Kuchipudi maestro Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma passes away

Kuchipudi exponent Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma, who played a crucial role in taking the art form from a tiny village in Krishna district to the international stage, passed away at a private hospital in Vijayawada on 16 November. He was 77.  He was suffering from a lung infection and had been in hospital for the last two weeks. Born into a traditional Kuchipudi family to Vedantam Venkataratnam and Subbamma on Sept. 9, 1935, Satyanarayana Sarma (aka Satyam) was initiated into dance early. He was trained under the exacting supervision of his elder brother Vedantam Prahlada Sarma. He learnt music under Yeleswarapu Seetharamanjaneyulu in Kuchipudi and later under the famous vocalist and violinist Sishta Brahmaiah Sastry in Machilipatnam. Satyam always felt that it was Siddhendra Yogi, the founder of Kuchipudi himself, who blessed him with a wealth of talent and success. Kuchipudi is the only originally male-tradition that takes pride in celebrating the role of womanhood. And no one could match Satyanarayana Sarma in perfecting the role of Satyabhama. He was the lead dancer of the Venkatarama Natya Mandali lead by Chinta Krishnamurthy and won many accolades for his female portrayals over the years. He played Usha in Usha Parinayam, Satyabhama in Bhamakalapam, Mohini in Mohini Rukmangada, Deva Devi in Vipra Narayana, Sasirekha in Sasirekha Parinayam, Gollabhama in Gollakalapam. Satyanarayana Sarma received several honours and titles including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1961 and was chosen a fellow of the academy in 1968. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1970. In addition to his performances and choreography, much of his time was devoted to training Kuchipudi disciples. His school, Nartanasala, under the aegis of the  Central Sangeet Nataka Academy offers a full-fledged course in Kuchipudi dance. In 1973, the government of Andhra Pradesh commissioned and produced a film on Kuchipudi.
Kuchipudi maestro Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma passes away
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