The dramas of Sankardeva and his chief disciple Madhavdeva and their successors, are known popularly as 'ankiya-nat'. The dance and music were interspersed by short dialogues and explanatory matter by a sutradhar from time to time.
The two vital limbs of Odissi are Bandha Nritya and Sabda Nritya. Sabda Nritya is greatly influenced by Sakta and Saivite culture and is based on the tandava aspect of Odissi. In this dance, Sanskrit slokas pertaining to the heroic aspect of the deity is recited rhythmically by drummers who then beat this rhythmic pattern on the mardala. The strenuousness of the dance often causes the dancer to go into a trance.
In the little village of Kuchipudi on the banks of the river Krishna in Andhra Pradesh, generations of gurus from about 100 Brahmin families have kept alive Kuchipudi dance by teaching it to their children.
Kuchipudi village is unique because it is one of the only geographical locations that has given its name to a dance form.
Kathakali artiste Sadanam Balakrishnan used to undergo Kathakali training from 3am to 9pm. His guru Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair who stayed next door, would sometimes wake him up for exchanges that continued until midnight.
Vidya Chandrasekar, daughter of Sudha Chandrasekar of Nritya Sudha's Hindu Temple Rhythms, is the internationally renowned holder of the 72-hour world record for continuous performance of Bharatanatyam, which was done in aid of the American Heart Association and the Bharatiya Temple in 1996. This feat followed an earlier 48-hour record in aid of the American Cancer Society in 1989.
The Theater Department in the University of Rome has produced a documentary on veteran Bharatanatyam dancer M K Saroja. A three-hour film on Bharatanatyam by Film Montsouris, France features her dance.
Though Uday Shankar did not know any classical dances, he choreographed Radha and Krishna for Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, playing Krishna to Pavlova's Radha. It premiered on 10th September 1923 at Covent Garden in London.
The film 'Kalpana' made by Uday Shankar was financed by Baronet Sir Chinubhai who advanced him Rs.11 lakhs. But the film when completed after 3 years cost Uday Shankar Rs.22 lakhs and was released on February 13, 1948. It is the only record of his choreography.
Uday Shankar started the Uday Shankar Culture Center in Calcutta when he eventually settled there. He was invited to start another academy of dance by the then Chief Minister B C Roy. This later became Rabindra Bharati University.
Odissi dancer Priyambada Mohanty Hejmadi, now the chairperson of Sangeet Natak Akademi, Orissa is the first woman to hold this prestigious post. She also has the distinction of being the first woman Vice Chancellor of Orissa. .
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