arts in Madras. He is one of the few male dancers of the country performing for the past four decades all over India and in many countries in Europe and Asia.
Also recognized as one of the best teachers of Bharatanatyam for the past thirty years and more, Chandrasekhar has many students trained at the Universities of Banaras and Baroda. Having been trained in Carnatic Music and Hindustani bhajans, he has composed many jatisvarams and tillanas for Bharatanatyam and has been the sole music composer for his dance dramas both in the Carnatic and Hindustani styles. As one of India's leading choreographers, he has won laurels nationally and internationally and has represented India at many international festivals. He has dealt with abstract themes in a most ingenious manner; his use of body movements and group movements to convey emotions and ideas is unique for a style otherwise solely dependent on the face and gestures for such a projection. He has also created new movements based totally on the basic Bharatanatyam technique. His major works of choreography in recent years include Ritu Samharam and Meghadutam of Kalidasa, Bhoomija (Ramayana) and Aparajita (Devi Mahatmyam).
Smt. Jaya Chandrasekhar trained in Bharatanatyam under Smt. Lalitha Sastri in New Delhi. She has been an invaluable partner to Shri C.V. Chandrasekhar, accompanying him as a dancer, vocalist, nattuvanar and co-choreographer throughout the years. . Padmabhushan Prof. Chandrasekhar truly demonstrated the age old saying from the Natya Shastra. "Yatho hastha, thatho drishti, yatho drishti thatho manah, yatho manah thatho bhava, yatho bhava thatho rasa". When the hands, eyes, mind and soul are all dancing in unison, one is transported to the sublime. Every glance, turn of the head, flick of the wrist, right up to the tip of his fingers, danced in unison... It was clear he dances with joy... and from within. He truly transports the audience from the mundane to the realms of the spiritual.